Local basketball players earn Southeast District honors

Photo courtesy of Joni Hurley Waterford’s Rachael Adams guards a Minster player during the Division IV state semifinals last season in Columbus.

Waterford High had its four-year Final Four streak snapped with a loss to Peebles in the Division IV district finals this year, but it was still an incredible season for the Wildcats, who finished 20-5 overall and 16-0 in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division.

Waterford was rewarded with a pair of players on the first team All-Southeast District list, one the second team and one in special mention. Senior Rachael Adams and freshman Cara Taylor were the first teamers. Adams, despite missing time with injuries, led the team with 11.4 points per game and was the Wildcats’ most consistent player. Taylor led Waterford with 19 points in loss to Peebles and figures to be a force in the district for the next three seasons.

Emily Kern, a senior, made the second team. She averaged six points per game, but was a valuable contributor for the Wildcats with three rebounds, two steals and two assists per game. Freshman Mackenzie Suprano earned special mention status.

Also honored was Waterford head coach Jerry Close, who named the district’s Division IV co-Coach of the Year along with Notre Dame’s J.D. McKenzie. Coach guided the Wildcats to a 20-win season after losing two first team All-Ohioans in Alli Kern and Megan Ball to graduation.

In Division II, Warren saw junior Molly Grayson and sophomore Olivia Alloway both earn third team all-district honors. Grayson averaged 10.8 points, 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game. Alloway tallied 11.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals per contest. Teammate Sommer Saboley was named special mention. The Warriors finished the season 11-9 after losing to Fairfield Union in the sectional finals.

The Marietta girls, Washington County’s lone Division I team, saw junior Hannah Kroft named to the first team. Kroft averaged a double-double with 14.5 points and 11.3 rebounds per game to go along with 2.2 steals. Senior Tia Jarvis was picked as a special mention honoree. The Tigers were 10-13 on the hardwood this season.

On the boys side, Warren’s Seth Dennis and Waterford’s Russ Young each earned first team all-district honors.

Dennis, who averaged 13.9 points, 3.7 assists and 3.4 steals per game, helped the Warriors advance to the Division II district semifinals, where they fell to Jackson. Warren, which finished the year 16-8, also got senior Noah Nichols on the second team and senior Clay Miller on the third team. Nichols, one of the area’s top 3-point shooters, scored 14.7 points per game while Miller averaged 11.5 points and 5.5 boards per contest.

Waterford, which lost to Dawson-Bryant in the district finals Thursday, finished 17-7. Young proved to be a force for the Wildcats all season, averaging 13.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He also blocked 35 shots en route to being named a first teamer. Classmate Peyten Stephens was recognized as a third teamer. The All-Ohio football player also had a nice season on the basketball court, netting nine points and a team-high 8.5 boards per contest. Holden Dailey was a special mention selection for the ‘Cats.

In Division III, Belpre’s Jerimiah Stitt was named third team all-district. Stitt, a 6-foot-7 senior, averaged 14.5 points and 12.6 rebounds per game for the Golden Eagles, who finished 11-12. Stitt was also the area’s best rim-protector with 2.7 blocks per game. Belpre sophomore Connor Baker was special mention all-district.

Marietta High saw senior Austin Witucky take third team honors in Division II. Witucky led the Tigers with 11 points and seven rebounds per game. Classmate Derek Duckworth was picked as a special mention honoree for Marietta, which fell to Fairfield Union in the sectional finals and finished 7-17.