OVAC All-Star hoops game rosters are set
BELLAIRE — Though many prep basketball players are still competing for their respective teams, 61 seniors know they’ll have at least one more game in their high school jersey.
OVAC All-Star Game Director J.R. Battista released the rosters for the annual game, which is slated for April 7 at Ohio University Eastern’s Health and Physical Education Center. The girls game will tip at 3 p.m. and the boys begin approximately 20 minutes after the girls game concludes.
Along with the games, the players — and their parents — will be recognized at a luncheon at Undo’s West in St. Clairsville. Numerous special awards will be presented during the course of the day as well.
Here’s a look at the teams:
There is an odd number of girls because the voting, which is done by the conference-member coaches, resulted in a tie in the top 15 for the Ohio girls, so the OVAC elected to include all 16 of those players.
The Bellaire Lady Reds, who claimed the OVAC Class 3A title, lead all schools on the Ohio side of the river with three representatives. Included are Maci Crozier, Natalie Stoner and Michaela Flaherty.
Along with those three players, Bellaire head coach John Farrier has been named the head coach.
Buckeye Local is the only other school in Ohio to have multiple selections. Emily Holzopfel, who scored her 2,000th point in the sectional, will be joined by Alaire Destifanes.
St. John Central’s final representative in the girls’ game will be Kaylin Nixon. The all-Ohioan will play under head coach Robert “Bubba” Kapral one more time as he’ll join Farrier on the Buckeye State bench.
The balance of the Ohio roster includes: Morgan Borich (Fort Frye), Syd Destifanes (Shadyside), Riley Felton (Southern Local), Lauren Flannery (River), Mackenzie Orban (Indian Creek), Hannah Porter (Union Local), Cloe Siddle (Caldwell), Rileigh Simpson (St. Clairsville), Sydney Starr (Harrison Central) and Julia Zatta (Steubenville Central).
The West Virginia side, which is being coached by John Marshall’s Brock Melko and Madonna’s Rodney Bontini, has just one school with multiple representatives. Morgantown garnered two spots with Sydni Clawges and Lexi Hughes garnering a spot.
Each of the coaches will get to coach one of their premier players one more time. Representing the Monarchs will be Shay Straughn, while Andrea Alimario will represent the Blue Dons.
The remainder of the Mountain State roster includes: Hope Bowman (Brooke), Aquera Cabral (Magnolia), Leighton Croft (Trinity), Katherine Henderson (Hundred), Jordyn Hughes (Cameron), Maggie Kovalcik (Oak Glen), Hannah Loy (Paden City), Emily Pavlic (Wheeling Park), Josie Purpura (Linsly), Reagan Sharp (Trinity) and Caitlyn Underwood (Valley).
The Ohio boys squad will be coached by St. Clairsville’s Ryan Clifford and Toronto’s Sean Tucker after both guided their respective teams to the 4A and 2A title games last month.
Each coach will have two of his players on the squad, too. The Red Devils will be represented by Craig Bober and Matt Busby. Meanwhile, the Red Knights’ selections are Nate Karaffa and Trillion West.
Similar to the girls, the final time a St. John Central basketball jersey is worn will come in the OVAC All-Star Game. Matt Fouty was voted into the game to represent the Irish.
The remainder of the Ohio boys roster includes: Mike Allan (Indian Creek), Davis Black (Meadowbrook), Clark Jennings (Caldwell), Zac Jones (Monroe Central), Cal Kildow (Union Local), Deandre Pugh (Martins Ferry), Gabe Roach (East Liverpool), Garrett Scott (Wellsville), Evan Stine (Harrison Central) and Josh Zimmerman (Steubenville).
The West Virginia boys squad, which will be coached by Wheeling Central’s Mel Stephens and Oak Glen’s Jerry Everly, will feature a heavy Morgantown flavor.
Seven of the Mountain state’s players will be making the trip to OUE from Monongalia County.
Those from Morgantown High include Garrett Haines, Nick Malone and Cam Selders. Representing 5A OVAC champion University is Rodney Bucklew and from 1A champion Trinity are Joel Robertson and Daniel Woods.
Stephens, who guided his team to yet another 2A title, will coach Anthony Robbins for the last time, while Everly will have the opportunity to coach Ethan Travis once again.
The remainder of the West Virginia roster includes: Luka Haugh (Weir), Keondre King (Wheeling Park), Travis McCoy (Hundred), Dillon Meintel (Cameron), Reed Reitter (Weir), Matt Saxon (Paden City) and Bryce Yoho (John Marshall).