6th-grader sets scoring mark

If playing basketball is a job, Josh Ritchey gets a lot of overtime.

“I put in a lot work,” said the Marietta Youth League standout. “I shoot a lot in my driveway.”

“We put lights up for him,” said Josh’s father and assistant coach Daniel Ritchey. “Sometimes he’ll shoot ’till 11 or 12 at night.”

That hard work has paid off so far, as the sixth-grader enjoyed a record-breaking year. Josh scored 253 points in 12 games this season and led his team, the Reno Warriors, to a league championship.

“He works so hard,” Daniel said.

“He’s got a lot to be proud of.”

In addition to averaging 21 points per game, Josh also connected on 20 3-pointers this season. At 5-foot-6, he can also post up down low.

Josh had always had success at the youth and AAU level, but prior to this season was presented with a challenge.

“His coach (Myron Schwaben) challenged him to get 200 points,” said Josh’s mother Peggy.

Josh met the challenge and then some.

At one point this season Josh scored a career-high 35 points, in a game where his team scored 49.

But scoring isn’t the only facet of Josh’s game. Asked what will be the key for success at the junior high level next year, he said “I’ll keep playing defense, creating turnovers and working hard.”

Josh picked up basketball at a young age.

“I just started playing,” he said. “I liked it and I never stopped.”

His goal is to one day play for the Ohio University Bobcats.

“He goes to most of (Ohio’s) games,” Daniel explained.

“He helps mop the floor underneath the basket and helps out on the football field.”

Donald, surprisingly, has never been a hoops player.

“I’ve never played a minute of basketball,” he laughed.

Still, he has been able to help his son from the bench.

“It’s tough sometimes,” said Josh of having his father as a coach. “But it’s fun a lot of the time.”

As young Josh moves forward in his playing career, he will likely leave a lasting impression at every level he competes in.

But regardless of what happens in the future, he and his parents will always remember his record-breaking sixth grade season.

“We’re just so proud of him,” Daniel said.