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Hoops season full of fun moments

March 19, 2018 GMT

The 2017-18 high school basketball season was one of astonishing achievements.

One of the highlights included Huntington High’s boys advancing to the state tournament for the sixth consecutive season, an astounding accomplishment by coach Ron Hess, his staff and players. One of those Highlanders, senior Mikal Dawson, scored 40 points against South Charleston in February, the top scoring game in our area this year.

Fairland’s girls hit 19 3-pointers in an 86-43 victory over Coal Grove on Jan. 22 on their way to their seventh consecutive 20-win season. The next night, the Dragons boys sank 19 shots from 3-point range in a 91-52 triumph over Ironton.

Fairland turned in the most-impressive quarter of any boys team this season, scoring 37 points in the first period on their way to a 97-50 victory over Gallia Academy on Dec. 19. Huntington St. Joe’s girls topped that Feb. 23 in a 93-29 win over Sherman when the Irish scored 38 points in the opening quarter. The Irish girls also made their remarkable 11th consecutive appearance in the Class A state finals.

Coal Grove’s boys set a school record for wins with 19 and advanced to the regional semifinals in Division IV. Wayne’s girls went a school-best 25-2 and advanced to the Class AA state tournament for the first time in school history. Fairland’s boys extended their Ohio Valley Conference winning streak to a league-record 46 games and finished the season with three 1,000-point scorers (Isaiah Howell, Luke Thomas and Kollin Van Horn) and two players with 500 rebounds (Howell and Van Horn). Van Horn also finished with more than 250 blocked shots.

Boyd County, Fairland and Winfield sent both their boys and girls teams to the Sweet 16 in their respective states.

Gage Hughes broke the Greenup County High School scoring record set by legendary 7-footer Mike Scott, who went on to play at Wake Forest and Kentucky. Hughes’ best sport is baseball. He has signed with the University of Cincinnati. Boyd County’s Savannah Wheeler, a Marshall University commit, led all of Kentucky in 3-point shooting. Wheeler is just a junior and eclipsed the 2,000-point mark this season.

A bunch of players topped the 1,000-point mark. They included, Ashland’s Julia Parker; Cabell Midland’s Faith Craddock; Coal Grove’s

Emily Compliment and Alexis Hall; Fairland’s Emily Chapman, Howell, Thomas and Van Horn; Fairview’s Madison Humphrey; Green’s Tanner Kimbler; Huntington High’s Dawson; Huntington St. Joe’s Paige Shy; Ironton’s Lexi Wise; Ironton St. Joe’s Chase Walters; South Point’s Tayshaun Fox; Symmes Valley’s Jensyn Shepherd; and Wayne’s Ariel Adkins.

Numerous players signed to play college basketball, including Chapman at Cedarville, Hall at North Greenville, Wise at Glenville State and Boyd County’s Gunner Short at Rio Grande.

Trimble’s Howie Caldwell earned his 500th career coaching victory during Chesapeake’s Beast of the Southeast event.

Veteran official Lou Peake performed the admirable job of pulling together basketball officials from throughout West Virginia to work the West Virginia Christian Athletic Tournament in Summersville.

RECRUITING NEWS: Caitlin Peal of Point Pleasant High School signed to play soccer at the University of Charleston. She plans to major in nursing.

Spring Valley defensive back/wide receiver Josh Pennington committed to play at Marietta College. He will major in sports management. His teammate, running back Owen Chafin, received an invitation to Drake University’s spring game and junior day in April. Huntington High tight end Bryce Damous and tackle Max Howell visited Temple University on Saturday. Capital quarterback Kerry Martin, Jr., received an offer from Western Kentucky. That was his seventh offer from a FBS program.

MILLER ALL-AMERICAN: Former Ironton St. Joe girls basketball star Hannah Miller was named a NAIA honorable-mention All-American Wednesday.

Miller, a junior, plays for Shawnee State University and averaged 14.4 points per game. Teammate Madison Ridout, a former Jackson High School star, was named a first-team All-American.

CYSTIC FIBROSIS CLASSIC: Several local high school basketball standouts are scheduled to play in the 17th Annual Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis Basketball Classic March 30 at Parkersburg South’s Rod Oldham Athletic Center.

Area boys on the rosters include Ty Staten of Fairland,and Trace Derenberger of Point Pleasant. Area girls include Emily Chapman and Taylar Wilson of Fairland and Mary Rogoszewski of Hurricane.

The Ohio squads play the West Virginia teams, with the girls game beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the boys at 7:30 p.m.

ROUNDING UP: The Boston Red Sox optioned former Lawrence County High School pitcher Chandler Shepherd to Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Former Boyd County basketball standout Tristan Burgess, a senior at Transylvania University, was named to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference all-sportsmanship team. ... Keep an eye on the Green boys basketball team next season. The Bobcats went 16-8 and made the district finals with only one senior. ... Sciotoville East hired defensive coordinator Matt Miller, a former Wheelersburg standout, as its new head football coach, replacing James Gifford, who left to take the head coaching job at South Point. ... Ravenswood went 1 for 17 from 3-point range and 17 for 17 from the free throw line in a loss to Wheeling Central Saturday in the West Virginia Class A state championship game. ... Rock Hill golfer Logan Reed is one of eight players from Ohio invited to compete in the Scotland Junior Invitational in July. ... Gilmour Academy broke an Ohio high school state tournament girls record by grabbing 19 rebounds in the Division II championship game. ... The four girls basketball state champions in Ohio are, Pickerington Central in Division I, Toledo Rogers in Division II, Columbus Africentric in Division III and Minster in Division IV.

Tim Stephens is a reporter with The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at (304) 526-2759 or tstephens@heralddispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter @sportsturtle11.