All-Southwest District teams: Area players, coaches earn top honors

Six area girls and boys basketball players and five coaches received top honors on the All-Southwest District high school basketball teams that were released on Friday.

Area girls players of the year were Layne Ferrell of Franklin (Division II), Waynesville’s Rachel Murray (D-III) and Sammi Whiteman of Covington (D-IV).

»» GIRLS HOOP: All-Southwest District teams

»» BOYS HOOP: All-Southwest District teams

They were joined by area boys players of the year Samari Curtis of Xenia (D-I), Trotwood-Madison’s Amari Davis (D-II) and Ethan Conley of Franklin Monroe (D-IV).

Area girls coaches of the year were Andy Holderman of Tippecanoe (D-II), Waynesville’s Tim Gabbard (D-III) and Mark Combs of Legacy Christian (D-IV). Named boys coaches of the year were Joe Staley of Chaminade Julienne (D-II) and Stivers’ Felix Turner (D-III).

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All of the area players of the year are record-setting seniors. Ferrell (20.8 points per game) led Franklin (20-4) into a D-II district final against Tippecanoe (19-5) at Mason on Friday. She signed to play basketball at the University of Akron.

Franklin (11-1) won the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern title and Holderman guided Tipp (14-1) to a Greater Western Ohio Conference American North title.

Murray (19.8) is a four-year starter and the leading scorer for the unbeaten Spartans. Waynesville (23-0) has won three consecutive and outright SWBL Buckeye titles and shared another in those four seasons. The Spartans will play Bethel-Tate in a D-III district final at Springfield at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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Gabbard has coached Waynesville girls basketball for 39 seasons.

Whiteman (24.8) is Covington’s all-time leading career scorer and has signed with Trevecca Nazarene University at Nashville, Tenn.

Combs guided Legacy Christian (22-2) to its best season and a Metro Buckeye Conference title. Legacy will play Franklin Monroe in a D-IV district final at 11 a.m. Saturday at Troy.

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Curtis (34.4) surpassed 2,000 career points as a senior, rewrote most of Xenia’s offensive records and led the GWOC in scoring for the third straight season. He signed with Cincinnati.

Davis, like Curtis a four-year starter, was No. 2 in GWOC scoring (30.1) and has helped the Rams into two D-II state final fours. Trotwood (22-2) was awarded its first Associated Press state poll title following the regular season. Davis signed with Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Conley (27.4) scored a career-high 54 points in a game as a senior. He signed with Ashland.

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Staley is retiring from teaching and coaching after 34 seasons as the Eagles boys coach and numerous league, sectional and district titles. CJ (19-5) won an outright Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North title (9-1).

Turner guided Stivers to a share of the Dayton City League title with Thurgood Marshall. That was Stivers’ first boys City League championship since the 1952-53 season. Stivers will play Waynesville in a D-III sectional final at Butler at 4 p.m. Saturday.

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The Southwest District is one of nine throughout Ohio. Southwest District media voted on coaches’ nominations. First-team selections will be considered for All-Ohio honors, as will Mr. and Ms. Basketball and state coaches of the year. The All-Ohio teams will be released by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association the week of the girls and boys state final fours.

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