SCIOTO COUNTY — There was widespread belief by himself, his head coach, his teammates, and especially amongst the village of New Boston that Kyle Sexton was indeed the best boys basketball player in Division IV in the entire Buckeye State.
Well, as announced on Monday, what many observers believed an Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association statewide panel properly confirmed.
That’s because Sexton, now a two-time Division IV first-team all-Ohio selection, captured the Player of the Year honor in Division IV —as the OPSWA spent this past week releasing its all-state boys basketball teams.
Standing six-foot and five-inches tall, the senior Sexton ran the point, shot from the wing, played in the post, and put up consistent — and strong — scoring and rebounding numbers night after night.
He was the two-time Southeast District Division IV POY, and thus was a strong candidate for twice winning the state’s top player honor —which he rightfully won with Monday’s announcement.
Sexton becomes just the third boys player from all of Scioto County to win state POY accolades, joining Portsmouth’s (in Division III) Dion McKinley in 2012 and Ky’re Allison in 2016 as the only others.
This season, in fact, Sexton spearheaded New Boston’s boys postseason tournament run —all the way to the Division IV state semifinals where the talented and highly-touted Tigers lost 58-53 against Columbus Grove.
For the second straight season, he averaged at least 19 points per game —posting a 21.4 points per game average over the opening 21 games of this year.
The Tigers, in winning their second-ever regional championship but first since clear back in 1960, ended the season at 24-3.
Sexton — who has verbally committed to playing collegiately at Ohio Valley University in Parkersburg, W. Va. — set the Tigers’ new career scoring record at 1,707 points in their regional championship win.
He finished his New Boston career with 1,721 points — and also averaged 13 rebounds and seven assists per game in his senior campaign.
“To be honest, a state championship would’ve been much nicer, but it feels great to see the all hard work I’ve put into this to get recognized,” said Sexton, in a direct message via Twitter. “I’m just blessed, man.”
The annual all-Ohio boys basketball teams, as this is officially the fourth season for such, are selected by an Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association panel — with the Associated Press no longer affiliated with ANY all-district and/or all-Ohio teams.
All players which make first-team all-district automatically earn — AT LEAST — Special Mention all-Ohio, while all second-team all-district selections automatically make Honorable Mention all-state.
Traditionally, the all-Ohio teams are announced during the week of the respective gender’s state tournament — but with the coronavirus situation hanging over Ohio high school basketball this year, the OPSWA panel elected to release the clubs later this time.
The top-30 point-gatherers are named all-Ohio for each division, as 10 are voted upon by the OPSWA panel to first team, 10 more to the second team and finally another 10 to the third team.
A year ago, Sexton tied three other players — including POY Zach Rasile of McDonald— for the maximum number of points in OPSWA’s voting process, but finished fourth in the actual voting for the Division IV Player of the Year.
New Boston was ranked in the top six in all seven of the weekly Associated Press Division IV statewide polls, including finishing sixth, and claimed a third consecutive sectional championship.
Two years ago, much like this season, they appeared in the regional championship game —after winning a district title.
For Sexton, it was his fourth all-Ohio selection in as many years —as he was an Honorable Mention pick three years back before landing Special Mention two years ago.
And, two years ago was the last time that more than one Scioto County player made higher than Special Mention.
In Division III, Wheelersburg senior Matthew Miller made second team — his first and final all-state award, as the 6-1 point guard averaged 16 points per game.
The Pirates punched their ticket to the regional semifinals with a district championship win over Eastern Brown — as Miller was Wheelersburg’s top performer this season, which ended with a 22-2 mark.
In Division IV, Sexton’s senior Tiger teammate — the 6-1 Tanner Voiers — took third-team honors, averaging 19.2 points per game and moving up from the Special Mention list as a junior.
A pair of all-Ohio first-timers from Scioto County claimed Division IV Special Mention —Levi Sampson of Green and Trae Zimmerman of South Webster.
The Division III and IV Honorable Mention units included a pair of Scioto County fivesomes — with George Arnett of Valley, Johnathan Strickland of Notre Dame, Ethan Huffman of Green, Shaden Malone of Clay and De’Von Jones of New Boston for Division IV and Brycen Carver of Northwest, Trenton Zimmerman of Minford, J.J. Truitt of Wheelersburg and Luke Howard and Rodney Moore of West for Division III.
For Truitt, he was also an Honorable Mention selection two years ago —and moved up to Special Mention last season.
Meanwhile, Malone is a repeat Honorable Mention pick in Division IV.
The Coaches of the Year in Division IV were Josh Sagester of New Madison Tri-Village and Quentin Rogers of Richmond Heights, as the top Division III awards went to Kobe Mitchell of Harrison Central (for POY) and Nate Barhorst of Anna (for COY).
Aiden Porter of Fairland, the Division III Southeast District Player of the Year, landed first-team honors.
In Division II, Waverly junior Trey Robertson — a 5-11 guard who averaged 25.7 points per game and shared Southeast District POY honors with Logan Elm’s Isaac Ward — was a first-team choice.
Robertson, in averaging 21-and-a-half points per game last season, registered third-team all-Ohio a year ago.
For a complete list of the 2020-21 boys basketball all-Ohio honorees, please see Friday’s edition of The Portsmouth Daily Times.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved