John Bruce, Contributor
If you are trying to determine the greatest team to ever play in the Scioto Valley Conference, how would you do it? Would you use recency bias? Would you know that a certain number of years were better than others?
Whatever way that you decide to make your picks on these brackets, one thing that I ask of you is this: use the facts and information provided to you in the coming article and whatever experience you have with these teams to make the best choice.
- Larry Jordan Regional / Larry Jordan Round of 32
- Dale Haynes Regional / Dale Haynes Round of 32
- Ron Shoemaker Regional / Ron Shoemaker Round of 32
- Jeff Reisinger Regional
Earlier this week, we released our Larry Jordan Regional, as well as our Dale Haynes and Ron Shoemaker Regionals. Today, we’ve got 16 more seeded teams in what we’re dubbing the “Jeff Reisinger Regional.”
NOTE: Photos in this article have been generously provided or found via Facebook.
Jeff Reisinger Regional
The Jeff Reisinger Regional is named after one of the greatest players to ever come out of Ross County and all of Southeast Ohio. A 1970 graduate of Zane Trace, Jeff led the Pioneers to back-to-back 26-1 records in his junior and senior years. As a junior, Reisinger was first-team All-Ohio and averaged 22.5 points per game. As a senior, he was the Class A State Player of the Year when he averaged 23 points and 18 rebounds per game and led the Pioneers to the Final Four. In his career, Reisinger scored 1,646 career points and gathered 1,261 rebounds, which is good for fifth all-time in the state of Ohio. Jeff is also a member of the Zane Trace Athletic Hall of Fame.
Following high school, Jeff enrolled in junior college and after becoming a JuCo All-American, he was one of the most sought out junior college players in the country. Clemson would win the services of Reisinger, where he would be a two-year starter and captain as a senior in ‘73-74. At Clemson, Jeff averaged 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game and would play with future long-time NBA player Tree Rollins.
Throughout the years, Reisinger has passed down his knowledge of basketball in the Chillicothe area with his annual Christian Basketball Camps for children.
No. 1 Piketon ‘08-09 (24-3) vs. No. 8 Unioto ‘94-95 (20-3)
- The most recent regional champion out of the SVC is the ‘08-09 Piketon Redstreaks. Jeff Lisath’s balanced team split the SVC title with Westfall, but also swept the Mustangs in all three meetings, including a 78-71 district championship victory. SVC Player of the Year Cody Smith (19 points, 55 percent from the field) and fellow senior Jordan Brabson (18.7 points) led the Redstreaks’ explosive offense. Sophomore Evan Legg (12.6 points, 5.9 assists) ran the show while Keenan Brush and Caleb Southworth played outstanding interior defense and controlled the boards throughout the year. Jared Vulgamore, Kenny Helton, and Jamie Helton were key contributors off the bench, with Vulgamore made several key plays in the regional championship win over Grandview Heights. Brabson (24.5 points) and Smith (22.8 points) were utterly dominant in the team’s four wins at The Convo, including combining for 53 in the regional championship. Lisath’s ‘Streaks made a furious comeback to win the regional championship, erasing a late 10-point deficit to force overtime. A truly great team that came out of one of the better overall leagues since the turn of the century.
FIRST ROUND: defeated No. 16 Zane Trace ‘96-97 (73% of the vote)
- With an inside presence like SVC Player of the Year Jason Cruse (21 points, 15.1 rebounds), it’s easy to see why the ‘94-95 Unioto Shermans finished as SVC champions and district runner-up. But, if you doubled down on Cruse, junior Mike Fout (20.3 points) would light it up from deep. In the Tanks’ 82-63 district semifinal win over North Adams, Ron Lovely’s Shermans drilled 13 three-pointers. Fout knocked down seven 3’s of his own, point guard Shayne Combs and Chad Ward each hit two, while Matt Hoops and Kyle Hester hit one each. Teams were unable to key on Cruse and Fout, because Hoops, Combs, Ward, and Matt Park could light opponents up, with all four scoring 15-plus points in a game. Cruse’s dominance on the boards also opened up deep passes to start fast breaks multiple times in each outing. Even with falling in the district championship game to Minford, the Shermans were still able to win their second consecutive league title and clinch a sixth straight trip to The Convo for the district tournament.
FIRST ROUND: defeated No. 9 Adena ‘18-19 (61% of the vote)
No. 4 Southeastern ‘02-03 (21-3) vs. No. 5 Unioto ‘15-16 (23-2)
- Perhaps you’d think that a team built around a 6-foot-11 senior center would be one dimensional, but the ‘02-03 Southeastern Panthers were far from it. Sure, two-time SVC Player of the Year Chris Skaggs (21.3 points, 13.1 rebounds) was the focal point, but with seniors like Trustan Detty (15.7 points, 6 assists) and defensive stopper Ronnie Detillion, the Panthers could hurt you in a variety of ways. Juniors Tony Young (8.9 rebounds) and Drew Prater, along with sophomore Jason Day and senior guard Jeremy Swanson, could each impact the game in positive ways for Larry Jordan’s Panthers as well. The Panthers dominated their way through the SVC for a second straight year and also through district play, including a 69-42 win over a very good Zane Trace team in the district championship. In that game, Skaggs shot 16-of-20 from the field and finished with a game high 34 points. The Panthers were defeated for the second straight year in the Sweet 16 by Garaway, who would end up as state runner-up.
FIRST ROUND: defeated No. 13 East Clinton ‘72-73 (87% of the vote)
- Perhaps the greatest “what if” in SVC history occurred with the ‘15-16 Unioto Shermans. Matt Hoops’ Tanks were in the midst of a dominant winning streak, led by senior Cole Cottrill. Cottrill was dynamic in all phases of the game, but would be injured in January, which severely altered the Shermans’ plans. The winning streak would continue and reach 55 consecutive regular season wins before it fell in a three-point loss at Chillicothe. A major reason for the streak continuing was the interior play of seniors Erique Hosley (11.1 points, 9.6 rebounds) and Isaac Wheeler (11.7 points, 6.9 rebounds). The sophomore backcourt of Logan Swackhammer (9.2 points, 4.8 assists) and Brandon Kennedy (10.8 points, 47 percent from 3) could beat you in a variety of ways if the defense packed it in. Sophomore Gabe Fisher stepped up in Cottrill’s absence and did so with unreal athleticism and effort. Sophomore Peyton Hill provided frontcourt depth and rebounding. Juniors Casey White, Clay Edler and Gavin Ogan, along with senior Sawyer Lovely, gave the Shermans outstanding depth at all three levels. The Shermans were able to avenge their single regular season loss by defeating Chillicothe in the sectional championship, before falling to Vinton County at the district level.
FIRST ROUND: defeated No. 12 Adena ‘05-06 (64% of the vote)
No. 3 Southeastern ‘01-02 (22-2) vs. No. 11 Southeastern ‘87-88 (16-6)
- For the 13th time overall and third time while securing a gold ball, the ‘01-02 Southeastern Panthers were kings of the SVC. Larry Jordan, in his second year back after a four year hiatus, led his Panthers to the school’s 11th district title and did so in dominant fashion. Junior Chris Skaggs (18.3 points, 13.9 rebounds) would win his first SVC Player of the Year, while classmate Trustan Detty (16.7 points) was an outstanding outside threat. Winning by an average of 27 (!!) points a game during the regular season, the Panthers more than held up to that in their run to the Sweet 16, winning each of their three tournament games by over 22 points. Senior point guard Brian Netter did a little bit of everything to make the Panthers go. Netter averaged 8.1 points, 7.9 assists, and 3.8 steals per game, with the assists and steals leading the SVC. Fellow seniors Dave McGarvey and Chris Netral, along with Ronnie Detillion and Tony Young gave the Panthers outstanding depth inside and outside shooting.
FIRST ROUND: defeated No. 14 Unioto ‘19-20 (75% of the vote)
- Behind a massive senior season from SVC Player of the Year Mike Strausbaugh (22.2 points) and a pair of super sophomores, Larry Jordan’s ‘87-88 Southeastern Panthers returned to the top of the SVC after a two-year absence. Until that point, the two-year absence from the number one spot in the league was the longest break for the Panthers since they first joined the SVC. Sophomores Mike Adams (10.5 points, 7.7 rebounds) and Aaron Skeens (10.5 points, 3.7 assists) would show flashes of brilliance in the early goings of their careers. Sophomore classmate Mike Jordan, Bryan Barnes and Chad Mitten gave Jordan solid defenders who could also score the basketball. Strausbaugh was impressive throughout the season, but was most impressive with a 40-point barrage against Columbus Wehrle, who won the state championship and finished in the USA Today Top 25 nationally. Wehrle was led by future Buckeye standout Lawrence Funderburke, who had 30 in the 94-75 Wehrle win.
FIRST ROUND: defeated No. 6 Unioto ‘17-18 (64% of the vote)
No. 2 Zane Trace ‘19-20 (22-4) vs. No. 7 Southeastern ‘97-98 (20-4)
- Returning all five starters from a district championship and Gold Ball winning team meant expectations would be high for the ‘19-20 Zane Trace Pioneers. For Gary Kellough and the Pioneers, those expectations would be met by repeating as district champions and sharing the SVC crown with Unioto. Cam Evans (21.6 points) would repeat as SVC Player of the Year, becoming only the ninth player to do so in SVC history. Evans would also finish his career as Zane Trace’s all-time leading scorer and would be named All-Ohio twice. Fellow seniors Nick Nesser (13.3 points), Colby Swain, Triton Davidson and Luke Johnson continued their excellence from the previous season. Freshman Nalin Robinson and senior Bryce Johnson gave depth for the Pioneers. Nesser and Davidson both had preseason surgery, which slowed their starts to their years, but ultimately paid off with their health down the stretch. The Pioneers defeated Adena 51-48 at The Convo and then a strong Ironton team in the district championship game.
FIRST ROUND: defeated No. 15 Huntington ‘86-87 (66% of the vote)
- Following a disastrous ‘96-97 season, where they finished 5-18 and their new coach quit late in the season, the ‘97-98 Southeastern Panthers played like they had something to prove. Long time assistant Dan Easterday took over and immediately got the ship righted. Behind a standout performance from senior John Danicki (18.0 points, 10.3 rebounds), the Panthers went from underachievers to being right where Southeastern basketball was used to being, SVC champions and in the Sweet 16. It was not just Danicki who was the reason for the turnaround, as juniors Tyler Barbee (15.0 points), Wes Wood (11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds), Matt Castle and point guard Greg Schrader (6.9 assists) were extremely vital in the Panthers’ successes. Over the Panthers’ romp to the Sweet 16, Danicki averaged 24 points per game, including 29 in a 70-49 district championship win over North Adams.