Becoming an All-State talent is a special achievement that some of the county’s best are never able to obtain.
The 2017-18 season, however, wasn’t your ordinary year as far as a talent standpoint was concerned — because it was loaded with top-of-the-line talent that was destined to break through.
And while there certainly could’ve been argument for even more All-Staters from Scioto County, a widely impressive total of nine players, including two each from Minford, Notre Dame, and New Boston, obtained marks that put each of the nine players among the state’s elite on Monday evening, when the OHSAA Division III and Division IV Girls Basketball All-State lists were officially revealed to the public.
Minford’s Erin Daniels, who averaged 21 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 4.2 steals per contest, led the three honorees on the Division III list by obtaining Second-Team All-Ohio honors. Daniels, who broke not only the girls basketball all-time scoring mark set by Cheryl Preston-Bolender, but also obtained the school’s scoring mark by breaking Steve Yeager’s all-time post, was fantastic throughout the season for Minford as a combo guard for the 24-2 Lady Falcons.
Joining Daniels on the Honorable Mention list was fellow teammate Ashley Blankenship and Wheelersburg’s Abbie Kallner, who both obtained the mark with strong campaigns. Blankenship, who put together her second consecutive season on the All-Southeast District list, made her inaugural appearance on the All-Ohio list behind her 16 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game after posting 9.5 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks per bout the year prior. Kallner, who averaged 14 points, 3.1 steals, three rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 2016-17, boosted those marks to 15.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 2.7 assists this past year.
Notre Dame, who put two players on the All-Ohio list as well, was led by low-post dynamos Katie Dettwiller and Lexi Smith, who were outstanding throughout the season. Smith, who obtained 12.2 points and 10.4 rebounds on 51 percent shooting for her career and finished said career with over 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds, obtained Special Mention honors for the Lady Titans, while Dettwiller, who joined Daniels on the Second-Team All-Ohio list, finished with season averages of 14.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 4.9 blocks per bout on 76 percent shooting.
In addition to Smith, New Boston’s Mariah Buckley and South Webster’s Ellie Jo Johnson each obtained All-Ohio Special Mention honors for the Lady Tigers and Lady Jeeps, respectively. Buckley made arguably the biggest improvement of any girls basketball player in the area by jumping from 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals a game to 19 points, four rebounds, 3.5 assists, and three steals a game from 2016-17 to this year. Johnson, who starred at all five positions on the floor, obtained 18.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per contest in 2017-18.
Ali Hamilton, New Boston’s second and final honoree, obtained Honorable Mention All-Ohio accolades after averaging 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and 2.5 steals in 2017-18 — nearly mirroring her per game averages of 16 points, 9.1 rebounds, four steals, three assists, and three blocks in 2016-17. Clay’s Jensen Warnock, who has averaged 16.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, and 2.9 steals per game during her career with the Lady Panthers, rounded out the group by collecting 15.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.3 blocks, and 2.3 steals per contest in 2017-18.
In addition to the player honorees in Division IV, Notre Dame’s J.D. McKenzie was named as the Division IV Coach of the Year on Monday. McKenzie, who has posted five 20-win seasons for the Lady Titans over the last seven years, has accumulated a blistering 88-12 mark en route to four consecutive SOC I Championships. The Notre Dame girls basketball program won its first Division IV District Championship with a 53-29 victory over Peebles in the Division IV, Jackson II District Championship Game.
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @KColleyPDT