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Veiga-Lee unable to play final All-Star game of high school career

Posted by Justin Rice  March 21, 2013 09:42 PM

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Tajanay Veiga-Lee signs balls during a pregame dinner for Saturday's Boston City League All-Star game. The Fenway senior will be unable to play in the game because she is working out for the Providence College coaches. (Justin A. Rice / For the Boston Globe)

Fresh off her second consecutive Division 4 state championship, Tajanay Veiga-Lee was named to her fourth straight city league All-Star team.

But the Fenway point guard will be unable to play for the Blue squad in Saturday’s Dr. Joseph Warren Boston City League All-Star Game at 2 p.m. at Northeastern’s Cabot Center because she will be working out for the Providence College coaches.

“It feels pretty good, it’s like an honor [to make it] four years,” Veiga-Lee said during the All-Star pregame recognition dinner at Suffolk Construction’s Roxbury headquarters on Thursday night. “I’ve made it since my freshman year.

“I really wanted to play since that would be my last official high school game. But it is what it is.”

Veiga-Lee said she will most likely be working out with other prospects as well. She said she’s not nervous.

“I’m just going to show them my game and I’m just going to work hard and hopefully they’ll like me,” she said. “They just want to see me play so I’m just going to go out there.”

The Blue squad will have the services of Veiga-Lee’s Fenway teammate, Cadejia Matthews — whose 47-year-old stepfather, Robert Summers, died hours before Matthews hit a pair of crucial free throws in the Division 4 North sectional final to send the Panthers to the state championship at the TD Garden.

Matthews said Summers’ funeral was on Tuesday.

“It’s getting better, it’s just a little bit shaky but I’m hanging in there,” Matthews said.

The Blue team will be coached by Latin Academy’s Emily Coleman, who his coaching her first All-Star game.

“Oh my god it’s an honor, it’s an absolute honor to be voted amongst my peers as coach of the year,” she said. “It’s a recognition that I think any coach would like to have. I strive to try to run a program that my girls can be proud of being a part of and to be recognized behind the scenes for that … again, it’s an honor.”

Coleman’s husband, Hugh, who just won a Division 2 state championship with Brighton, will coach in the boys’ game for the third straight year.

“It is pretty cool, I’m like ‘Hey coach of the year’ and he’s like ‘Hey what’s up coach of the year?’” she said. “We joke around with it.”

The Red team is coached by Boston English’s Justine Grace for the second straight year. Grace said having a year under her belt will make it easier to strike the balance of being competitive and making sure all of her girls get enough playing time.

“The nerves will be out of the way after last year’s game,” said Grace, who coached against her former coach John Rice last year. “I’ll know what to expect this year so it’s about balancing the team and finding a good combination of kids that we can play and making sure everyone gets playing time. But in the end, we do want to win so when it comes down to crunch time if we have to make some adjustments with players or subs we will.”

For the second straight year the winning teams of the All-Star game will get tickets to a Celtics game. But while the teams sat in the mezzanine last year, this year they will sit in the lower bowl. The teams will also be recognized on the court during halftime of the Wizards game on April 7.

“It definitely makes me want to work harder knowing I can go to the Celtics game but I have season tickets to the Celtics so I go all the time,” said South Boston’s Elaina Wright-McCarthy, who will play for the Blue team. “But knowing I could go somewhere with [basketball] and this will take me different places and give me different opportunities is definitely something that means something to me, that there are people trying to help.”

Coleman, who had a baby earlier this season, joked about not being able to find a babysitter on April 7 if both her team and her husbands’ team win on Saturday.

“You know what, listen, baby is just going to have to come along or something,” she said. “I’m trying to win.”

And even though she won’t do any of the heavy lifting in the All-Star game, Veiga-Lee hopes she’ll get to go along to the Celtics game if the Blue team wins.

“I hope so,” she said. “I’m still on the team.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.