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 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.
Monday, we released our Larry Jordan Regional. Today, we’ve got 16 more seeded teams in what we’re dubbing the “Dale Haynes Regional.”
NOTE: Photos in this article have been generously provided or found via Facebook.
Dale Haynes Regional
No. 1 Unioto ‘14-15 (26-1) vs. No. 16 Paint Valley ‘63-64 (14-5)
- As just the second SVC team to ever finish the regular season undefeated, the 2014-15 Unioto Shermans were utterly dominant along the way. The Shermans had a single game decided by 10 points or less in their first 26 games and held a late lead before faltering in the Sweet 16 against Walnut Ridge. Matt Hoops’ Tanks were led by two-time SVC Player of the Year Nick Corcoran (15.1 points per game), but were filled to the brim with depth and talent … Nick Overly (14.3 points), Cole Cottrill (10.4 points), Erique Hosley (9.4 points), and super-sub Alek Adkins (8.2 points) off the bench. Oh, and Kyle Strange, Logan Swackhammer, and Isaac Wheeler all scored in double figures at times throughout the season. The Shermans finished fourth in the Division II AP Poll and ran away with a Division II district championship as well.
- One of two Paint Valley teams to ever win the SVC, the 1963-64 Bearcats made quick work of their league opponents for a 4-0 mark. Oral Crabtree’s black and yellow attack consistently put up major points. They scored a season high of 105 and averaged 75.5 points per game. Led by Don Crooks, Mike Everhart, 6-foot-6 Mike Haas, Bill Jones, and the Stephens twins (Harold and Gerald), the Bearcats could beat you inside or out.
No. 8. Zane Trace ‘86-87 (20-2) vs. No. 9 Huntington ‘06-07 (17-5)
- After ZT’s Mark Pairan missed his junior year with an injury, he made sure to make the most of his senior season, winning SVC Player of the Year and leading his Pioneers to an SVC championship. Gary Kellough had a team filled with seniors, led by Pairan (17.7 points), Bill Search (14.3 points), and point guard Mike Arledge (5.5 assists). Jamie Sturgill, Todd O’Dell, and Troy Dunkle also gave great minutes for the champions. The Pioneers dropped their season opener to Huntington and then reeled off 20 consecutive wins before falling in the sectional finals. The SVC featured three schools who would win 11-plus league games.
- With only one senior, Cory Vickers, and a team full of underclassmen, it took the 2006-07 Huntsmen a while to get going. But, once they did, they got on a furious roll that took them to a district championship game. Winners of 14 of their final 16 outings, the Huntsmen made it known that they would be the favorites in 2007-08. Behind SVC Player of the Year Josh Kellough (18.8 points) and twin brother Justin Kellough, Rick Uhrig’s squad could beat you in many ways. With Vickers, Drew Trusty, Corey Cottrill, and the lockdown defense of Zach Riley, these Huntsmen were way more than a one or two-man show.
No. 5 Logan Elm ‘62-63 (17-5) vs. No. 12 Paint Valley ‘14-15 (16-9)
- The very first SVC Championship belonged to the Logan Elm Braves, coached by Keith Merrin. Playing in the Central District, the Braves were able to win a district title behind a bevy of tall and talented ballplayers. SVC Player of the Year Bob Parker led the way for the Braves, but was backed up by the next season’s Player of the Year in Gary Hardman, as well as big Danny Hicks, who scored 22 points and had 11 rebounds in their district championship win. There haven’t been a lot of chances for it, but this version of the Braves is the only SVC school to win a district title in the Central District.
- Mason McCloy, Clay Stratton, Anthony McFadden, and Dylan Swingle were all featured on the 2014-15 Paint Valley Bearcats roster. All four players would score over 1,000 career points, with Swingle being Ross County’s all-time leading scorer. McCloy (17.2 points, 11.2 rebounds) and Stratton (16.8 points) were seniors for Dave Shoemaker, while McFadden (13.0 points) ran the show. Swingle was a freshman, but was able to make a major impact for the Bearcats as they reached a district championship game, where they fell to an undefeated Trimble ballclub.
No. 4 Zane Trace ‘18-19 (19-5) vs. No. 13 Huntington ‘04-05 (16-5)
- The 2018-19 version of the Zane Trace Pioneers was thoroughly dominant throughout the SVC season, and into the regional tournament for the first time since 1970. Gary Kellough was able to get his team in tip-top shape to deal with a limited bench. SVC Player of the Year Cam Evans (25.2 points) led a group of outstanding basketball players who may not have wowed you each trip down the floor, but the next thing you know, they would be up 15. Nick Nesser (12.5 points), point guard Colby Swain, Triton Davidson, Luke Johnson, and senior Chad Ison did the playing for the Pioneers, with Ison being the only non-junior in the group. After being pushed in the sectionals by an athletic Hillsboro team, the Pioneers coasted to a district championship. The Pioneers also defeated a very good Chillicothe team early on in the season.
- It took Huntington over 40 years to win their first SVC championship, but these Huntsmen made sure that it was all on their own. Behind SVC Player of the Year Jeremiah Oates (16.2 points, 9.9 rebounds) and juniors Derek Oyer and Neil Depugh, the Huntsmen were able to win the SVC by a game over a very strong Piketon squad. Freshman point guard Josh Kellough ran the show along with senior Jacob Carroll, plus senior Drew Fultz gave the green and white a unique attack once they were past their top three players. An early loss in the tournament should not deter one from seeing how good this team really was.
No. 6 Southeastern ‘98-99 (20-5) vs. No. 11 Westfall ‘08-09 (18-6)
- After finishing 20-4 in 1997-98, SE coach Dan Easterday received a bit of a gift in 6-foot-11 Kevin Netter before the ‘98-99 season. Netter (19.3 points, 8.0 rebounds) was able to fill the massive void left by John Danicki’s graduation and the Panthers were able to repeat their success from the previous season. Besides Netter, the Panthers also had a trio of outstanding seniors in Tyler Barbee (14.9 points, Wes Wood (10.6 points, 7.7 rebounds), and point guard Greg Schrader (5.9 assists). Nathan Cash and Matt Castle also provided much-needed depth for the district champion Panthers.
- With a team full of seniors, the 2008-09 Westfall Mustangs made a push to the top of the SVC. Travis McAvene had one team and he made the most of it, sharing the SVC title with Piketon. Behind point guard Bryant Gibson (13.9 points, 6 assists), the Mustangs forced the pace on you and could dominate teams with their relentless defense. Tyler Kristch (12.4 points, 9.4 rebounds) came on strong to give the Mustangs an inside-outside presence, while Tyler Cobb and the Burleson Twins (Tyler and Travis) brought versatility all over the floor. The Mustangs would reach the district finals, where they would fall to their SVC co-champion Piketon.
No. 3 Piketon ‘91-92 (20-4) vs. No. 14 Southeastern ‘06-07 (16-5)
- Coming off of a 9-12 season in ‘90-91, the Piketon Redstreaks knew that they would be better in ‘91-92. But when Eric Caudill arrived at Piketon, that’s when they knew that they would be special. Phil Howard’s Redstreaks raced out in front of one of the strongest league seasons in SVC history, winning the league by two games over Huntington. Caudill (26.8 points, 7.6 assists, 6.8 rebounds) was otherworldly, but teammates like Jason Lamerson, Jeremy Tackett, Todd Burkitt, Jason Dunham, and Steve Ross made the Redstreak machine march on to the regionals for the first time in school history. After winning a tight game against Southeastern in the sectional, the ‘Streaks won with relative ease over good teams in Minford and Belpre in the district tournament before falling to Wheelersburg in the Sweet 16.
- Larry Jordan’s final SVC championship team would be somewhat of a surprise champion. The 2006-07 Panthers featured four senior starters and an experienced junior lead guard in Kyle Prater. Matt Skaggs, Cory Kellough, and Zach Welch were expected to give positive outputs, but big Tim Pettit appeared to come out of nowhere to be one of the elite players in the league. With Pettit and Skaggs on the inside, the Panthers often dominated the glass and had sharpshooters from the outside with Kellough and Prater. Kenny Corcoran gave them versatility off of the bench on both ends of the floor. The Panthers would advance to district play after winning their sectional.
No. 7 Adena ‘74-75 (16-7) vs. No. 10 Westfall ‘80-81 (19-4)
- Starting three underclassmen, it appeared that the big season for Adena would be in 1975-76, but for Ron Hall and his band of Warriors, the big season started in the postseason of ‘74-75. After a 12-6 regular season, the Warriors won four games to earn the first district championship in school history. Seniors Mike Beverly and Barry Zurmehly both averaged over eight points per game and provided excellent leadership, while juniors Clark Gilmore (15.2 points) and Dave Givens (12.8 points) provided the scoring spark. Gilmore, especially, went off when it came tournament time, raising his average almost two points per game in that time frame. Sophomores Tim Ragland and Rick Hill gave the Warriors excellent minutes throughout the season as well. The Warriors left no doubt in winning their district title as they dominated Ironton St. Joe by a 68-43 final.
- Behind a talented and experienced lineup, the 1980-81 Westfall Mustangs won their first SVC title and advanced to the district finals for the first time in 12 seasons. Tom Hamman managed a successful run for the Mustangs behind SVC Player of the Year Jerry Mowery (21 points) and Dan Curry (19 points). Guard Scott Galloway, along with Richard Gray, Brad Rivers and Brett Rivers gave the Mustangs the necessary depth to make a run in the Central District. In the Mustangs’ tournament win over Grandview Heights, Mowery set a school record with 10 assists, while also notching 28 points. Curry posted a 16-point, 16-rebound night in the district-semi win over Marion Pleasant.
No. 2 Southeastern ‘76-77 (23-2) vs. No. 15 Westfall ‘68-69 (16-5)
- The 1976-77 Southeastern Panthers became the third team in school history to reach the Final Four as they rolled through the SVC and the entire regional on their way to St. John Arena. Larry Jordan’s crew started four seniors and a sophomore and was built to make a deep tournament run. Seniors Coy Prater (16.4 points), Jeff Schuler (15.6 points), Mark Carroll, and Doug Estep (14 points per game in tournament), along with sophomore Sam Eldridge (8.0 points) got things going for the Panthers, while junior Rick Schrader (the ‘77-78 SVC POY), Toby Kellough, and Dave Duckworth came off the bench. Outside of a loss to Adena, the Panthers were dominant throughout the season. The Panthers closest tournament game on the way to Columbus was their tournament opener against Federal Hocking, a game they won 73-69. The Panthers defeated Strasburg 63-51 to win the regional championship.
- The 1968-69 Mustangs brought a solid mixture of seniors and juniors and made a push to a Central District championship game before falling in a heartbreaker to Licking Valley. Paul Hoskins’ Mustangs shared the SVC with Logan Elm, but got the last laugh when they eliminated the Braves in tournament play. Juniors Greg Bigam (20 points) and Bill Blair (14 points) led the Mustang offense, while they were strongly aided by seniors Tony Lightle (14 points) and long-bomber Gene Carfrey (12 points). Add in Bob Barnes and Ed Cornwell and you have a dangerous group of Mustangs. The Mustangs held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of their district championship loss. Bigam would go on to win the SVC Player of the Year award in ‘69-70.