Ironton's Carter wins player of year honor
IRONTON -- Ironton High School's Zac Carter was chosen as the Ohio National Guard/JJ Huddle Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
This is the first year for the Ohio high school basketball awards that honor the top player and team for boys and girls. The awards, sponsored by the Ohio National Guard and JJHuddle, are a culmination of a three-week long postseason campaign, which featured 10 weekly winners. More than 200,000 votes were cast in all categories.
Carter led the top player voting with 40,365 votes. Doug Rasch of Bellbrook was second with 15,559 and Andrew Benontendi of Cincinnati Maderia was third with 12,824.
Carter, a first-team All-Ohio Division III pick, helped Ironton advance to the Ohio State Tournament for the third time in school history. Ottawa-Glandorf beat the Fighting Tigers, 61-60 in overtime, in the semifinals last Thursday at Ohio State's Value City Arena in Columbus.
The Titans went on to win the state title.
During the regular season, the senior point guard became the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,598 points after scoring 37 in an 84-56 win over Spring Valley. Dennis Gagai held the record at 1,596. Carter averaged 24 points, five rebounds, four assists and 3.2 steals per game.
Ohio Division II state champion Columbus Bishop Watterson won the Boys Team of the Year honor. The Eagles got 7,742 votes. Cincinnati McNicholas was second with 3,239 and New Madison Tri-Village third with 1,294. Bishop Watterson (28-1) beat Kettering Archbishop Alter in the state semifinals and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in the championship game to take home the school's first state crown.
Orrville's Hannah Plybon is the girls player of the year. The senior guard and Akron recruit got 11,693 votes and runner-up Lyndsay Mayle of Geneva received 11,693. Kettering Fairmont's Kathryn Westbeld was third with 10,097. Plybon is the school's and Wayne County's all-time leading scorer with 2,107 points. She's a three-team first-team All-Ohio Division III pick. She helped Orrville reach the Ohio Girls State Tournament in Division III where eventual state champion Anna beat the Red Riders in the semifinals.
Kettering Fairmont (27-1) is the recipient of the girls team award. The Firebirds got 8,251 votes to 7,231 for Bellbrook and 6,161 for Eaton. They captured the Ohio Division I state crown with wins over Toledo Notre Dame (semifinals) and Twinsburg (championship game).
All winners received their awards during ceremonies at their respective schools.