Prep Notebook: Carter, Fletcher nice fit for Cavs
Ironton High School boys basketball coach Mark LaFon believes Walsh University got quite a package deal Monday when 5-foot-10 guard Zac Carter and 6-6 forward Trey Fletcher signed to play for the Cavaliers.
Carter and Fletcher have been causing problems for opponents since their days together in youth basketball. As seniors, they helped the Fighting Tigers finish 23-3 last season and reach the semifinals in the Ohio Division III State Tournament where they lost in overtime to Ottawa Glandorf. Their 4-year mark was 77-21 and three regional crowns.
"They were always willing to put the time and effort in," LaFon said. "It wasn't like you had to pull teeth go get them to work. They were never a problem. They grew into a couple of fine young men."
Carter averaged 24.1 points and Fletcher 10.7 points as seniors. Carter, the all-time leading scorer in Ironton history, was All-Ohio first team and Southeast District Player of the Year last season. Fletcher made All-Ohio third team and also went over 1,000 career points. Both competed in post-season all-star games.
"If they do their work that's being asked of them from that coaching staff, I think that they'll find themselves playing time within the first two years if not sooner," Lafon said.
Fletcher's size and versatility at this level is a plus. As for Carter, Walsh coaches said they didn't need to see him (in a campus workout).
Walsh is a private Catholic school located in North Canton, Ohio. The transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II becomes official for the Cavaliers in 2013-14. They had been a long-time NAIA power. The head coach is Jeff Young, who is 242-52 overall in 10 seasons, including a national title in 2005. Walsh finished 18-8 overall and 14-8 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (South Division) in 2012-13.
"He's a good coach and we had a good talk," Fletcher said. "We know what he wants us to do. I've got to work to earn my role first. Then, I can help the team. That's how I've got to do my job."
"I like their style of play. Up and down," Carter said. "It's a good fit for me and Trey."
The duo will love playing in Walsh's 2,000-seat Alumni Arena at the Cecchini Center where the Cavaliers are virtually unbeatable under Young. Try these numbers: 49 wins in a row, 80 of 82 and 116-10 overall.
Basketball signings are rare in mid-June, but Carter said he wanted to make sure he made the right choice. He did get some looks from NCAA Division I schools.
"It was my decision. It was going to happen whenever I wanted it," Carter said. "It was one of the toughest things I've done. You think you've got a school, you make a visit and it's not what you thought it was. Then you look at another school. Your head gets clogged up. It's aggravating. You wait for the right time. It was all worth it. It's good to get away, but we're close enough we don't have to worry. I'm happy with my decision."
"It's close enough to home where family and friends get to see them play," LaFon said.
LaFon said all players on the 2012-13 team should relish what the Fighting Tigers did.
"What a tremendous run it was," LaFon said. "I'd liked it to turn out differently. There was a lot of good wins against a lot of good competition."
ATER AT WHEELERSBURG: Wheelersburg High has a new boys basketball coach. He's Steve Ater, former coach at South Webster. He took the job in late May. Ater's a 1998 Chesapeake grad and played for the Panthers under Norm Persin, now the coach at Oak Hill.
Ater spent six years at his alma mater as an assistant and junior varsity coach before going to South Webster. Under Ater, the Jeeps had a 68-27 record and made it to the regional tournament twice. They lost to Lancaster Fairfield Christian in the regional finals last season. Wheelersburg went 9-14 last season. Thanks to Marsha Ater and Steve Johnson for the updates.
ALL-STAR TRIP: Boyd County's Emily Stewart has been selected to play for the Kentucky All-Star softball team scheduled to play two games this week against stars from Tennessee. She hit .500 and played well in the field last week in the East-West All-Star Games in Louisville. Stewart is just the second Boyd County player to be picked to play in the Kentucky-Tennessee series. Lauren Ellis did it in 2006. Teams will play doubleheaders Wednesday at Middle Tennessee State and Thursday at Tennessee Tech.
RIO GRANDE NEXT: Jaz Stephenson, starting goalkeeper the past three seasons for the Boyd County boys soccer team, signed with the University of Rio Grande, a perennial NAIA soccer power. The RedStorm went 16-3-1 last season, won the Mid-South Conference Tournament, and lost in the opening round in the NAIA National Tournament.
Boyd County was 12-8-1 last season and Stephenson allowed 1.7 goals per game against a demanding schedule.
David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.