Ohio high school coach Falknor hits 400 wins

RUSTY MILLER AP Sports Writer Published:

After his 400th career, win Ohio high school basketball coach Lyle Falknor said he's been blessed.

He clinched the milestone win last week with Sandusky St. Mary's 44-35 win over Port Clinton.

"It's a great honor and I'm happy to get there, although it may have taken a lot more time than I hoped," he said. "Winning 400 games means two things to me: I've been coaching a long time and I've been fortunate to have a lot of good athletes and players through the years."

Nearing the end of his 30th boys season, Falknor's record stands at 400-275 overall. SMCC is his fourth coaching stop. He began at Tri-County North (16-28) for two seasons, followed by a stop at Springfield Greenon for three seasons. He went 56-18 at the school with a state-runner up in Class AA during the 1985-86 season.

Falknor then moved on to Bellevue where he finished with a 296-180 record in 21 seasons with seven Northern Ohio League titles (including five straight) and five regional appearances in Division II. Falknor is 32-49 in his fourth season at SMCC.

LET'S HEAR IT FOR HENSON: Orwell Grand Valley's A.J. Henson became Ashtabula County's all-time career scoring leader in boys basketball.

The Mustangs' senior guard has 1,554 points in his career. The previous county mark of 1,454 had stood since the 1987-88 season when Matt Zappitelli of Conneaut set the standard. Henson has a way to go, though, to become Ashtabula County's scoring leader including girls, as four girls remain ahead of him. The county's all-time leading scorer is Diane Davis of Ashtabula, who scored 1,934 points 1979-83.

NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS: Waverly's Jake Kretzer, signed to play at Akron next year, became the leading scorer in school history with a second-quarter foul shot in a 67-49 win over South Webster that gave him 38 points for the game and 1,467 for his career; Cleveland State recruit Gary Akbar scored 26 points to lead Division II No. 1 Dayton Dunbar to an 87-63 victory over Cincinnati North College Hill, Dunbar's 24th consecutive regular-season win; Napoleon's boys led Bowling Green 24-1 after one quarter en route to a 78-49 victory; the Holgate girls shut out Hicksville 12-0 in the first quarter and went on to a 70-21 win; Defiance Tinora's girls led Defiance Ayersville 9-0 after one quarter, were outscored 4-1 in the second quarter and then held the Pilots to two points in the third quarter in a 33-18 win over Ayersville; Ashland's Cooper Moretz scored a career-high 31 points as the Arrows upset Ohio Cardinal Conference-leading Mansfield Senior 74-66; East Liverpool's Marky Thompkins was 15 of 16 from the foul line for a season-high 34 points as the Potters beat Lincoln Park (Pa.) and 6-foot-10 Temple recruit Devontae Watson, 70-68; the Hanoverton United boys snapped a 20-game losing streak as Brett Albright scored a career-high 26 points in a 53-48 win over Columbiana;

Wellsville's girls, shooting 40 percent from the foul line this season, hit 10 of 14 free throws in a 25-point fourth quarter to rally past Salineville Southern, 58-56; Findlay boys coach Jim Rucki achieved his 350th career win when the Trojans topped Toledo Central Catholic 53-44; Vanlue's Zach Garber, a 6-9 junior still mulling his college opportunities, scored 19 points, including the game-winning free throw with 10 seconds left, in a 51-50 win over Leipsic on Friday, then had 28 points and 21 rebounds Saturday in a 70-53 win over Old Fort; Franklin's boys, coming off an 11-10 season, are 16-0 and outscoring their opponents by an average of 30 points per game -- and have won every game by at least 14 points; Mansfield St. Peter's Randa Payne is averaging more than 23 points per game and has twice set the single-game scoring record at the school, topping out at 42 points in a win over New Washington Buckeye Central; Andover Pymatuning Valley's girls made it four consecutive Northeastern Athletic Conference championships with a 54-24 triumph against visiting Vienna Mathews; and Middletown Madison's girls won their third straight outright Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division title with a 63-42 win over Waynesville, giving the Mohawks (18-1) 36 straight league wins.

QUADRUPLE TROUBLE: Arlington's Amelia Recker, one-quarter of the senior quadruplets (3 girls, 1 boy) playing basketball for the Red Devils, set two school records last week. Recker scored 29 points Tuesday and became the school's girls basketball career scoring leader (1,333 points) in leading No. 6-ranked Arlington to a 67-38 victory over No. 2-ranked New Riegel. Two days later, Recker scored a girls single-game record 40 points in Arlington's 63-22 win over Cory-Rawson.

SHE'S NO. 1: Bellevue senior Leslie Raifsnider finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds in a 78-32 win over Norwalk on Feb. 3 while becoming the school's all-time points leader in boys or girls basketball with 1,530 points.

SELECT COMPANY: According to Ohio High School Athletic Association records, Kayla Linkous of New Madison Tri-Village is only the third girl in the state to surpass 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. The senior scored 23 points in Tri-Village's 77-28 victory over Mississinawa Valley to surpass 2,000. Earlier this season, she hit 1,000 career rebounds for the Patriots (17-1).

IF I WERE A CARPENTER: Miami Valley clinched first place in the Metro Buckeye Conference for the second straight year after beating Middletown Christian 57-28. Shelby Carpenter had 16 points -- and 13 steals -- for the Rams (16-2).

RISING TOTAL: Jefferson Area became the first girls program in Ashtabula County to earn 500 victories with a 47-29 win at Brookfield on Saturday. The Falcons are now 500-269 (.650) in its 37-season modern-era history. Coach Rod Holmes had led Jefferson to 85 percent of the 500 wins (425) in his 27 seasons at the helm. Holmes is 432-187 (.698) in 28 seasons, which includes one at Bristol.