Prep basketball notebook: Pugh honored for 40 years at Bellbrook

Jim Pugh, a 1979 Bellbrook High School grad, recently was honored for 40 years of service at the school. Pugh’s biggest role has been with the girls basketball team. Thursday’s game at Monroe is his 910th with the program. Nick Falzerano/CONTRIBUTED

Numerous ingredients contribute to an athletic program being able to reach elite levels. Jim Pugh is a big factor in Bellbrook’s girls basketball attaining that status.

A 1979 graduate of BHS, Pugh was recently honored for 40 years of service to the Bellbrook High School Athletic Department. In addition to duties in football, volleyball and lacrosse, Pugh’s biggest role has been in girls basketball where the Golden Eagles’ 774 wins rank 11th in OHSAA history. Bellbrook hasn’t had a losing season in 30 years (1988-89) and its high school and junior high teams are currently a combined 55-6. The Golden Eagles are Division I for the first time.

“Jim has been a huge help to me over the years,” Bellbrook head coach Jason Tincher said. “He takes care of a lot of things for our teams. He keeps the scorebooks on the road and keeps the clock at home games. Most importantly he’s been a great friend.”

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Bellbrook’s 54-36 loss to Valley View on Dec. 14 marked Pugh’s 900th game with the program. Thursday’s tip at Monroe is his No. 910.

“The athletic department and the coaches that I’ve worked with have kept saying they wanted me around if I enjoyed it,” Pugh said. “It’s still fun.”

Pugh got his start tailing his father Bob who kept stats for years and coached the Eagles for two seasons. As a freshman in 1976, Pugh sat in the stands with his dad at Ohio State’s St. John Arena charting stats at the first OHSAA girls basketball state championships. The Eagles finished state runner-up in Class AA (lost 45-44 to Columbus Bishop Hartley).

Pugh has been on staff for Bellbrook’s two return trips to state (2012 and 2018).

The final four games and his lone court appearance as a senior tie for career-highs. Pugh served as the student manager for the boys program in high school.

“(Former boys basketball coach Stan Wenclewicz) dressed Jim on senior night, and he got in,” longtime BHS teacher and coach Steve Berryhill recounted. “Jim went to shoot and some kid blocked it and caught heat for it. Jim got a shot off, but didn’t score.”

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Pugh’s proven points are simply one way to contribute.

“I met Jim when I was playing football and basketball here at Bellbrook and because we didn’t live too far apart I started giving him rides to and from games in high school,” Tincher said. “When I went on to college my parents would pick him up and bring him to most of my football games (at Wilmington). I guess we’ve gone full circle now because for the last 20 years we’ve been hanging out and I’m still giving him rides to and from the gym. Jim’s complete devotion to Bellbrook and the Athletic Department is astounding. He exemplifies what service and selflessness is all about.”

“I’ve been able to devote my life to doing the one thing I’ve really enjoyed and that’s working with children and teenagers,” Pugh said. “As long as I can keep doing it, I will.”

Rare Air: Springboro became just the eighth girls basketball program in state history to achieve 800 wins with its 63-44 decision over host Tecumseh on Dec. 16. The Panthers were 804-241 heading into Wednesday's game against Beavercreek.

The Beavers – and head coach Ed Zink – are closing in on win No. 800 as well. Zink, the only coach in Creek history, is the state’s all-time leader with 794 victories.

Fort Loramie and Tippecanoe also own over 800 wins.

Classic in the Country: Several of the area's top girls basketball teams will be in action over the weekend at Berlin Hiland High School.

Fort Loramie opens the annual CIC event against Loudonville at 9 a.m. Saturday. Tri-Village follows against Margaretta (10:30 a.m.). Fairmont, Wayne and Centerville each play two games. The Firebirds face GlenOak (4;30 p.m. Saturday) and Eastlake North (1:30 p.m. Sunday), while the Warriors face GlenOak (6 p.m. Sunday) and Aurora (1:30 p.m. Monday). The Elks tangle with Gahanna Lincoln (7:30 p.m. Sunday) and Toledo Notre Dame (3 p.m. Monday).

Flyin to the Hoop: Three teams in the MaxPreps Top 25 national rankings will play at Trent Arena during the event's 18th tip. No. 15 Prolific Prep (Napa, CA) plays Friday's nightcap against No. 23 Huntington Prep, while No. 6 Grayson (Loganville, GA) caps Saturday's slate against Wayne.

Individually, eight of the country’s Top 50 prospects, according to, including two of the top seven — No. 3 Jalen Green (Prolific Prep) and No. 7 Makur Maker (Hillcrest Prep) — will play in the showcase.

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