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Maxwell, Mitchell Captain 54th Annual All-Valley Boys’ Basketball Team

There were questions, there was doubt and there were obstacles but most importantly — there was basketball. The 2021 basketball season will be one that nobody will forget for all of those reasons but for some, it will be remembered for their hard work, passion for the game and their success on the hardwood. Two of those standouts have been named the captains of the 54th Annual All-Valley Basketball team after putting forth record-breaking and heart-filled performances. Left, Wheeling Central’s J.C. Maxwell simply would not be denied a spot in the state championship this year and that was evident on the court. Right, Harrison Central’s Kobe Mitchell wrapped up a sensational high school career this year with not only his skills but the way he carried himself on and off the floor. Photos by Kyle Lutz and Seth Staskey

BIG SCHOOL

Kobe Mitchell

Harrison Central

Captain

Kobe! Mitchell became a Harrison Central legend throughout his prep career and finished it with Division III State Player of the Year honors, along with first team All-Ohio accolades. He’ll be taking his talents to the University of Akron next year after turning in 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists per game as a senior. He tallied 2,421 points in four years — 15th in Ohio history and fourth in OVAC history.

Derrick Derrow

John Marshall

Derrow put it all on the line every night during his final season in a Monarchs uniform. The result landed him in the OVAC All-Star Game where he wrapped up his high school career with a strong performance for team West Virginia. During his senior campaign, Derrow charted 19 points, four rebounds and three assists per game for John Marshall coach Chad Clutter and the Monarchs.

Beau Heller

Wheeling Park

Heller for 3! Bang! That seemed to be the theme inside the Palace on the Hill on a nightly basis this season for the 5-foot-11 senior. Heller drained 52 treys and shot 46.6 percent from beyond the 3-point line. His 12.8 points per game for coach Michael Jebbia earned him a spot in the OVAC All-Star Game.

Alex Isinghood

Brooke

The Ohio Valley’s leading scorer, Isinghood helped turn Brooke’s basketball program around this year. The 6-3 big man averaged a double-double for Brooke coach Adam Shinsky with 22 points and 10.9 rebounds per game and will be a key player to watch coming into next season.

Avery Lee

Wheeling Park

Record breaker, leader and just an all-around athlete. Those are just a few words to describe Avery Lee. Consistent is another one as the senior drained 37 straight free throws this season to set a new school record. His 16.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 87% free-throw shooting and eight games of 20 points or more helped earn him second team all-state honors and an OVAC All-Star selection, where he charted 14 points.

Ryan McCort

St. Clairsville

It was McCort’s court this year as the St. Clairsville junior garnered second team All-Ohio accolades for his brilliant performance. He was also named to the All-Eastern District first team and the All-District 12 squad. His 18 points and five rebounds per game not only help the Red Devils fill some major voids left by last year’s seniors but it got him voted onto the All-Buckeye 8 team, as well.

Luke Merritt

Union Local

For the second straight year, Merritt found his name on the list of All-Ohioans. His name also appeared on the All-District 12, All-Buckeye 8 and All-Eastern District lists. Merritt cashed in 15 points a game, 51 3-pointers and shot 75% from the foul line. He collected 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game and finished his stellar career with 1,001 points. In the OVAC All-Star Game, Merritt bucketed 17 points for Ohio.

Zion Sawyer

Steubenville

Sawyer brought his A-game night in and night out for Big Red. The senior guard wrapped up his outstanding campaign with an OVAC All-Star appearance. Throughout the season, Sawyer averaged 16.1 points, five rebounds and 3.1 assists a night in a Steubenville uniform.

Cole Sperlazza

Brooke

Brooke’s boys’ basketball team won two games last year. This year, the Bruins were one win shy of a .500 record and the ceiling is even higher going forward. A key reason for that turnaround is Sperlazza, a second team all-stater who finished second in the Ohio Valley in scoring with 20 points a game. He also turned in 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists a night for Coach Shinsky.

SMALL SCHOOL

J.C. Maxwell

Wheeling Central

Captain

Nothing was standing in between Maxwell and the state championship this year. Even when Central’s leading scorer Ryan Reasbeck had to miss some games with an injury, Maxwell made sure the team didn’t lose a step. In the process he earned first team all-state and a spot on the OVAC All-Star team, where he scored 10 points. Maxwell finished his senior season with 19.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game in leading the Maroon Knights to the state title game.

Korey Beckett

Shadyside

Beckett was lethal from anywhere on the court. After a breakout sophomore campaign, Beckett turned in 50 3-pointers as a junior. He also tallied 15.4 points a game for Shadyside this year and will look to provide an even stronger senior season next year.

Trevor Beresford

Cameron

What it year for Cameron basketball. Beresford led the Dragons to the state tournament, where he scored 13 points in the quarterfinals. He was also named first team all-state. Beresford averaged a double-double of 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, while also accounting for 3.1 blocks, 2.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Beresford shot 59.5% from the field.

Kason Powell

Barnesville

On his way to receiving All-Ohio, All-Eastern District and All-District 12 honors, Powell was Mr. Reliable for Barnesville this year. The junior recorded 16 points a contest and drained 49 3-pointers, hauled in 97 rebounds, dished out 37 assists and charted 19 steals on the defensive side of the ball.

Ryan Reasbeck

Wheeling Central

As a junior, Reasbeck garnered first team all-state honors after turning in 22.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game to help the Maroon Knights earn a spot in the state championship game. Reasbeck scored a team-high 17 points in the state final and will have one more year to build on an already successful prep career.

Logan Smith

Martins Ferry

Smith finished his remarkable career as a Purple Rider as the fifth leading scorer in school history with 1,178 points. As a senior, Smith was named to the All-Eastern District, All-District 12 and All-Buckeye 8 teams. He provided 15.4 points, seven rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

Caleb Strode

Tyler Consolidated

Strode’s season-high of 36 points and 17 rebounds was a game he will never forget. In fact, Strode averaged a double-double of 19 points and 11.1 rebounds en route to capturing first team All-West Virginia accolades. He finished the year with 10 double-doubles, while shooting 51% from the floor and 44% from 3-point land. He also accounted for 1.9 steals and 1.8 assists a game.

Trevor Williamson

Magnolia

There isn’t a shot on the floor Williamson is afraid to take — and honestly, there isn’t a shot he can’t make either. Williamson drained a team-leading 37 3-pointers this season on his way to receiving second team all-state accolades. Williamson scored 16.9 points, collected 5.8 rebounds and handed out 3.9 assists per game for the Blue Eagles.

Raef Wykes

Linsly

Linsly entered the final game of the season against Martinsburg with a chance to win the OVAC title. Although the Cadets couldn’t overcome the powerhouse program, Linsly still finished with a strong 8-3 record behind the sharp-shooting and hard-working Wykes. The junior compiled a season total of 14 points, 5.1 assists and four rebounds a game.

BIG SCHOOL

First Team

1. Kobe Mitchell, Harrison Central (captain)

2. Derrick Derrow, John Marshall

3. Beau Heller, Wheeling Park

4. Alex Isinghood, Brooke

5. Avery Lee, Wheeling Park

6. Ryan McCort, St. Clairsville

7.Luke Merritt, Union Local

8. Zion Sawyer, Steubenville

9. Cole Sperlazza, Brooke

Second Team

1. Andrew Coursin, Brooke

2. Anthony Cross, Weir

3. Cole Gilbert, John Marshall

4. Avery Henry, St. Clairsville

5. Nathan Meyer, Union Local

6. Brett Phillips, Wheeling Park

7. D.J. Saunders, Wheeling Park

8. Drew Sefsick, St. Clairsville

9. Isaiah Van Dine, Indian Creek

Third Team

1. Phaeton Hill, Steubenville

2. Shaheed Jackson, Wheeling Park

3. Brenten Jones, Steubenville

4. Tyler Kelly, Weir

5. Ryan Knox, Brooke

6. Logan Kuczykowski, Indian Creek

7. Gage Patterson, Oak Glen

8. Braden Sobutka, John Marshall

9. Brennan Sobutka, John Marshall

SMALL SCHOOL

First Team

1. J.C. Maxwell, Wheeling Central (Captain)

2. Korey Beckett, Shadyside

3. Trevor Beresford, Cameron

4. Kason Powell, Barnesville

5. Ryan Reasbeck, Wheeling Central

6. Logan Smith, Martins Ferry

7. Caleb Strode, Tyler Consolidated

8. Trevor Williamson, Magnolia

9. Raef Wykes, Linsly

Second Team

1. Adam Baker, Beallsville

2. Cole Burkett, Cameron

3. Ty Cain, Paden City

4. Dylan Gregorcic, Bridgeport

5. Auston Hogue, Monroe Central

6. Ty Long, River

7. Jake Mayle, Buckeye Local

8. Lucky Pulice, Madonna

9. David Zwack, Bellaire

Third Team

1. Justin Bowman, Tyler Consolidated

2. Elijah Brock, Shadyside

3. Mason Brown, Buckeye Local

4. Jaren Cash, Bellaire

5. Brody Lollathin, River

6.Joel Moore, Paden City

7. Caleb Murray, Linsly

8. Gavin Postlethwait, Magnolia

9. Michael Toepfer, Wheeling Central

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