MISHAWAKA — Leo Svete is finally no longer in limbo, and suddenly, Franko House sort of is.
The two potential Mid-American Conference rivals each helped the Red team down the Gray team 140-122 in the McDonald’s Michiana boys high school basketball all-star game on Monday, March 25, at Bethel College’s Wiekamp Center as a crowd announced at 2,631 watched.
For Penn graduate Svete, it was the first chance to test his reconstructed left knee in front of a crowd in about a year, and his first chance at any kind of formal game in about eight months.
He answered with 15 points in 21 minutes.
For Concord senior House, it was a respite from a decision he may have to do all over.
He answered with 18 points and 11 rebounds in 24 minutes while going 8-of-13 from the field.
“I do have the option to open up my recruiting if I want to, but I’ll probably stick it out,” House said of the commitment he made last fall to continue his academic and playing careers in 2013-14 at Ball State University. “I’m going to see what happens.”
Ball State fired coach Billy Taylor, who signed House, a couple weeks ago. A coach’s firing typically allows incoming signees a chance to decommit and pick another school without penalty.
“It was definitely disappointing,” House said of Taylor’s firing. “I wanted to go somewhere I know I’m wanted, so it’s a big hit, but we’ll see.”
House said he’s been told by a Ball State athletic official that a new coach should be hired within the next three weeks.
Meanwhile, the next few weeks for Svete will include a trip to Italy as a member of a U.S. elite squad that will compete in a junior international tournament. He played in Monday’s exhibition just one day in front of flying to Washington D.C., and on Wednesday, he’ll fly to Milan.
“It just feels great to lace my shoes up and to be back on a floor running and playing with everybody,” Svete said. “I appreciate it. I know how suddenly it can be taken away.”
It was last July when Svete suffered the major knee injury while playing in an AAU event in Fort Wayne.
He sat out his senior season at Penn this past winter to focus on his rehabilitation, and also graduated early, in December.
“(It’s) 100 percent,” Svete declared of his knee after Monday’s game. “It might’ve looked like my legs were fatigued at times, but that’s just getting back to the feel of live basketball. As the minutes went on, it felt better and better.”
Svete, who was cleared to resume full activity Feb. 5, said the decision last fall to skip his senior season was not made lightly.
“I didn’t want to rush my rehab,” Svete said. “At first, when I thought I was going to play, I was rushing back and rushing back, not really listening to the doctor all the way, but then when we decided as a family that I wasn’t going to play, everything went great.”
Much went great for many of the all-stars Monday.
Notre Dame-bound Austin Torres, Svete’s former Penn teammate, scored 23 points and matched House for game-high rebounding honors with 11 for the Red.
Triton’s Valparaiso-bound Clay Yeo also tallied 23 points for the winners. He and Torres combined for more than a dozen dunks in a contest that was virtually void of defense.
Just six fouls were whistled, too, one after the intermission.
South Bend Riley senior Brock Cosey of the Red led all players with 25 points and 10 assists.
The Gray team featured the game’s only present high school teammates in NorthWood juniors Jonathan Wilkinson and Zach Zurcher.
Zurcher scored 16 points, while Wilkinson netted 12 points to go with seven boards. They altered time on the court in the first half, but got on the floor together some in the second.
“It means a lot to have two underclassmen from the same school,” Wilkinson said. “It shows how hard we’ve worked.”
Wilkinson said he’s already eager for next season, when the Panthers are expected to return several key cogs from a 16-7 club.
“I think we’re going to be really good,” Wilkinson said. “It’s going to be a blast. I think experience-wise, the extra season under our belt is going to help, and I think losing in the sectional final’s going to help us with our drive. We don’t want that to happen again.”
Marian’s Devin Cannady — the only sophomore in the game — led the Gray with 18 points.
Northridge junior Nate Ritchie added 15 and Memorial senior Markese McGuire 11.
McDonald’s Michiana All-Star Boys
Red 140, Gray 122
Gray — Mack Mercer 8-17 0-0 17, Ryan Wassink 0-1 0-0 0, Jonathan Wilkinson 6-12 0-0 12, Markese McGuire 5-19 0-0 11, Taron Miller 5-16 1-2 13, Richard Mitchell 5-8 0-0 11, Devin Cannady 7-14 0-0 18, Chris Mitchell 3-8 0-0 9, Zach Zurcher 7-13 0-0 16, Nate Ritchie 6-15 2-4 15. Totals: 52-123 (.423) 3-6 (.500) 122.
Red — Franko House 8-13 1-2 18, Clay Yeo 11-16 0-0 23, Josh Flemming 3-10 0-0 6, Ethan Pike 0-9 0-0 0, Brock Cosey 11-19 0-0 25, Michael Bush 6-8 0-0 15, Jared Bloom 5-8 2-2 15, Leo Svete 7-14 0-0 15, Austin Torres 11-14 0-0 23. Totals: 62-111 (.559) 3-4 (.750) 140.
Scoring By Halves
Gray 57 65 — 122
Red 69 71 — 140
3-point goals: Gray (15-53) — Cannady 4-10, C.Mitchell 3-7, Zurcher 2-4, Miller 2-5, Mercer 1-4, R.Mitchell 1-4, Ritchie 1-5, McGuire 1-10; Red (13-44) — Bloom 3-4, Bush 3-5, Cosey 3-8, Torres 1-3, House 1-5, Yeo 1-5, Svete 1-5.
Rebounds: Gray (58) — Mercer 10, R.Mitchell 8, Wilkinson 7; Red (64) — House 11, Torres 11, Pike 7, Cosey 7.
Assists: Gray (21) — Ritchie 4, Wilkinson 3, McGuire 3, R.Mitchell 3, Cannady 3; Red (32) — Cosey 10, Yeo 4, Flemming 4, Svete 4.
Steals: Gray (10) — Mercer 2, Ritchie 2; Red (11) — House 2, Yeo 2, Flemming 2, Svete 2.
Turnovers: Gray 13, Red 12.
Fouls: Gray 3, Red 3. Fouled out — none.