Fairview’s Carrie Zeedyk and Bryan head coach Todd Grosjean were recognized as the best player and coach in the area in the 2022-23 Crescent-News award balloting voted on by coaches from the 30-school coverage area.
It’s the first time winning the award for either recipient with Zeedyk comfortably garnering 152 points and 13 first-place votes to take the award over Bryan’s Reese Grothaus (108 points, seven first-place votes) and Stryker’s Sage Woolace (60 points). She’s the sixth Fairview player to ever win the award and the first to win it since Tori Bergman in 1995-96.
She helped lead Fairview to a 19-5 record back to the Green Meadows Conference mountaintop with a perfect 7-0 GMC record after falling short in a de facto conference championship game against Ayersville the year prior.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I felt like I always put in the work and looked up to the older girls. I’ve always been around basketball studying it and to see some of the best players in the area win this when I was younger, then to win that for myself. I just think that’s a big accomplishment for me and it showcases all the work that I put in,” Zeedyk said of winning the award.
Zeedyk led the Apaches in points per game (15.8) and led the entire Crescent-News area in assists per game (4.3). She was second on the Apaches in rebounds per game (5.6), and steals per game (2.4) while also being eighth in the area in three-point field goal percentage (37.6, 35-of-93) and 11th overall from the field (49.8, 120-of-241).
“Being her coach and her dad and just knowing all the time that she has put in. It just means a lot to see her get rewarded here at the end of her basketball career because she’s not going on to play in college,” said Fairview head coach Russell Zeedyk said of his daughter, who will attend The Ohio State University after graduating high school.
“She’s a competitor and everything’s a competition and she wants to be the best she can be,” he added. “And the part about being her dad is I got to see her do everything in the gym, but I get to see her out in the driveway and she’s just one of those girls that was out in the driveway every day after school.”
After two consecutive seasons making the district tournament, the Apaches failed to get there this year, falling to eventual Division III regional runners-up Ottawa-Glandorf in sectional finals. Still, getting the GMC title back after she won it as a sophomore, and having the season that Fairview did posting 19 wins was still meaningful.
“This season meant a lot because of the chemistry that we had as a team and then also playing for my dad, that’s a special thing,” Carrie Zeedyk said. “This season was just very special because of the extra bond we got from going to practice every day and all the car rides home.”
Fairview also saw Allison Rhodes, the only other senior on the team, garner a first-place vote after she averaged 14.5 points per game and shot an area-leading 65.4% from the field (134-205). Junior Kelly Crites was eighth in the area in scoring (14.1 ppg), seventh in steals per game (3.0), third in assists (3.8 apg), fifth in field-goal percentage (55%, 121-of-220) and second in three-point percentage (42.7%, 38-of-89).
“After all these years of coaching her when she was little and her classmates too, it’s gotta end sometime,” Russell Zeedyk said. “But having it peak at the end, I think that’s just something everybody dreams about. It just worked out well for our team this year, for Carrie and for our other senior Allison (Rhodes). It was good to go out on a high note, winning the GMC and just have a really great season.”
For Todd Grosjean at Bryan, winning the C-N Coach of the Year award came in a landslide with the veteran garnering a whopping 216 points and 20 first-place votes to second-place Tim Davis of Liberty Center’s 88 points and four first-place votes. Ottawa-Glandorf’s Troy Yant was third in the voting with 33 points and one first-place vote.
It is only the second time that a Golden Bears head coach has won the award, the first being Nancy Moser back in 1978-79.
“It’s certainly humbling, especially when you have coaches like Troy Yant at O-G and Tim Davis at Liberty Center and the years that they have had. (Patrick Henry coach) Justin Sonnenberg, Conner Varner at Stryker; there are just quite a few coaches that had great, great seasons this year,” Grosjean said. “It’s a credit to our kids. You don’t do this without them buying into what you are trying to do. Also, I give credit to the staff that we have. Collin Walker, John Minor, Delaney Miley and Nikki Miley were right by my side the whole time.”
Grosjean earned the award after leading Bryan to not only its first district title since 1984 but a fourth straight Northwest Ohio Athletic League championship and the first-ever state final four appearance in program history.
The Golden Bears finished with a 25-3 (7-0 NWOAL) record and downed St Marys in districts, which had knocked them out of the tournament in sectional finals the year prior before defeating Lima Bath, which had handed them one of their two regular season losses.
In regionals, the Bears held on to defeat No. 7 Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary and then Norwalk to garner a Division II regional championship.
In the state final four, the Golden Bears held a 12-point lead over Cincinnati Purcell Marian and Ms. Basketball Dee Alexander, but saw the lead slip away to the eventual Division II state champion Cavaliers.
The run meant a lot for Grosjean, a 23-year head coaching veteran with 16 seasons spent at Bryan, because it wasn’t just a state run for the players and coaches on the team, but an entire community that includes former players who had a hand in building the program.
“I’m going to point back to our alumni that tried to take the program to the next step or next level, advance every year. A lot of the credit goes to them,” Grosjean said. “We had kids like Kennedy Lamberson and Allye Minor that were 1,000-point scorers but never got a chance to win a league title. Then you have our group that lost in the district finals two years ago to Napoleon, who went on to win a state title. That group taught these younger kids who were freshmen at the time, how to practice and how to prepare and how to play.”
The Golden Bears were led by a large junior class and four seniors that included Grothaus, Blayze Langenderfer, Allie Alspaugh and Ella Miller.
Grothaus, the only four-year letter winner on the team, was the leader and as a result, was named team captain. She struggled with knee injuries early in her career but was pivotal in the success of the Golden Bears over the past four years.
She was second in Player of the Year voting after a season in which she led Bryan with 12.5 ppg while also leading the team in assists (3.0 apg, seventh in area) and three-point percentage (37.6%, 67-of-178).
“Obviously, Reese Grothaus is a huge part of this because you suffer two major knee injures, most kids might have stepped aside and said ‘hey, it’s too much work to get back,’ but she came back and was by far the best leader that we’ve ever had here,” lauded Grosjean
The five-person junior class saw Kailee Thiel and Ella Voigt lead the way, each garnering just over 10.5 ppg with Thiel leading the team in rebounds per game (6.1) and Voigt leading the way in field goal percentage (52.8%, 104-of-197) and coming second in the area in free throw percentage (85.6%, 77-of-90).
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