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Porter, Duplaga Captain 41st All-Valley Girls’ Basketball Team

Photo by Josh Strope Members of the 41st Annual All-Valley Girls’ Basketball teams are, front row, from left: Kylie McKennen (Wheeling Park), Natalie Stoner (Bellaire) and Shay Straughn (John Marshall). Back row are Avery Derrow (John Marshall), Kaylin Nixon (St. John Central), Bella Abernathy (Wheeling Park), Kayla Huff (Edison) and Kelsie Meintel (Cameron). Not pictured are Hope Bowman (Brooke), Haley Porter (Union Local), Lauren Flannery (River), Emily Holzopfel (Buckeye Local) and Kyndra Pilant (Magnolia). Shown below, from left, are Wheeling Central’s Kaylee Reinbeau, Taylor Duplaga and Eden Gainer.

Big School

Haley Porter

Union Local (captain)

Haley Porter will leave Union Local as one of the top players in the history of the school and rightfully so. The past four years have been nothing short of exceptional for the 5-foot-4 guard. During her senior season, Porter averaged 18.8 points per game to go with six rebounds for Coach Kelly Hanlon’s squad. Included in that was two games where she scored more than 40 points. Porter also rewrote the school record book, becoming the all-time leader in 3-pointers with 254. Her 1,495 career points and 89 games puts her in second place in school history. Porter was named first team All-OVAC and third team All-Ohio.

Bella Abernathy, Wheeling Park

The youngest member of the All-Valley team, Wheeling Park may have found its next great player in Bella Abernathy. Just a freshman, Abernathy looked like a seasoned veteran down the stretch and had one of her best games during a Class AAA quarterfinal victory against George Washington, scoring 19 points in her first taste of action at the state tournament. Abernathy averaged 8.4 points per game, to go along with 6.7 rebounds for Coach Ryan Young’s squad and was named third team all-state by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association and second team All-OVAC.

Hope Bowman, Brooke

Brooke turned from a struggling program into an OVAC contender this season and a big reason for that was Hope Bowman. At 6-3, the junior was one of the top defenders in the valley as she used her size to alter almost every shot that came inside the paint. Bowman averaged a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds, to go with six blocks a game for Coach Ryan Scherich’s Bruins. Bowman, making her second straight appearance on the All-Valley first team, was also named first team All-OVAC and second team all-state.

Avery Derrow, John Marshall

Avery Derrow returns to the All-Valley first team after another solid season with the Monarchs. Derrow etched her name in the record book when she recorded her 1,000th point this season, finishing her career with 1,010 and joining her sister, Torie, as the first siblings to accomplish the feat in school history. Derrow averaged 14.6 points and 5.1 rebounds for Coach Brock Melko’s squad, while also shooting 71 percent from the free-throw line. The senior standout was named second team All-OVAC and honorable mention all-state.

Emily Holzopfel

Buckeye Local

The leading scorer on the All-Valley team, Holzopfel was a coach’s dream and someone you wanted to have the ball with the game on the line. She shot an impressive 46.7 percent from the field (40.2 from 3-point range) and 70.2 percent from the line. With more than 1,300 points, Holzopfel became Buckeye Local’s all-time leading scorer. Oh, and she is going to put that number far out of reach as she was just a junior. She averaged 24.7 points to go along with 5.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.6 steals for Coach Tom Figurski’s Panthers. Holzopfel was named first team All-OVAC and third team All-Ohio.

Kayla Huff, Edison

If you see Kayla Huff with the ball in her hands, watch out. The hard-charging senior had no problem driving to the basket and drawing contact. A four-year varsity letterwinner, Huff thrived under first-year coach Jeff Stone, averaging 17.7 points per game with three assists. She had a nose for the ball and muscled her way into seven rebounds per game. She also had a career-high 38 points earlier this season. In her final game with the Wildcats, Huff notched her 1,000th point, finishing with a career total of 1,021. Huff was named first team All-OVAC and special mention All-Ohio.

Kylie McKennen, Wheeling Park

Kylie McKennen wrapped up a solid career this season after helping lead Wheeling Park to two straight state tournaments, as well as an OVAC championship last season and runner-up finish this season. McKennen may not have been the biggest player on the hear, but Young always referred to her “heart and hustle” and the senior guard defined that phrase perfectly. She used her tenacious defense to lead by example and averaged 3.5 steals for the Patriots. She added 9.2 points and 3.5 rebounds on her way to being named first team All-OVAC and second team all-state.

Shay Straughn, John Marshall

Shay Straughn was already a pretty good player — she was first team All-Valley last season — but this season she took her game up a notch. She increased her averages in all the major categories, making her as complete a player you will find this season. In her junior season, Straughn averaged 20.3 points, 3.2 steals, 4.3 rebounds, shot 72 percent from the line and drained 55 3-pointers. Next season, she will be the unquestioned leader for John Marshall as the Monarchs look to get over the hump and make the trip to Charleston. Straughn was named first team All-OVAC and third team all-state.

Small School

Taylor Duplaga

Wheeling Central (captain)

One of the lasting images of this season’s state tournament was Taylor Duplaga’s reaction after winning the state championship. Four years of frustration was wiped away and Duplaga becomes the latest member of her successful family to taste championship glory. Duplaga is as complete a player as you will find. She can attack the rim, pull up and shoot a 3 and her defense is top-notch. She has been the leader of the Maroon Knights for the past few seasons and leading her team to the state championship put the icing on what was a remarkable career. Her final campaign ended with Duplaga scoring 16.7 points per game, 3.8 rebounds and adding 3.2 assists. A returning member of the All-Valley first team, Duplaga also earned first team All-OVAC and all-state laurels.

Lauren Flannery, River

The River Pilots claimed their first OVAC championship since 2004 and first in the playoff era. A lot of that credit goes to Lauren Flannery. She scored 20 points in the Class 2A championship victory against Shadyside on her way to a John Howell Most Valuable Player Award. A three-year starter for Coach Rick Isaly, Flannery surpassed the 1,000-point mark this season and will look to climb up the ladder next winter. Flannery netted 18.4 points per game, as well as 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and three steals. She was named first team All-OVAC and All-District 12, as well as second team All-Ohio.

Eden Gainer, Wheeling Central

A shoulder injury forced Eden Gainer to miss some time this season, but when Wheeling Central needed her the most, she was back on the court better than ever. Case in point, her first game back, Gainer drained six 3-pointers in the first half of a regional championship victory against Ritchie County on her way to 26 points to put the Knights back in Charleston. The soft-spoken sharpshooter is as deadly behind the arc as anyone you will find in the valley. Giving her an open look is just asking for trouble. Gainer averaged 15.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists. She was named second team all-state.

Kelsie Meintel, Cameron

Cameron had arguably the best season in school history and at the forefront of that was Kelsie Meintel. A returning All-Valley first-teamer, all eyes were going to be on stopping Meintel this season whenever someone played the Dragons. Easier said than done. Meintel was a double-double machine, recording 21 of them in the 25 games the Dragons played. She helped lead the Dragons to a 22-3 record and the first OVAC title in school history, averaging 17.1 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals. She was the Most Outstanding Player in the WVHIT, as well as all-tournament at the Sunshine Classic in Florida, as well as at a tournament in St. Marys. Meintel was selected first team All-OVAC and second team all-state.

Kaylin Nixon, St. John Central

Kaylin Nixon enjoyed a breakout season for Coach Bubba Kapral’s Irish. Despite a down season for the Irish, Nixon was more than anything Kapral could have asked for, scoring in double digits every game, including a season-high 34 points. The 5-11 junior was a jack of all trades, playing all five positions and averaging 19.9 points and 11.7 rebounds. Kapral says Nixon is poised to become the latest in a long line of 1,000-point scorers at a school known for them. Nixon was named first team All-OVAC, District 12 and Eastern District, while also grabbing a third team All-Ohio selection.

Kyndra Pilant, Magnolia

Named a captain as a sophomore, Kyndra Pilant more than took on the responsibility, helping return Magnolia to the state tournament for the first time in 11 years. On the road there, Pilant put her name in Magnolia lore, setting single game records for blocks in a game (11) and rebounds (27). Pilant recorded 19 double-doubles, as well as two triple-doubles. She had an impressive 91 blocks this season. As if her defense was enough to put her on the All-Valley team, she could also score, averaging 15.9 points per game to go along with 16 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.4 steals and 4.1 blocks. Pilant was named first team all-state and All-OVAC.

Kaylee Reinbeau, Wheeling Central

While Duplaga and Gainer do most of their damage outside of the paint, Reinbeau does most of her work inside. But that doesn’t make her one dimensional at all. In fact, it is just the opposite. Wheeling Central coach Penn Kurtz even remarked she might be the team’s best outside shooter. Pretty high praise. Reinbeau often plants herself at the top of the paint and whether she decides to drive to the basket or pull up for a jumper, the results are usually pretty good. It was also her clutch free throws that sealed a state title victory. Reinbeau was named first team All-OVAC and third team all-state after averaging 14.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

Natalie Stoner, Bellaire

According to Bellaire coach John Farrier, Natalie Stoner is someone that “plays fast and makes big plays in big games.” Stoner was a key cog in Bellaire’s success this season and with a young team coming back next season, big things will be expected of her and the Big Reds. Stoner led a balanced Bellaire attack with 13.4 points per game, setting a school record for field goal percentage by shooting more than 50 percent. She also averaged three steals and 2.9 rebounds per game. Stoner was named first team All-OVAC, All-Eastern District, All-District 12 and special mention All-Ohio.


Big School

First Team

Bella Abernathy, Wheeling Park

Hope Bowman, Brooke

Avery Derrow, John Marshall

Emily Holzopfel, Buckeye Local

Kayla Huff, Edison

Kylie McKennen, Wheeling Park

Haley Porter, Union Local (captain)

Shay Straughn, John Marshall

Second Team

Makayla Abram, Steubenville

Ashley Arca, Brooke

Taylor Jones, Indian Creek

Maggie Kovalcik, Oak Glen

Emily Pavlic, Wheeling Park

Sydney Starr, Harrison Central

Bailey Stead, Weir

Alex Wiley, Harrison Central

Third Team

Alaire Destifanes, Buckeye Local

Madison Fields, Steubenville

Reece Enochs, Oak Glen

Madison Ging, Martins Ferry

Brionna Gray, Wheeling Park

Kylie Kiger, Indian Creek

Keri Klinkoski, St. Clairsville

Hannah Porter, Union Local

Small School

First Team

Taylor Duplaga, Wheeling Central (captain)

Lauren Flannery, River

Eden Gainer, Wheeling Central

Kelsie Meintel, Cameron

Kaylin Nixon, St. John Central

Kyndra Pilant, Magnolia

Kaylee Reinbeau, Wheeling Central

Natalie Stoner, Bellaire

Second Team

Marissa Beal, Bridgeport

Riley Bennington, Wheeling Central

Maci Crozier, Bellaire

Hannah Loy, Paden City

Sophie Palmer, Valley

Josey Jones, Tyler Consolidated

Baylee Wach, Shadyside

Mady Winters, Magnolia

Third Team

Jenni Carmichael, Buckeye Trail

Kamden Dulesky, Bridgeport

Josie Purpura, Linsly

Alli Stewart, East Richland Christian

Tia Taglone, Steubenville Catholic

Courtney Walker, Cameron

JoLee Walton, Tyler Consolidated

Hannah White, Wheeling Central

Honorable Mention

Barnesville: Sarah Powell

Beallsville: Ashlie Louden

Bellaire: Katrina Davis, Cierra Davis

Bridgeport: Lauren Neer

Brooke: Chloe Fox

Buckeye Local: Maddy Gill

Buckeye Trail: Sam Canner

Cameron: Kori Scott, Jordyn Hughes

East Richland: Katie Hans, Kari Ratliff

Edison: Sami Springer

Harrison Central: Hannah Mattern

Hundred: Emily Metz

Indian Creek: Mackenzie Orban, Ashley Yaich

John Marshall: Anna Blake, Abby Blake

Linsly: Charlie Allison

Madonna: Andrea Alimario

Magnolia: Logan Riggs, Kennedy Parsons

Martins Ferry: Rachel Spielvogel

Monroe Central: Kirsten Friday

Oak Glen: Alexa Andrews

Paden City: Paige Leonard

River: Alli Long, Carsyn Reynolds

Shadyside: Sydnie Destifanes, Tory Hendershot

St. Clairsville: Ari Reager, Riley Simpson

St. John: Alyssa Busack

Steubenville: Seana Ragusa

Steubenville Catholic: Bella Oliver, Julia Zetta

Toronto: Jo’zaeyah Jordan, Bianca McDonald

Tyler Consolidated: Peyton Kocher, Amanda Reynolds

Union Local: Sutherlynd Butler

Valley: Tessa Dudgeon

Weir: Sophia Mikula

Wheeling Central: Riley Blaha

Wheeling Park: Laurel Robb


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