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Phil Lewton Sportsmanship Award Won’t Be Given This Year; Will Return Next Year

Honor will resume a year from now

WHEELING — The Wheeling Hospital OVAC Basketball Championships are always enjoyable and full of competitive contests.

Along with the games, the Phil Lewton Sportsmanship Award is handed out yearly to two teams, who receive 2,500 dollars to be used as they wish.

Lewton was an Ohio Valley basketball great and a legendary basketball official in the area who passed away in 2016 at the age of 57.

However, it’s not the OVAC that hands out the award in his name, it’s Lewton’s father, Fred.

Unfortunately, this year, due to the cancellation of the tournament and with the coronavirus pandemic, the award presentation has been canceled.

However, Fred Lewton wants everyone to know it will resume again next year.

“We just decided to suspend it because of COVID and with West Virginia playing at a different time than Ohio,” Chairman of the Phil Lewton Sportsmanship Award, Don Cash said. “There are a lot of teams playing with no fans. But we want everyone to know it’s going to continue, and we’ll pick it back up next year.”

Last year’s recipients were the Monroe Central boys’ basketball team and the Wheeling Park girls’ basketball team.

Phil Lewton officiated basketball in the Ohio Valley for 30 years after playing at West Liberty and Wheeling College.

“Mr. (Fred) Lewton and his family created the scholarship in honor of Phil,” Cash said. “He was big on sportsmanship and there are no stipulations on how the teams use the money.

“Usually, we present it at the OVAC Championships, which didn’t happen this year either. We just wanted a platform where schools would see how teams with great sportsmanship were rewarded.”

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