State's Best Battle On Boards In Mesa, North Wins 110-98

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Miles Huff, a four-year member of the Payson High School basketball program, finally had the opportunity to play alongside many of the players he had gone toe-to-toe against his entire career.

The chance to call the former foes his teammates occurred May 19 at the Arizona Coaches Association 1A-3A All-Star game, played at Mesa Skyline High School.

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Drives to the basket were among the strengths Miles Huff displayed during his two-year varsity career at Payson High School.

On the North Star team, along with Huff, were several East region players, including Keith Wilcox of Blue Ridge, Holbrook's Jason Bellin and Isaac Roberts and Blaine Lupe of Alchesay.

Most of Huff's junior and senior seasons -- since PHS returned to the 3A East region from the 4A Grand Canyon alignment -- he battled those East opponents at least twice a year.

"It was fun finally having them on my team," he said. "We played well together."

In the All-Star clash, which annually pits the most outstanding senior players from the various conferences against one another, Huff's North team defeated the South 110-98.

The former Longhorn star, known for his accurate three-point shooting, darting drives and dish-offs to the basket, admitted most players were there to showcase their offensive skills.

"No, we didn't play much defense," he said.

Huff, the Longhorns' starting point guard the past two seasons, played mostly at the two-guard position, as All-Star coaches Steve Currier of Surrey Gardens and Payson's Chuck Hardt rotated the players in and out of the game.

"I thought they did a good job of getting us all in. We only had one practice together," he said.

Huff finished with five points and showcased the heady floor play that helped earn him All-East first team honors and the invitation to the All-Star game.

While some young players must score to be effective, Huff was at his best, setting up his teammates and dishing out assists, much like his role model Nash does for the high-powered Phoenix Suns' offense.

During the 2006-2007 season, he was the region's assist leader, doling out 197. He also was second in the East in steals, with 82, and, although his offensive goal was to set up his teammates, he was able to score at a 9.6-points-per-game clip, ranking him the 11th scorer in the East.

Despite playing a guard position that kept him away from the basket most of the game, Huff was able to frequently sneak inside and snare rebounds.

During the past season, he corralled 97 missed shots.

His rebounding skills often frustrated much taller opponents, who wondered how a 5-foot, 10-inch point guard could be so effective on the boards.

Huff will attend Northern Arizona University next season.

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