SCIOTO COUNTY — Apparently, according to the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association all-Southeast District basketball teams, Scioto County’s comeback towards top all-district honors is indeed complete.
That’s because Bri Claxon of South Webster was named as the girls Division IV Player of the Year, while three county club coaches —Minford boys boss Josh Shoemaker, Valley boys chief Craig Tackett and veteran Wheelersburg girls mentor Dusty Spradlin —captured Coach of the Year accolades.
Spradlin shared the Division III girls top coaching honor with Fairland’s Jon Buchanan, while Tackett’s top honor for the Division IV boys was split three ways.
Tackett, along with Doug Williams of Western and Alvin Carpenter of Symmes Valley, tied for that small-school award —with Williams’ Indians and Carpenter’s Vikings both tying for the Southern Ohio Conference Division I championship.
Shoemaker has guided the Falcons for 13 years now, as Minford handed SOC II champion Waverly its only league loss —and went 18-4 in the regular season, en route to an SOC II runner-up effort.
Right behind Waverly and Minford in the SOC II was Valley —which went 17-4 in Tackett’s first season in charge, as the Indians indeed play upwards in schedule.
Spradlin, completing two full decades with Wheelersburg, saw his Lady Pirates post a perfect regular-season record at 21-0 —their first undefeated regular campaign since at least 1976, when Wheelersburg restarted its girls basketball program.
In upping its incredible SOC II win streak to 60 games, Wheelersburg went 16-0 in the division — while also winning five non-conference contests, including three at neutral sites and two close encounters over Division II teams Vinton County and Hamilton Badin.
The Lady Pirates’, perhaps although arguable, best victory of their 24 total in 2022 was their 53-50 overtime triumph over visiting Vinton County.
Wheelersburg was also, in wire-to-wire fashion for all seven statewide polls, the 2022 Division III Associated Press poll champion.
The five-foot nine-inch Claxon, a three-time all-Southeast District Division IV first-teamer, averaged 26.3 points per game —and was the unanimous OPSWA selection for Division IV POY.
Claxon is the second consecutive Scioto Countian to win at least a share of the Division IV girls top player honor —as Ava Hassel of Notre Dame shared that with Peebles’ Jacey Justice.
The same for Shoemaker of Minford for the Division III boys —with West’s Caleb McClanahan winning last season, and sharing it with longtime Eastern Brown coach Rob Beucler.
The entire list is selected by an OPSWA panel representing the Southeast District, as the Associated Press is no longer affiliated with ANY all-district and/or all-Ohio teams.
Scioto County’s selections are all within either Division III or Division IV, as OPSWA all-district basketball clubs cover those which are part of the District 14 AND District 13 coaches associations.
All of Perry County’s school districts, and Fairfield Union in Fairfield County, are included as well.
There are a dozen Scioto County programs for both boys and girls basketball — and ALL had at least one representative on either the first team, second team, third team or Special Mention units.
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.
Claxon, by being a district POY as there are seven OPSWA individual districts, qualifies automatically for consideration for state Player of the Year.
Joining Claxon on the girls Division IV first-team unit was another three-time first-teamer —5-6 senior Kasey Kimbler of Green.
Although, Kimbler is the only county player —boys or girls — to make all-district for all four years, as she was a Special Mention selection as a freshman.
Annie Dettwiller of Notre Dame joined Claxon and Kimbler on the first team, as the tall 6-1 junior Dettwiller was a third-teamer last season.
Second-teamers included senior Kenzie Whitley of New Boston, senior Faith Maloney of South Webster and sophomore Gracie Ashley of Notre Dame —as both Maloney and Whitley were Special Mention picks two years ago, AND third-team honorees last year (2020-21).
Clay junior Morgan McCoy and Green junior Anna Knapp notched third-team honors, as Knapp moved up from her first two seasons of Special Mention.
This year’s Division IV Special Mentions included Bella Claxon and Skylar Zimmerman of South Webster, Katie Strickland and Ella Kirby of Notre Dame, Dylan O’Rourke of New Boston and Felicia Smith of East —as only Claxon (2020-2021 Special Mention) of that sixthsome was a repeat honoree.
In Division III, five-foot and 10-inch Wheelersburg senior Alaina Keeney claimed first team —the only Scioto County Division III gal to do so.
She is also the only three-time Division III selection — having earned second-team honors as a sophomore and junior.
Keeney’s Lady Pirate teammate — junior Makenna Walker —was a second-teamer, along with West junior Maelynn Howell.
The third-team D-III selections included sophomore Emma Sayre of West, senior Ava Jenkins of Northwest, freshman Daysha Reid of Portsmouth, junior Lexie Rucker of Wheelersburg, sophomore Lexie Morrow of Valley and freshman Lindsee Williams of Minford.
Of that group, Jenkins and Sayre were Special Mention picks from a year ago.
Two West ladies, Lexi Deaver and Eden Cline, made Special Mention this season —as Cline was a second-teamer and Deaver a third-teamer last year.
The other half-dozen Special Mention choices — all first-timers — included Portsmouth’s Nia Trinidad, Valley’s Savannah Easter, Minford’s Kynedi Davis, Northwest’s Kloe Montgomery, and Wheelersburg’s Madison Whittaker and Macee Eaton.
For the Division III boys, only six-foot four-inch Minford senior Trenton Zimmerman is a three-time all-district pick —being named to the first team this season, following second team as a junior and third team as a sophomore.
Zimmerman was joined on the first team by his fellow Falcon teammate in freshman Myles Montgomery — as the only county representative on the (D-III) Special Mention list was Minford’s Adam Crank.
The Division III second-teamers included senior Dariyonne Bryant and junior Kenny Sanderlin of Portsmouth, senior Jesse Dixon of West, senior Eli Swords of Wheelersburg, and Northwest sophomore Connor Lintz.
Of that fivesome, only Lintz —a Special Mention make as a freshman —was a repeater.
Lintz’s Northwest teammate and sophomore Tanner Bolin, West junior Ryan Sissel and Wheelersburg senior Cooper McKenzie all made third team.
Like Division III, a surname “Zimmerman” paced the county’s Division IV picks — as six-foot South Webster senior Trae Zimmerman repeated to the first team, after making third team as a sophomore (2020).
There were actually five first-teamers, and all are two-time honorees, from Scioto County — Zimmerman, Green junior Levi Sampson, New Boston senior Grady Jackson, Notre Dame senior Johnathan Strickland, and Valley junior George Arnett.
Sampson repeated to the first team, Strickland and Arnett were repeat second-teamers, and Jackson was a sophomore Special Mention.
Notre Dame senior Jermaine Powell, who made Special Mention two years back, was one of three second-teamers —along with Valley sophomore Jace Copley and South Webster freshman Eli Roberts.
Those same three schools were also represented on the third team —by Valley senior Bryce Stuart, South Webster senior Cam Carpenter, and Notre Dame junior Dominic Sparks.
Stuart repeated to the third team, while Carpenter was a Special Mention pick last year.
There were five first-timers for Special Mention — Brady Voiers and Myles Beasley of New Boston, Gavin Cayton of Clay, Landehn Pernell of East and Gabe McBee of Green.
Other boys Players of the Year included Aiden Porter of Fairland and Kyler D’Augustino of Alexander in Division III, Blake Guffey of Trimble in Division IV, and Trey Robertson with Waverly in Division II.
Waverly actually swept the top Division II boys honors — with Trey’s father Travis Robertson sharing COY with McClain’s Joe B. Stewart.
There were also shares for the Division IV girls coaches (Trimble’s Joe Richards and Waterford’s Jerry Close), the Division II girls coaches (Sheridan’s J.D. Walters and Jackson’s Matt Walburn) and the Division III girls players (Huntington’s Allison Basye and Eastern Brown’s Rylee Leonard).
Faith Stinson of Sheridan, of the Division II state runner-up Lady Generals, was that unanimous choice for Player of the Year.
For a complete list of the 2021-22 OPSWA all-Southeast District girls and boys basketball teams, please visit www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved