Brock Netter, Staff Writer
One state semifinalist, three district champions and a plethora of sectional title winners made this past basketball season well worth covering.
But those were just the highlights. To really understand how special the season was, you’d have to look back on every career-defining moment, every game-winning shot, and every net that was cut down in jubilation.
Southern Ohio Sports Authority was right there every step of the way, covering individual milestones, improbable feats and wins that changed history.
After a fun-filled year, take a look at our All-Area Team, which consists of 30 area players who were at their best throughout the winter season.
NOTE: SOSA’s coverage area this basketball season consisted of the Scioto Valley Conference, Southern Ohio Conference, Southern Hills Athletic Conference, Frontier Athletic Conference as well as the Mid-State League.
George Arnett | Valley | Guard | Sophomore
Valley is a team that Division IV needs to watch for over the next two seasons, and Arnett is a big reason why. He’s the glue that holds the team together and does a lot of the dirty work. But he can also put the ball in the bucket as he finished the season with a team-high 12.5 points per night. He earned first-team SOC II and second-team all-district honors.
Landon Barnett | Whiteoak | Forward | Sophomore
Whiteoak spent much of the season atop the SHAC II standings, and Barnett was a major factor in that. Just a sophomore, he showed how talented he is, and will continue to be, night after night with his knack for scoring. He finished the season averaging 15.5 points, which led the team. He collected all-SHAC honors and a second-team all-district nod.
Logan Bennett | Adena | Forward | Senior
Whether you need a bucket, block, rebound, steal or assist, Bennett was the guy to make it happen. He ended the season averaging 17.9 points and 6.2 rebounds, which earned him SVC Player of the Year honors and first-team all-district award. He graduates as one of the most accomplished players in Adena history, scoring over 1,000 points and guiding the Warriors to their first SVC title since 2006 to go alongside three sectional crowns and a district title.
Luke Blackburn | Westfall | Forward | Senior
Westfall had its struggles this season. However, it knew it could rely on Blackburn when things broke down. He finished the season averaging a double-double of 11.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per night, leading the Mustangs to a huge upset win over Unioto late in the season. He earned first-team SVC and third-team all-district honors for his play on the court.
Zeke Brown | Waverly | Forward | Senior
The term “freak athlete” is the perfect way to describe Brown on the hardwood. With springs for legs and a 6-foot-3 frame, he was a nightmare for opponents to deal with. Although most of his points came via rebounds and put backs, he made the most of his chanecs by averaging 10.4 points and seven rebounds a night. That earned him first-team SOC II and third-team all-district honors for the 20-win Tigers.
Oakley Burba | Peebles | Guard | Senior
Burba transitioned from a sixth man last season to Peebles’ go-to guy this winter, and he always rose to the occasion. Despite the Indians spending more time in quarantine than any other team in the area, the senior guard still put up 17.8 points per game and helped guide his teammates to a sectional championship. He was an all-SHAC selection and earned first-team all-district honors.
Chris Chandler | Piketon | Forward | Senior
Anytime you played Piketon, the No. 1 goal was to limit Chandler’s impact on the game. That’s much easier said than done, though. Although he carries a quiet demeanor off the court, his game spoke volumes as he put up an SVC-high 18.2 points, alongside six rebounds, per night as. He led the Redstreaks to a sectional championship and was a first-team SVC and first-team all-district selection.
Brycen Carver | Northwest | Center | Senior
The Mohawks endured a lot of growing pains, but Carver was always there to shoulder the load when they needed it. At 6-foot-7, he was a mismatch in the post and one Northwest took advantage of as Carver ended the season with 14.7 points and eight rebounds per night. That earned him a spot on first-team SOC II and second-team all-district.
J.C. Damron | Ironton St. Joe | Forward | Senior
The Flyers dealt with inconsistency throughout the season, but they could always rely on Damron to bail them out. With a knack for attacking the rim, Damron used his 6-foot-4 frame to bully defenders as he finished the season with 17 points and eight rebounds per night. He earned first-team SOC I and first-team all-district honors for his efforts.
Cameron DeBord | Unioto | Guard | Senior
It’s not just all about scoring the basketball. You need pesky defenders who just do their job. That’s what DeBord brought to the table. Often times, he was tasked with guarding the opposition’s best player and was successful in limiting their impact. But he also added 8.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and a team-high 2.1 steals a game, which earned him second-team SVC and third-team all-district honors.
Luke Garrett | Eastern Brown | Guard | Junior
Night in and night out, the Warriors were a complete mismatch with Garrett leading the charge. Possessing speed and a quick first-step, he blew by defenders with ease on his way to a team-high 16 points per night for the SHAC and sectional champions. His efforts earned him first-team SHAC and first-team all-district honors. With one more year under his belt, he’ll continue to torch defenders.
Braxton Hammond | Jackson | Forward | Senior
Hammond’s career accomplishments will go down as some of the best in Jackson history. He guided the Ironmen to a share of the FAC title for the first time since 1991 alongside a second sectional title in three years after averaging 10.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this season. He was a first-team FAC and first-team all-district selection.
Jayden Hessler | North Adams | Guard | Senior
North Adams had the ability to beat any team on any given night because of the relentless effort Hessler gave at every turn. He helped guide the Green Devils to 15 wins, including a sectional championship after putting up 15.2 points per game this season. For his efforts, he was named to the all-SHAC and second-team all-district list.
Luke Howard | West | Forward | Junior
The rise of the Senators came out of nowhere, and Howard was in front of the pack leading the charge. Putting together the program’s best season since 1998, Howard led the team with 9.7 points per game as the Senators spread the wealth and won a sectional championship. He was named first-team SOC II and second-team all-district for his efforts.
De’Von Jones | New Boston | Guard | Senior
Although teammates Kyle Sexton and Tanner Voiers garner most of the attention, Jones benefitted the most from the duo’s play and became a huge driving force for the Tigers. After a successful regular season, he turned his game up a notch with his hustle defensively and relentless attack on the rim offensively. After averaging 14.7 points, he earned first-team SOC I honors as well as a third-team all-district nod.
Isaac Little | Unioto | Guard | Senior
Leader. Floor general. Fearless. Relentless competitor. Winner. All those words describe what Little brings to the floor every single night. Once you add his nightly production, it makes sense why Unioto went 38-10 over the past two seasons. He finished this season averaging 15.6 points and helped lead the Shermans to sectional and district championships. He earned first-team SVC and first-team all-district honors.
Matthew Miller | Wheelersburg | Guard | Senior
Possessing one of the deadliest pull-up jumpers in the area, Miller showed himself to be one of the elite players in the area. As part of a senior class that won over 80 games, he finished the season with a team-high 16 points per game. He graduates with three SOC II, four sectional, and three district titles to his credit. His efforts earned him first-team SOC II and first-team all-district honors.
Dawson Mills | Peebles | Forward | Senior
Anyone who got into the paint against Peebles had a tough time scoring because of the 6-foot-6 Mills. His long arms and athleticism allowed him to block shots and to get rebounds and put backs at a high rate. Finishing the season averaging 12 points, eight rebounds and nearly three blocks per game, he earned a spot on the all-SHAC team and a second-team all-district honor.
Trey Robertson | Waverly | Guard | Junior
If you look up “bucket” in the dictionary, there’s a huge picture of Robertson right there. He’s been unstoppable ever since stepping onto the court and he took his game to another level this season. The 5-foot-9 standout scored his 1,000th career point and finished with an area-high 25.7 points per game, including multiple 30-point efforts. He was the SOC II and Division II Co-District Player of the Year, and still has one season left.
Levi Sampson | Green | Guard | Sophomore
Those that saw Sampson play knew that his knack for scoring was nearly unmatched. Despite the Bobcats only winning nine games this season, the 6-foot-2 rising standout was deadly with the ball in his hands, finishing the season with 23 points per game. He was named first-team SOC I and first-team all-district. Get used to reading his name over the next two years.
Ryan Scott | Hillsboro | Guard | Senior
Scott was the driving force for a Hillsboro team that put together its best season since 1998, and one of the best in school history. The senior guard compiled nine games of 20-plus points, finishing the season with a team-high 17.8 points per night as he led the Indians to a share of the FAC title for the first time since 2012. He was named the FAC Player of the Year and was a first-team all-district player.
Kyle Sexton | New Boston | Forward | Senior
For the last four years, no one has had an answer on how to stop Sexton. That didn’t change this year. He finished the year averaging 21.4 points, 11 rebounds and five assists per game as he led the Tigers to their best season since 1960. He was named the SOC I and Division IV District Player of the Year and ends his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with over 1,000 rebounds as well.
Johnathan Strickland | Notre Dame | Forward | Junior
The Titans put a lot of teams on notice that they meant business, and used a heavy dose of Strickland to emphasize their point. Crafty with the ball in his hands, he finished the season with a team-high 17.2 points per game for the 12-win Titans. He earned himself first-team SOC I and second-team all-district honors, and with another year left, you’ll be hearing his name quite a bit.
Preston Sykes | Adena | Forward | Senior
We all know about Sykes’ talent on the gridiron, but he’s just as effective on the hardwood as well. Helping guide the Warriors to their first SVC title since 2006, he ended the season with 13.8 points and six rebounds per game for the 22-win Warriors. He was named first-team SVC and received second-team all-district honors.
J.J. Truitt | Wheelersburg | Forward | Senior
If it wasn’t Miller knocking down a big-time shot, chances are it was Truitt who made things happen for Pirates. While forming one of the top duos in Southeast Ohio, the 6-foot-3 forward finished the season averaging 12.3 points per game and added his 1,000th point to his totals. He earned first-team SOC II and second-team all-district honors after guiding the Pirates to an SOC II, sectional and district championship.
Colton Vaughn | Eastern Brown | Forward | Senior
Vaughn brought a level of physicality and energy on the floor that very few players and teams in the area could match. That also led to him putting up points at a premium level off second chance opportunities. He ended the season averaging 13 points and nine rebounds per game, earning him all-SHAC and first-team all-district honors. He finished his career as the school’s all-time leading rebounder alongside over 1,000 career points.
Tanner Voiers | New Boston | Guard | Senior
New Boston was fortunate enough to have two No. 1 scoring options who could get a bucket at any point in Sexton and Voiers. Voiers possessed a smooth shot and toughness inside to finish at the rim, allowing him to end the season scoring 19.2 points per game, which included his 1,000th career point. His efforts earned him first-team SOC I and first-team all-district nods.
Isaac Ward | Logan Elm | Guard | Senior
Anytime Ward took the floor, there was always a chance he could explode for 30 points, which he did on multiple occasions. His shot would hang in the air for a while, but when it came down, it was straight nylon. He ended his season averaging 21 points per game, including his 1,000th career point. He was named the MSL and Division II Co-District Player of Year.
Trae Zimmerman | South Webster | Forward | Junior
South Webster began to find their groove towards the end of the season, and Zimmerman was at the forefront of the attack. With a green light to pull up from anywhere, he finished the season averaging 17 points per game as he helped guide the Jeeps to a sectional championship. He was named first-team SOC II and first-team all-district. Watch out for the Jeeps next season.
Trent Zimmerman | Minford | Forward | Junior
Minford had guts and played with a ton of heart every single night with Zimmerman leading the charge. With he ability to hit a shot from distance at a moment’s notice, he finished the season averaging 18.1 points per night. That earned him first-team SOC II and second-team all-district honors. He’ll be back from one more season and you can expect the same, if not even better, production.
Honorable Mention Selections
Tayvion Galloway, Unioto; Nalin Robinson, Zane Trace; Brody Fuller, Piketon; Bryce Stuart, Valley; Kolten Miller, Western; Carter McCorkle, Wheelersburg; Chase Clark, New Boston; Jimmy Mahlmeister, Ironton St. Joe; Drew Bragg, Jackson; Hunter Price, Hillsboro; Tanner Lemaster, Washington; Jason Sailer, Logan Elm; Will Futhey, Waverly; Elijah Vogelsong, Minford; Ty Perkins, Valley; Connor Priest, Fairfield; Bryson Badgley, McClain; Max Lee, Chillicothe; Bransyn Copas, North Adams; Jarrett Garrison, Adena; Cordell Grubb, Paint Valley; Shaden Malone, Clay; Trent Hundley, Eastern Brown; Rodney Moore, West