Honors and Hoopla

Shots in the Darke

Time to recognize some local high school honorees before we take a look at the upcoming state basketball tournaments, NCAA “March Madness” (start filling out your brackets; how ‘bout those Longwood Lancers?), and the start, if any and whenever, of baseball’s spring training.

The county was represented at the state bowling meet over the weekend by the Versailles boys who finished 5th in D-II competition. Pacing the Tigers were Landon Henry, finishing 17th overall with a 589 series, and Matthew Francis, 22nd with a 574. On the girls side, freshman Danielle Francis rolled a 459, good enough for 55th. Congratulations to these three, teammates, and coaches for a fine season!

Speaking of pins, my wife and I had a great time celebrating our grandson Bennett’s 10th birthday at PINS in the Easton Shopping Center in Columbus Saturday. PINS is a fun place for all ages featuring arcade games, all sorts of yard games played indoors, and duckpins, a modified mini-version of bowling. Needless to say, I still couldn’t break a 100!!

Wrestling enters the state level this coming Friday at the Schottenstein Center on OSU’s campus with three county grapplers taking to the mats. Greenville’s Ben Hartzell qualified in D II, placing fourth at the district meet at 144 pounds this past weekend while Versailles in D-III has two matmen making the trip to Columbus in Carson Bey, a second place finisher at 165, and district champion Taran Tyo at 285. Best of luck to the three of them as they seek spots on the podium!

In high school hoops, the parade of post-season honors started with the naming of All Southwest Ohio selections. For the ladies, GHS junior guard Skylar Fletcher was honorable mention in D-II while in D-III Arcanum senior Hailey Unger was Co-Player of the Year and teammates Taylor Gray and Madelyn Fearon were accorded third team honors with Versailles’ Jenna Dirksen being named honorable mention for the Tigers.

In D-IV, Tri-Village’s Rylee Sagester was Co-Player of the Year and joined on the first team by teammate Morgan Hunt and Bradford’s Austy Miller. Meghan Downing of T-V was a second team pick while the Patriots’ Tori Richards was honorable mention along with Taylee Woodbury of Mississinawa Valley and Skylar Bauman of Franklin-Monroe.

In boys selections Versailles’ Connor Stonebreaker was first team D-III (recognize that last name hoops fans?) with teammates Jaydon Litten and Ben Ruhenkamp garnering second team and honorable mention honors respectively. Also being recognized as honorable mention were the Arcanum Trojans’ Jake Goubeaux and Nick Sharrits while Versailles’ head coach Travis Swank was Co-Coach of the Year, an honor well deserved.

In D-IV, T-Vs’ Layne Sarver was Co-Player of the Year and joined on the first team by Bradford junior Parker Davidson. Patriot junior Wilson Suggs was a second team pick with teammate Josh Scantland a third team selection. Honorable mention choices were Garrett Stammen of Ansonia, Ky Cool of F-M, and Matt Pisano of M-V.
It was a pleasure for Darke County fans to be able to see the talents displayed on the hardwood by these outstanding young players throughout the season. Darke County basketball is definitely among the best played around the state!

The end of the tournament trail arrived in the D-III district final for the Versailles boys in their loss to Georgetown while the Lady Patriots of T-V fell to Cincinnati Country Day in the D-IV regional final, coming up one win shy of making the state tournament which will be held in Dayton at UD Arena beginning Thursday. The T-V boys take on Howard East Knox Tuesday at the Trent Arena in Kettering (last person to leave the Tri-Village district turn out the lights!) in D IV regional action with the winner to meet either defending state champ Botkins or Springfield Catholic Central.

By the way, the team from Cincinnati Country Day which knocked out T-V was really impressive in defeating not only the Lady Patriots, ranked second in the state, but also top ranked Fort Loramie. Here’s a fun fact about CCD, a private school located in the Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill; tuition for high school students is a cool $28,730 yearly (that doesn’t cover the costs of books, supplies, lab fees, or a personal computer but does include lunch!).

Finally get psyched for this week’s NCAA conference tournaments as the top schools jockey for seedings in the Big Dance. Also, what a great retirement ceremony for Duke’s Coach K (don’t expect me to spell Krzyzewski!)! And as for Major League Baseball, I’m starting to become pretty apathetic as to whether the season even begins!! Until next time, stay healthy and active!

Dr. Alex Warner | Correspondent for Darke County Now

Dr. Alex Warner / Correspondent

Alex Warner is a retired Greenville chiropractor as well as a former educator and high school coach. He has over 30 years experience in broadcasting high school sports on both radio and public access television in addition to producing over 50 episodes of the local television series “Our Town”. A man of many interests, he is naturally curious with a “gift of gab”. He currently writes the weekly sports column “Shots in the Darke” and hosts “Talk of the Town” featuring people, places, and events that make Darke County the place we choose to reside.

Previous Lady Patriots fall in Regional Finals

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