Amelia, New Richmond, Williamsburg lead All-Southern Buckeye picks

Making up eight of the 12 teams in the Southern Buckeye Conference, Clermont County boasted 20 SBC All-Star selections in girls’ basketball for the 2011-12 season led by New Richmond and Williamsburg, both of whom had four All-Conference selections.

New Richmond put two players on the First Team All-American Division squad and two on the Second Team, while Williamsburg did the same in the National Division.

Amelia had three seniors named to the All-Conference team while Batavia, Clermont Northeastern, Goshen, Felicity had two players each honored. Bethel had one player named to the All-Conference team.

In the American Division, Amelia’s Megan Mentzel and Kymmy Simon, CNE’s Carly Aselage, Goshen’s Kelsi Steele and New Richmond’s Josie Buckingham and Sarah Shoemaker all were named to the American Division First Team.

For Amelia, both Mentzel and Simon are seniors who led the Lady Barons to a 10-11 record. Simon led Amelia with 17.3 points per game.

“Kymmy’s been the offensive leader for our team for the last two years,” Amelia coach Tara Kaiser said. “You know that whether she scores 10 points or 25 points, you’re going to get everything from Kymmy. She works as hard off the court as she does on the court.”

Mentzel didn’t excel in one particular area like Simon with scoring, but she was solid all the way through, averaging just under seven points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and five steals per game.

“When it comes time to practice and games, (Megan) is a workhorse,” Kaiser said. “She’s the outspoken leader, the verbal one who gets the group together. On the court, she’s the playmaker.”

As for New Richmond, Buckingham and Shoemaker led the Lady Lions to the sectional semifinals, a second-place finish in the American Division and a 17-5 record.

Buckingham, a 6-foot-5 sophomore led the Lady Lions with 15.5 points per game and 10.3 rebounds.

“Josie is probably the most dominating player in our league as far as taking both ends of the floor,” New Richmond coach Brad Hatfield said. “She’s just a real weapon to have whenever she’s on the floor.”

Shoemaker, a senior, started 67 games in a row for the Lady Lions and averaged 7.8 points per game, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 steals this past season.

“Sarah Shoemaker meant as much as anybody in terms of turning our program around,” Hatfield said. “She’s a tremendous perimeter defender as well as a solid ball-handler for us.”

CNE’s Carly Aselage, a junior, led the Lady Rockets with seven points per game and 9.1 rebounds per contest.

Goshen’s Kelsi Steele provided the senior leadership the Lady Warriors needed as they transitioned to a new coach. The senior averaged 9.5 points and 2.9 assists per game.

On the Second Team in the American Division were New Richmond’s Bailey Workman and Courtney Grogan, Amelia’s Danielle Lang, Bethel’s Cyra Jones, CNE’s Jessica Kirby and Goshen’s Becca Davidson.

In the National Division, Williamsburg’s one-two punch of Tara Dennis and Heidi McManus were named to the National Division First Team along with Batavia’s Samantha McElfresh and Felicity’s Arica Stutz.

For the Lady Wildcats, Dennis and McManus accounted for more than 70 percent of Williamsburg’s scoring. Both are seniors and will leave a strong impact on the Williamsburg program.

“They are exceptional players and meant a lot to the program,” Williamsburg Ken Lowe said. “Tara was the leading scorer in the league both of the last two years. Sarah has come on defensively and can score points, but she was second in the city in steals.”

Dennis averaged a league-leading 19.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game while McManus averaged 15.8 points and 6.7 steals per game.

Batavia’s freshman phenom, Samantha McElfresh led the Lady Bulldogs with 11.7 points per game, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals.

“When she’s on the floor, our team plays so much better,” Batavia coach Beth Wolfer said. “She hustles and sees the floor very well. We depend on her for scoring and overall, we just play a lot better with her on the court.”

Rounding out the First Team was Felicity’s Arica Stutz. The junior led the Lady Cardinals with 13.1 points per game and 8.9 rebounds. She also blocked 5.8 shots per game as she led her team to a sectional tournament appearance.

On the Second Team in the National Division were Williamsburg’s Ryan Gifford and Elizabeth Meisberger, Batavia’s McKenna Fraley and Felicity’s Shelby Lucas.