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OVAC All-Star Games Playing Today


April 1, 2012
Ogden Newspapers

It's almost time to officially drop the curtain on the 2011-12 prep basketball season.

However, before putting the season to bed, the senior standouts of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference will get one last opportunity to shine.

The annual Samuel A. Mumley OVAC All-Star Classic will hit the court at Ohio University Eastern this afternoon. The girls' game is slated to tip at 3 p.m. and the boys' game is scheduled for approximately 5 p.m.

The Ohio boys have been able to squeeze in five practices leading up to today's game, but according to Steubenville head coach Mike Haney, it's been a battle to get everyone there on the same day.

"Because of the different commitments and spring sports, it's just tough, but we had a few Sunday practices and we had almost everyone there," Haney said. "It's gone pretty well."

Haney, who is in his first time at the helm of the Buckeye State stars, is being assisted by Steubenville Central's Sean Tucker and Conotton Valley's Mike Firebaugh. The trio has devised, what they hope anyway, three equally balanced teams so that each player can get equal minutes.

"We want everyone to play, have a good time and get minutes, but in the end, we also want to win the game," Haney said.

"We've had some guys stand out in practice, and I really think if we limit our turnovers, take care of the ball, we can come out on top, but we realize West Virginia has a fine squad."

The Buckeyes are expected to start Indian Creek's Joe Bowers, Beallsville's Grahamm Dauch and Tyler Spence; Union Local's Kurtis Ogilbee and Big Red's William Houst.

The balance of the Ohio boys' roster includes: Cole Smelley, Bridgeport; Brandt Pieniazek, Steubenville Central; Tyler Fitzpatrick, Barnesville; Derek Feller, Bellaire; Mow Mow Thompson, East Liverpool; Mark Smyth, Edison; Marky Thompkins, East Liverpool; Zach Eddy, Fort Frye; Rylee Rogers, Cambridge; Kyle Larrick, Buckeye Trail.

On the other bench, Linsly's James Wallace, who guided his Cadets to the OVAC Class 2A title in February, has only had two practices with his team.

However, he came away highly impressed with what he's seen.

"I think we're ready to go," Wallace said. "We've got a lot of athletic kids, but we don't have tremendous size. We feel we've got a lot of guys who can score the basketball."

In the two West Virginia practices, Wallace and his staff of Brooke's Dave Reitter and Madonna's George Vargo, have had good attendance and decided that they wanted to keep teammates together.

For instance, Errin Baynes, Vondel Bell and Boo Lathon all played together at Wheeling Park. So, they're going to remain together Sunday. The same can be said for Madonna's trio of Nicklas Battista, Clay Rokisky and Drazen Frankovich.

"We want to try to carry out the chemistry that worked so well for those guys during their respective seasons," Wallace said. "We've had a great time since we've been together, but we've stressed to our guys that we picked them because they're all good players, but we're not just here for fun. We want to win the game. We want to play hard and play fast."

The balance of the West Virginia all-star roster is made up of: Ryan Hughes, Cameron; Nick Breen, Brooke; Justin Wade, John Marshall; Michael Drizake, Weir; D.T. Meeker, Bishop Donahue; Jayson Keller, Magnolia; Harley Mills, Weir; Clay Ueltschy, Valley.

"Even though it's an all-star game, no one wants to lose," said Harrison Central head coach and Ohio staffer Nick Yourkovich. "We've tried to balance our groups as best we could, but in the final 4 or 5 minutes, we're going to try our best to win the game."

The Buckeye State ladies have had only two practices and one of those came Saturday.

Comprising the Ohio girls' team are: Katie Fry, Bellaire; Rosa Young, St. John Central; Tenelle Hoppel, Beaver Local; Kristin Prokopakis, Edison; Alexus Davis, Union Local; Jessica Hunkler, Barnesville; Samantha Schott, Shenandoah; Leeanna Sichina, Buckeye Trail; Samantha Hanson, Fort Frye; Mikyle Tipton, Wellsville; Brooke Meintel, Shadyside; Julie Bilyeu, Beallsville; Kayla Prokopakis, Edison; Brooke Schultz, Harrison Central and Madison Richards, Harrison Central.

West Virginia held its final tuneup on Saturday, as well, and Clay-Battelle head coach David Price has been preparing his club as if he would his regular-season team.

"The first practice we had was full of getting in as much of the game plan as possible," Price said. "The second practice was more about fine tuning and (Saturday) was just organizing and more fine tuning."

Price and his assistants Don Ogden (Madonna) and Scott Wiley (Oak Glen) were expected to settle on a starting lineup.

"We're still moving kids around," Price said. "Their chemistry together is important to me and the other coaches, so I think that decision will be made after (Saturday's) practice."

The West Virginia girls' roster consists of: Cassie Sorge, Wheeling Central; Dani Hayes, Valley; Lindsay Siburt, Cameron; Payden Eckleberry, Oak Glen; Isabella Anile, Madonna; Brianna Robbins, Wheeling Central; Shayna Tedrow, Hundred; Dallas Mullett, Magnolia; Samantha Gaspar, University; Sara Lyons, Madonna; Brianna Nuzum, Morgantown; Alexis Montes, John Marshall; Krista Crawshaw, Wheeling Park; Jenna McAtee, Parkersburg South and Jenna Stephens, John Marshall.


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