The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association, in conjunction with the Ohio High School Athletic Association, announced its all-Ohio girls basketball teams in Divisions I through IV this week, with the D-III and D-IV honorees being announced Tuesday and Division I and II on Wednesday.
The Crescent-News coverage area saw 12 players earn all-state recognition after outstanding seasons on the hardwood.
Leading the way for all area hoopsters was Ottoville senior Kasey Knippen, who was a first-team selection in Division IV after helping guide the 24-3 Lady Green to their third consecutive D-IV state tournament. Knippen, a 14 ppg scorer, and Ottoville will take on Shadyside in the D-IV state semifinals at 3 p.m. on Friday at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.
In Division IV, Pettisville star and BBC Player of the Year Morgan Leppelmeier garnered a third-team nod. Wayne Trace junior Claire Sinn (GMC Player of the Year) and Columbus Grove’s Rylee Sybert were special mention honorees, along with Holgate’s Madilyn Hohenberger and Stryker’s Emma Grime.
In Division III, Ottawa-Glandorf senior Erin Kaufman was a second team all-Ohio recipient. Delta’s Abby Freeman, the NWOAL Player of the Year, was a special mention honoree, joined by Fairview senior Mercedes Wagner. Ottawa-Glandorf’s Ashley Schroeder picked up an honorable mention nod.
Finally in Division II, Napoleon junior guard Shae Pedroza was named to the special mention team after the Wildcats’ run to the Division II regional tournament and 51-42 loss to defending D-II state champion and 2019 regional champ Toledo Rogers. Bryan standout Kennedy Lamberson earned honorable mention status.
Across the state, Player and Coach of the Year awards were announced. In Division I, Canton McKinley senior Kierstan Bell (28.8 ppg), an Ohio State commit was named Player of the Year with Avon Lake’s Dave Zvara earning Coach of the Year accolades.
South Carolina commit and Toledo Rogers star Zia Cooke (22.5 ppg) was the D-II Player of the Year along with New Philadelphia mentor and Coach of the Year Kevin Cornell.
Columbus Africentric senior and future Tennessee Volunteer Jordan Horston (16 ppg) and Waynesville’s Tim Gabbard were the top individuals in Division III while Covington’s Samantha Whiteman (24.8 ppg, Division II Trevecca Nazarene commit) and Xenia Legacy Christian coach Mark Combs were honored in Division IV.
The 2019 Ohio Ms. Basketball winner will be named today. Canton McKinley’s Kierstan Bell is the two-time defending Ms. Basketball winner and could become the first girl and second Ohio player all-time to win the award three times (LeBron James, 2001-03).
Only four other girls have won Ms. Basketball twice: Vonda Ward (Garfield Heights (1990-91), Semeka Randall (Garfield Heights Trinity (1996-97), Michelle Munoz (Mason, 2000-01) and Ameryst Alston (Canton McKinley (2011-12).