Local sports year in review


By Jacob Smith - jsmith@aimmediamidwest.com



The 2021 South Webster Lady Jeeps won the program’s first Division IV regioanl championship and competed in the D-IV state semifinals at Wright State University’s Nutter Center this fall.

The 2021 South Webster Lady Jeeps won the program’s first Division IV regioanl championship and competed in the D-IV state semifinals at Wright State University’s Nutter Center this fall.


Paul Boggs | Daily Times

The Wheelersburg Lady Pirates softball team won the program’s first regional title since 2017 with their 9-1 win over Ironton at Unioto High School.


Courtesy of Tim Gearhart

The Valley Indians made their return to the OHSAA state baseball tournament for the first time since 1977, defeating Berlin Hiland 5-2 in the D-IV regional championship game at Lancaster’s Beavers Field.


Courtesy of Patrick Phillps, Glory Days Photography

The New Boston boys basketball program celebrated its’ first regional championship following their win over Berlin Hiland at Southeastern High School.


Ed Litteral | Daily Times

The Shawnee State men’s basketball team won the program’s first NAIA National Championship in 2021, defeating Lewis-Clark State (Id.) 74-8 in the championship game.


Submitted photo

PORTSMOUTH — Somehow, the end of the 2021 calendar is here.

In the proceeding 364 days, Scioto County teams, athletes, and coaches reached new heights and returned to familiar stages in their respective journeys.

New careers began, ended, and championships were won at all levels in both individual and team sports.

Here is the Daily Times’ 10 best local sports stories as we reflect on the historic year that was.

Shawnee State men’s basketball wins first National Championship

Winners of 27-consecutive games to end a season that culminated in the Shawnee State University men’s basketball program’s first NAIA National Championship, the Bears (31-2) team led by coach DeLano Thomas proved they were indeed the best of the best.

The 2020-21 Shawnee State Bears were must-watch basketball, even though for most of the season their games were played in front of a limited capacity crowd.

Senior transfer James Jones was named NAIA National Tournament MVP, Thomas was NAIA Coach of the Year, and big man stand-out EJ Onu was named to the all-tournament team alongside Jones.

Their impressive run through the NAIA tournament culminated in a celebration inside Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium following their 74-68 win over Lewis-Clark State.

The Bears were greeted by Portsmouth and Scioto County citizens the next day on-campus and inside Waller Gymnasium where a banner will forever hang to represent their outstanding accomplishment.

Area athletes qualify for State Track, XC, and Golf

Thirteen area athletes represented their teams and schools as individuals in their respective competitions in the OHSAA’s State Track, Cross Country, and Golf tournaments in 2021.

Northwest’s Haidyn Wamsley, Landen Smith, Josh Shope, Gabe Morrell, and Mason Breech, Wheelersburg’s Maddie Gill, Lauren Jolly, and Justus Steward, and Valley’s Justin Moore and Ryan Benjiman each qualified and placed in the State Track competition this spring.

In the fall, Northwest’s Kailan and Portsmouth’s Charlie Putnam ran in the State Cross Country meet, and Valley’s Cameron Phillips qualified for the D-III State golf tournament and placed third as a freshman.

New football facilities at West, Green

Although no games were played at either venue this fall, the Portsmouth West High School and Green High School football facilities both received massive renovations in preparation for the 2022 season.

Both fields will have newly installed turf when their teams hit the gridiron in August, as well as new bleachers, a scoreboard, and location of field in Franklin Furnace.

Wheelersburg football finishes in regional semis

The Pirates’ 2021 football season finish was the best among Scioto County teams, ending in the Division V regional semifinals.

Wheelersburg took back control of the SOC Division II championship with a perfect run in league play, as well as knocking off top-seeded Ironton in the D-V regional quarterfinals at Portsmouth High School.

Valley coach Darren Crabtree calls it a career

The most recent storyline in local sports to make this list is the retirement of former Valley football coach Darren Crabtree after 32 seasons in the position.

In Crabtree’s over three-decade long tenure (240-112), the Indians posted undefeated regular seasons eight times and reached the OHSAA Division VI State Semifinals in 2014.

Sexton wins D-IV Player of the Year

2021 New Boston graduate Kyle Sexton became the third Scioto County boys basketball player in the last decade to be named State Player of the Year.

During his senior season, Sexton averaged 21.4 points per game and became the school’s all-time leading scorer as the Tigers finished Regional Champions for the first time since 1960.

New Boston basketball wins first regional title since 1960

When it came time for the postseason, the 2020-21 New Boston Tigers boys basketball team turned it up a notch.

District tournament wins over county rivals South Webster and Valley and regional wins over Grandview Heights and Berlin Hiland gave Scioto County its’ first regional basketball champion since 2012.

Wheelersburg softball returns to state

Wheelersburg softball became a state power during the 2010s. With their first regional championship since 2017 in the spring of 2021, the Lady Pirates made good on a preseason goal of reaching the OHSAA state softball tournament.

The Lady Pirates swept SOC II competition during the regular season and defeated Ironton 9-1 in the D-III Regional Championship game.

Valley baseball wins first regional title since 1977

The 2021 Valley Indians baseball team was determined to end the program’s 43-year draught from the OHSAA state baseball tournament.

In the Division IV regional tournament wins over Paint Valley and Berlin Hiland, the Indians ace pitchers shut down the opposition — winning by a 7-2 margin to reach the D-IV state tournament at Akron’s Canal Park.

South Webster volleyball makes first state appearance

South Webster volleyball made program history and added to Scioto County’s recent success at the regional level during the 2021 fall season.

Winning their first D-IV regional championship and an outright SOC II championship, the Lady Jeeps volleyball program became the third Scioto County team in four seasons to compete at the state volleyball tournament at Wright State University’s Nutter Center in Dayton.

The 2021 South Webster Lady Jeeps won the program’s first Division IV regioanl championship and competed in the D-IV state semifinals at Wright State University’s Nutter Center this fall.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/12/web1_SW-NC-Regional-Champs.jpgThe 2021 South Webster Lady Jeeps won the program’s first Division IV regioanl championship and competed in the D-IV state semifinals at Wright State University’s Nutter Center this fall. Paul Boggs | Daily Times

The Wheelersburg Lady Pirates softball team won the program’s first regional title since 2017 with their 9-1 win over Ironton at Unioto High School.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/12/web1_Wheelersburg-softball-trophy-.jpgThe Wheelersburg Lady Pirates softball team won the program’s first regional title since 2017 with their 9-1 win over Ironton at Unioto High School. Courtesy of Tim Gearhart

The Valley Indians made their return to the OHSAA state baseball tournament for the first time since 1977, defeating Berlin Hiland 5-2 in the D-IV regional championship game at Lancaster’s Beavers Field.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/12/web1_Valley-BB-preview-R15-champs-.jpgThe Valley Indians made their return to the OHSAA state baseball tournament for the first time since 1977, defeating Berlin Hiland 5-2 in the D-IV regional championship game at Lancaster’s Beavers Field. Courtesy of Patrick Phillps, Glory Days Photography

The New Boston boys basketball program celebrated its’ first regional championship following their win over Berlin Hiland at Southeastern High School.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/12/web1_Celebration-pic-_-NB-BH.jpgThe New Boston boys basketball program celebrated its’ first regional championship following their win over Berlin Hiland at Southeastern High School. Ed Litteral | Daily Times

The Shawnee State men’s basketball team won the program’s first NAIA National Championship in 2021, defeating Lewis-Clark State (Id.) 74-8 in the championship game.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/12/web1_Shawnee-State-men-s-basketball.jpgThe Shawnee State men’s basketball team won the program’s first NAIA National Championship in 2021, defeating Lewis-Clark State (Id.) 74-8 in the championship game. Submitted photo

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at jsmith@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at jsmith@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved