Brock Netter, Staff Writer
To really understand just how special this past basketball season was, you’d have to look back on every career-defining moment, every game-winning shot, and every net that was cut down in jubilation.
Southern Ohio Sports Authority was right there every step of the way, covering individual milestones, improbable feats and wins that changed history.
After a fun-filled year, take a look at our All-Area Team, which consists of 25 area players who were at their best throughout the winter season.
Tre Beard | Chillicothe | Guard | Senior
Chillicothe had an interior presence with Brandon Noel, but the ability to play inside-out with Beard’s shooting from distance made the Cavaliers that much more dangerous. Beard’s ability to stay calm in moments of chaos against top-tier competition helped pace the Cavaliers to a 19-5 season that included FAC and sectional championships. He finished as the team’s third-leading scorer with 12 points per game and earned first-team FAC, second-team all-district and honorable mention All-Ohio honors.
Logan Bennett | Adena | Forward | Junior
Adena has something special brewing in Frankfort, and the elevation in Bennett’s game is a huge reason why. Through a mountain of adversity this season, the Warriors relied heavily on their star 6-foot-4 junior to help them stay the course. He responded in spectacular fashion and led the Warriors to a 16-win season and another Division III sectional title. Bennett finished with 16.5 points, second-best in the SVC, and 6.8 rebounds per game. He earned himself first-team SVC and second team all-district honors, alongside special mention All-Ohio recognition.
Brayden Bockway | South Webster | Forward | Senior
The Jeeps had their ups and downs this season, which was to be expected after bidding adieu to a talented senior class. But when the Jeeps found themselves in trouble, they routinely leaned on Bockway to pull them out. He used his 6-foot-5 frame to get to the basket or create his own shot, one that was hard to stop. Despite not finishing with a winning record, it didn’t stop South Webster from capturing a Division IV sectional title with Bockway as the team’s leading scorer at 16 points each night. He was a first-team SOC II and second-team all-district choice.
Weston Browning | Peebles | Guard | Senior
Peebles has a rich basketball tradition, and Browning was just the latest to etch his name into the Indians’ record books. Browning was the Indians’ leading scorer this season at 15.7 points per game. The 1,000 point scorer helped Peebles finish the season at 24-3 and collect sectional and district titles, the program’s second district crown with Browning leading the charge. He was a first-team all-district and a second-team All-Ohio selection.
Titus Burns | Eastern Brown | Forward | Senior
Eastern Brown wasn’t a very hard team to find. The Warriors were always at the top, at the top of the SHAC and at the top of the Division III state polls. Burns led the charge. He was the team’s playmaker and go-to guy when it needed a crucial bucket, and he delivered on every occasion. That resulted in the Warriors finishing the season at 22-2 with a SHAC and Division III sectional title in their back pockets. Burns served as the team’s leading scorer at 12.6 points per game and was rewarded as a first-team all-district selection and special mention All-Ohio honors.
Chris Chandler | Piketon | Forward | Junior
Inside the SVC, there’s always one team that acts as a thorn in everybody else’s side. It was Piketon’s turn to play that role this season and Chandler was right in the middle of the chaos. When the Redstreaks needed a big bucket or a critical rebound, Chandler was the guy. He had no issue using his 6-foot-4 frame to enforce his will. He finished the season as the team’s leading scorer and rebounder with 12.9 points and 6.2 rebounds nightly as Piketon finished 12-12 on the season. He was a first-team SVC and a third-team all-district selection.
Cam Evans | Zane Trace | Guard | Senior
Simply put, there wasn’t a single thing that Evans didn’t do for Zane Trace. From bringing the ball up the court to clutch free throw shooting and everything else in between, he did it all. He was the leader of a senior class that will go down as one of the greatest in school history after winning two straight SVC championships and district titles. Evans averaged more than 21 points per night and finished his career as the all-time leading scorer at Zane Trace with 1,652 points. Along the way, he was named SVC Player of the Year twice, the Division III Southeast District POY, SOSA’s tri-POY and a second team All-Ohioan … which is a snub at best.
Braxton Hammond | Jackson | Forward | Junior
Before the season started, Hammond was a player that Jackson coach Max Morrow said to watch out for because of the improvements he had made in his game during the offseason. Hammond proved his coach to be correct. Being the interior presence for the Ironmen was tough at times, but he made it work and carved out his place, finishing as the team’s second-leading scorer and rebounder with 10.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per night. He finished as a first-team FAC and second-team all-district selection.
Chase Hammond | Oak Hill | Forward | Senior
Hammond was the only member of Oak Hill’s roster that played when the Oaks won a district title in 2018, his sophomore year. As a senior, he took on the Oaks’ go-to scorer’s role and thrived. He led the team to an 18-6 record through a rough and tough SOC II schedule while serving as the team’s leading scorer and rebounder at 20 points and 12 rebounds on a nightly basis. His efforts earned him first-team SOC II and first-team all-district honors, as well as second team All-Ohio recognition.
Drew Hanning | Oak Hill | Guard | Senior
There were some nights where Hammond was either neutralized or simply had an off night. But he was right there to always bounce back, pick up any slack and deliver. Hanning stepped up for the Oaks with a handful of games scoring 20 or more points before finishing the season as the team’s second-leading scorer at 15 points, alongside five rebounds, per night. His efforts earned him a first-team SOC II selection and a spot on the third team all-district list.
Josh Lambert | Unioto | Forward | Senior
Going from 10-13 to 20-4 doesn’t happen without good coaching, tough defense and players accepting their roles. Lambert embodied the last two principles perfectly and took on tough assignments for a defense that ranked tops in the SVC, allowing just 40.7 points on an average night. On the offensive end, he maintained his consistency and averaged 9.2 points alongside four rebounds nightly. His efforts earned him third-team SVC and second-team all-district honors.
Isaac Little | Unioto | Guard | Junior
To make a long story short, Unioto’s turnaround season wouldn’t have been possible without Little. With the ball in his hands, he was determined to make something happen at every point in every game. Little’s hunger for success was the driving force behind Unioto winning a share of the SVC championship this season. He was in the center of that storm. Despite not being 100 percent healthy for a large part of the season, he still finished his junior year averaging 13.5 points per night alongside 3.5 assists, team-highs in both categories. He earned first-team all-SVC and all-district selections while earning special mention All-Ohio honors.
Jayvon Maughmer | Chillicothe | Forward | Senior
Maughmer had all the elements needed to be a star, packed with a smooth mid-range game that made Chillicothe arguably the top team in Southern Ohio. The former FAC Player of the Year took his game to another level and showed more consistency during the Cavaliers’ 24 schedule. Ultimately, he averaged just under 17 points and eight rebounds nightly, which earned him first-team FAC, first-team all-district and special mention All-Ohio honors in Division I.
Nick Nesser | Zane Trace | Forward | Senior
In June of last year, Nesser wasn’t sure if he was even going to have a senior season after tearing his ACL during a summer league game. However, the big man’s determination was greater than his injury and he didn’t miss a single game. He also saved his most impressive performances for district action, including a 20-point, eight-rebound night in the teams’ district championship victory over Ironton. Nesser finished the season averaging 13.3 points and 6.6 rebounds, which earned him first-team SVC and second-team all-district honors, as well as a special mention All-Ohio nod.
Brandon Noel | Chillicothe | Center | Senior
On most nights, Noel was a complete mismatch simply because of the fact that he stands at 6-foot-8. But once you saw the way he plays coinciding with the skill he possesses, it was pretty much game over. It wasn’t a shock to see him finish with a double-double as he was the leading scorer and rebounder for the 19-5 Cavaliers. He was named the Division I Southeast District POY and was a first team All-Ohio selection after helping Chillicothe win a sectional title. His talents earned him a scholarship to continue his career at Division I Wright State University.
Zach Roach | Ironton St. Joe | Guard | Senior
Someone had to challenge New Boston for the SOC I title and make things harder than they needed to be. Enter Roach and his Flyers. Roach was calm under pressure, came up huge in big spots and helped push his Flyers to heights unseen for a period of time. Behind him as the team’s leading scorer at 16.9 points per game, ISJ finished 17-7 with a Division IV sectional championship and made a district final appearance. Roach earned first-team SOC I, first-team all-district and special mention All-Ohio honors.
Trey Robertson | Waverly | Guard | Sophomore
Waverly’s opponents already knew what Robertson brought to the table each night. But the strides he took in between his freshman and sophomore years was something very few saw coming. He had his arrival moment at Wheelersburg, a rivalry game, by dropping 36 points early in the year. From there, he never looked back. He finished as Waverly’s leading scorer at 21.5 points per night while guiding the Tigers to a 19-6 mark and a Division II sectional title. He was named the SOC II POY, SOSA’s tri-POY, and earned first-team all-district and third-team All-Ohio honors. Remember, he’s just a sophomore. Imagine what he’ll do as he grows even more.
Hunter Ruckel | Peebles | Forward | Senior
Ruckel was a spark plug and had no fear of putting the ball up if he was open. His fearlessness, along with his ability to get to the bucket and finish, was a major part of Peebles’ back-to-back regional appearances. He was the team’s second leading scorer for the 24-3 Indians, a record that included a win over New Boston. Ruckel was named first-team all-district and special mention All-Ohio inside of Division IV.
Kyle Sexton | New Boston | Forward | Junior
Smooth. Relentless. Gritty. Determined. All of those adjectives, and many more, describe Sexton’s game, and his play on the court backs it up. He was a double-double, sometimes even a triple-double, machine as he led New Boston in scoring and rebounding. Behind their leader, the Tigers finished as the SOC I outright champions for the first time since 1971. He was named the SOC I POY, the Division IV Southeast District POY, SOSA’s tri-POY and was a first-team All-Ohio selection. Division IV still has one year left to deal with Sexton and a Tigers team that brings back five of its top seven players. Opponents have been warned.
Gage Sampson | Green | Guard | Senior
The Bobcats had a little Jekyll and Hyde factor, which made them a tough team to figure out at times. They played tough against New Boston and split with Ironton St. Joe, yet also suffered some tough losses. But through it all, Sampson was the guy they relied on the most. Sampson was the team’s leading scorer and earned his 1,000th career point this winter. He was named first-team SOC I, first-team all-district in Division IV and received special mention All-Ohio honors.
Colby Swain | Zane Trace | Guard | Senior
Despite Cam Evans and Nick Nesser corralling the majority of the headlines this season, Swain’s role at ZT was just as critical. He was a defensive stopper, taking on the toughest assignments each night and acted as the ultimate glue guy. But he could also score when needed, like his 22-point outburst against Vinton County. He was the team’s leader in assists at 4.2 per game for the highest scoring offense in the SVC. He earned third-team SVC and second team all-district honors.
J.J. Truitt | Wheelersburg | Forward | Junior
Wheelersburg was a bit of a mystery coming into the season after losing multiple key pieces, namely Tanner Holden, from a team that went to a regional final in 2018-19. However, what people forget is that Truitt was a huge part of that tournament run as well. This winter, Truitt established himself as the go-to guy when the Pirates needed a bucket the most. Behind Truitt, the Pirates finished 22-3 with SOC II and Division III sectional titles under their belts. Truitt finished as the team’s leading scorer while earning first-team SOC II, first-team all-district and special mention All-Ohio honors.
Tanner Voiers | New Boston | Guard | Junior
New Boston was already full of firepower following its run to a regional final in 2018-19. The addition of Voiers simply made the Tigers a Division IV juggernaut. He took pressure off of teammate Kyle Sexton, and helped form one of the most formidable 1-2 punches in Southern Ohio. That, in turn, helped the Tigers finish a school-best 23-2 on the season and win their first outright SOC I title since 1971. Voiers averaged 14.5 points per game while collecting first-team SOC I honors, first team all-district recognition and received special mention All-Ohio honors.
Elijah Vogelsong | Minford | Guard | Junior
While he may be known for his dominance on the baseball diamond or his leadership on the gridiron, Vogelsong was just as solid on the hardwood floor. He led a Minford team that was one of the toughest and grittiest in the SOC II, which was why he was tabbed at the SOC II tri-Defensive Player of the Year, alongside Wheelersburg’s Carter McCorkle and Oak Hill’s Noah Donley. But Vogelsong was also Minford’s leading scorer and had a knack for getting buckets. He was named first-team SOC II and second-team all-district in Division III.
Caleb Wallis | Jackson | Guard | Senior
He may only be 5-foot-7, but don’t let that fool you … Wallis is a walking bucket. After helping the Ironmen reach a district final in the 2018-19 season, Wallis was asked to take on a much bigger role during his senior year. He responded by striking fear into opposing teams’ hearts each night and showed no remorse on the court for doing so. He led the area on the boys’ side in scoring with 23.5 points each night (1,067 for his career) while adding 5.1 assists. Those numbers paced Jackson to its best season in school history as it finished 20-4. Wallis was the FAC POY, the Division II Southeast District POY and was a first-team All-Ohio selection.
Honorable Mention Selections
Preston Sykes, Adena; Seth Beeler, Huntington; Bryce Newland, Paint Valley; Reece Wheeler, Unioto; Hunter Cochenour, Eastern; Trenton Zimmerman, Minford; Matthew Miller, Wheelersburg; Bryson Simmons, Fairfield; Colton Vaughn, Eastern Brown; Jayden Hesler, North Adams; Zane Kingsolver, West Union; Jack Leith, Symmes Valley; Ryan Scott, Hillsboro; Bryson Badgley, McClain; Logan Rodgers, Miami Trace