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BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
The Fredericksburg area has produced plenty of talented individuals the past several years.
There have been a Miss America winner, a member of a Super Bowl championship team, and a Baltimore Ravens wide receiver, as well as several major college football and basketball players.
All of that was on display last night at Torrey Smith's 1st Annual Celebrity All-Star Basketball Game at Stafford High School.
Smith, a Stafford graduate, was drafted by the Ravens in the second round of April's NFL draft.
Spotsylvania native and former Miss America Caressa Cameron sang the national anthem, while New Orleans Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod was used as a prop in a dunk contest.
"Our area has a lot of talent," Smith said following his Red team's 72-63 win over the Black. "I was looking forward to this event to showcase the talent we do have."
No shortage of people witnessed it.
Stafford's gym was packed.
Smith said he didn't expect such a turnout because he "threw it together in two weeks."
"Everyone helped out," Smith said. "I appreciate that."
Smith and his friends and family members used social media networks to promote the event.
The money raised will benefit area athletes who can't afford athletic equipment.
"I thought it was great," Smith said of the turnout. I didn't expect that many people to come out, but it was great. Everyone seemed like they had fun. It's only going to get better from here on out."
Smith relied on some friends from the NFL and college to fill out the rosters.
Ravens cornerback and Maryland product Josh Wilson played. So did former Washington Redskins offensive lineman Edwin Williams.
But the biggest ovation (other than Smith's) was for former Virginia Tech star quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Smith was concerned for a moment that Taylor's ovation would be louder than his at his own alma mater.
"This is Tech territory, now," Smith said with a laugh.
Taylor, who was also drafted by the Ravens, said he played in the contest for two reasons--his relationship with Smith and to help a charity.
Taylor said he has known Smith since high school when they were being recruited.
They've trained together with other Ravens during the NFL lockout. Taylor said he's eager to get back on the field.
"It's been a long time since I've touched a football in a game situation," Taylor said. "So I'm definitely ready for it."
Smith and Taylor showed chemistry on the court, but two area stars stole the show.
Louisa County native Justin Coleman and Westmoreland County resident Justin Anderson thrilled the crowd with a halftime dunk contest.
Coleman, who plays for Marshall, won the competition after he broke a tie by catching a lob pass from a friend in the stands. He finished with a thunderous one-handed dunk.
Anderson's subsequent glide from the free-throw line was impressive, but not enough.
Earlier in the contest, the Virginia recruit cleared the head of his cousin, Bushrod, and completed a dunk.
"I've been impressed with him for a long time," Coleman said of Anderson. "I've known him since he was on JV at Courtland and I was at Louisa. We talked trash back and forth then. People have wanted to see us do this for a long time. I'm glad I won."
The game itself was a typical all-star game. It featured mostly ragged play and was anticlimactic.
Smith's team, which featured the NFL players as well as Anderson and Coleman, took on a group of former Fredericksburg-area standouts.
The local players led at halftime before Anderson took the court.
"Without a doubt, we wanted to win," former Chancellor forward Terrill Smith said. "We came out as hard as we could. I guess they showed why they get paid the big bucks."
Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526