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Trio competes in all-star gala
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MODESTO--Heather Mazza glanced across the court while stretching during pre-game warmups.

Mazza was looking at Krystle Brown and Meghan Franksen. Mazza, Brown and Franksen led the Ceres High varsity girls basketball team to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship on March 5.

On Friday night, the seniors played against each other in the Six County All-Star High School Basketball Game. Mazza suited up for the Blue team. Brown and Franksen suited up for the Red team. Brown, Franksen and the Red All-Stars posted an 80-77 win over Mazza and the Blue All-Stars.

Brown had 11 points, including two free throws, which gave the Red a 74-72 lead with 2:28 remaining. The center-forward was also a force on defense. She had several blocks, including three against Ashley Walker, who's headed to UC Berkeley on scholarship.

Franksen had four points, including an acrobatic layup. She drove down the middle of the lane, hung in the air and threw the ball gently off the right side of the glass.

Mazza scored four points. She wowed the crowd with several dazzling plays, including a behind-the-back pass and no-look dish from halfcourt. She also executed a crossover dribble that froze her defender and led to a layup.

When Mazza, Brown and Franksen were on the floor together, they chatted. When they weren't in the game at the same time, they rooted for each other.

"This is the funnest game I've ever played in in my life," Brown said.

At the end of the game, Brown, Franksen and Mazza were greeted by Shawna Nunes and Phil de la Porte, their high-school coaches. They talked, smiled and laughed. They also showed off their section title rings.

Friday marked the end of the Mazza-Brown-Franksen alliance.

They've been playing with and against each other since the fifth grade.

"We ended it how we started it," Mazza said.

In elementary school, Mazza played for Virginia Parks. Brown and Franksen played for Sam Vaughn.

Mazza, Brown and Franksen became teammates at Mae Hensley Jr. High. They starred on the seventh and eighth grades girls basketball teams.

Mazza, Brown and Franksen played varsity all four years at Ceres High School. The Bulldogs had a winning record and made the playoffs every season.

Mazza, Brown and Franksen will part ways this fall.

Mazza earned a scholarship to play basketball at Bethany Christian College, which is located in Scotts Valley, Calif.

Brown will also play basketball at the next level. She'll either go to Modesto Junior College or San-Joaquin Delta College.

Franksen earned an academic-athletic scholarship to Kent State University in Ohio. She'll play softball. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier