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Rivals team up
Bates, Mabie & Costa play in Senior Showcase
Rivals Mikayla Mabie and Nicole Bates played together at the Second Annual Central Valley Senior Showcase all-star girls basketball game last week in Turlock. Bates (Ceres High) and Mabie (Central Valley) helped lead the National team to a 32-31 victory against the American team. Bates scored a team-high 10 points. Mabie collected five points and five assists. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Courier

Ceres High's Nicole Bates and Central Valley's Mikayla Mabie both claimed major awards following the conclusion of the Second Annual Central Valley Senior Showcase all-star girls basketball game this past week.

Bates earned Most Valuable Player honors after leading the National team to a 32-31 win over the American team on Thursday at Pitman High School.

Nicole scored a team-high 10 points.

"I was kind of surprised, but super honored," said Bates, a standout guard. "I had a lot of fun."

Mikayla received the Coaches Choice Award.

"It was a shock to me because I only had five points and five assists," Mabie said.

Rivals for three years in high school, Nicole and Mikayla enjoyed the experience of teaming up for the first time.

"She's such a great athlete," Bates said. "We're both very competitive. We hate losing."

"It was cool playing with her," Mabie said. "The chemistry on the court was automatically there."

Bates buried a shot in closing seconds of the first half.

Mabie delivered the pass.

"It reminded me of sophomore year," said Mikayla, whose team lost 48-47 to Ceres High on Bates' jumper from the free-throw line at the buzzer."

The National team built a double-digit lead and held on for the victory following its battle with the American team.

"It got intense late in the game," Mabie said. "We didn't want to lose."

Mabie also relished the chance to play with Central Valley post player Alyssa Costa for the final time.

Costa had two points.

Mikayla and Alyssa were teammates for three seasons, including two at the prep level and one during travel ball.

"She's my best friend," Mabie said. "The chemistry we have I've never experienced that. She definitely made me a better player and likewise."

Bates and Alyssa were rivals in high school, junior high and elementary school.

"We've been playing against each other for a long time," Nicole said.

Bates played organized basketball for the final time.

Nicole earned a softball scholarship to the University of Washington.

"Honestly, it really hasn't hit me yet," Bates said. "Basketball has been a huge part of my life. I love playing the sport. It's sad that it's over. But I'm grateful. I didn't have a terrible last game."

Mabie plans to continue her hoops career at the next level.

Stanislaus State and San Diego Christian College have both expressed interest.

"I have no idea where I'm going to go," she said. "If I don't find an offer I like, I will go to a junior college. I just want to play basketball."