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A SHOT FOR LIFE ALL-STAR GAMES

A Shot For Life All-Star games make Power-ful debut by gathering region’s top talent on the same court

A Shot for Life founder and CEO Mike Slonina (left) is incredibly proud of all Worcester Academy's TJ Power has accomplished. Power, from Shrewsbury, has received offers from Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and UCLA.Trevor Hass

WESTON — As TJ Power has blossomed into one of the nation’s elite players in the class of 2023, A Shot For Life CEO Mike Slonina still sees the same humble and unselfish kid he knew back when Power was 15.

Power, a 6-foot-8 Worcester Academy forward from Shrewsbury, who recently reeled in offers from Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, and UCLA, hasn’t changed despite the recognition. Slonina recalls him wading into a swamp at Austin Prep with his flashlight — in search of missing baseballs — without anyone asking him to. Right on cue Tuesday night, Power picked up chairs in The Rivers School gymnasium following the first-ever ASFL All-Star games and put them away as everyone around him chatted.

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“I can’t say enough about how happy we are for his success,” Slonina said. “We’re over the moon for him. We love him.”

Power poured in 19 points, steering the White Team to a 153-150 win over the Blue Team. Milton Academy’s Austin Hunt added 27 and Taunton’s Trent Santos poured in 24 on eight 3-pointers, helping White turn a 69-69 halftime tie into a 113-109 lead through three.

AJ Lesburt of Bradford Christian Academy paced Blue with 32 points, St. George’s (R.I.) Barrett Loer added 27, and St. Sebastian’s Trevor Mullin hit six 3s en route to 22 points.

“It was like we were playing with the Warriors out there,” Mullin said with a laugh. “It looked like no one was missing. We didn’t come out with the win, but at least it was a good time.”

In the first-ever A Shot For Life boys All-Star Game, Team White beat Team Blue, 153-150, in a game that featured a lot of shooting and not much defense.Trevor Hass

For Mullin, a sharpshooting Yale commit, the event, which raises money for cancer research, carries extra weight. He lost his grandmother, Helen Mullin, to lung cancer six years ago, and he plays with her in mind.

She used to come to every one of his games and cheer from the sidelines. It’s not the same without her, he said, but she’s still there in spirit.

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“Once I lost her, just not seeing that face in the crowd or giving her a hug after games, whether it’s a win or a loss, it meant a lot,” Mullin said. “Being a part of this is basically a dedication to her.”

On the girls’ side, the White Team also eked out a three-point win,89-86. New Hampshire-bound sniper Avery O’Connor poured in a game-high 27 points for White. Ahnay Adams added 21, and Colleen Fogarty scored 11.

Villanova freshman Megan Olbrys, a former Norwood star, led Blue with 23. Thalia Shepard of St. Andrew’s (R.I.) chipped in 17 and bouncy Bryant-bound guard Bri Frongillo 15 in a valiant effort. White built a 51-34 halftime cushion, but Blue stormed back to cut it to 71-67 after three. Olbrys and Co. nearly capped a comeback in style, but O’Connor, Thayer’s Aoibhe Gormley, and recent Tabor graduate Teagan Curran, who will play at Assumption, helped seal it for White.

“Coming back, I get to see a bunch of people that I’ve truly missed,” Olbrys said. “Playing against good competition, it’s like a little run we get to get in before everyone goes to college.”

In the girls All-Star game, Team White defeated Team Blue, 89-86, in a tight, competitive battle.Trevor Hass

It was essentially two high-level pickup games for a worthwhile cause. This event is in conjunction with the 10th annual ASFL Challenge, set for Sunday at the Starland Sportsplex in Hanover. As of Tuesday, the two events have raised over $60,000 for cancer research. That number is expected to rise by next weekend.

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Slonina is grateful that his players understand this is a cancer research organization that involves sports, rather than the other way around. As ASFL continues to expand, and add new sports and events — a pitching challenge will debut in September — the core mission remains unchanged.

The goal is to cure cancer.

“A Shot For Life is a family,” O’Connor said. “We’re one unit, and we’re all going for a good cause.”


Trevor Hass can be reached at trevor.hass@globe.com.