By Chris Chaney
A banner year for the Amelia Barons’ boys’ basketball program was capped off with an impressive haul at the annual Southern Buckeye Conference awards as the team was recognized as the regular-season and tournament league champions, as well as boasting the Player and Coach of the Year in the American Division.
Head coach Craig Mazzaro took home the hardware for Coach of the Year, but it was his players that he credits for the honor.
“(The award) reflects back on the players,” Mazzaro said. “Your players change and their players change. Sometimes you just have better players and I think we had better players this year. That’s a tribute to them and the work they put in. Also, my assistant, John Patrick did a great job, too.
“It’s more of a team and everybody award than it is a coach’s (award.”
The players that Mazzaro mentioned didn’t leave empty-handed, however. Junior center Tommy Hacker took home Player of the Year honors, while two of his teammates were placed on the First Team All-Conference alongside him, Trevor Simon and Garrett Weaver.
All three were deserving of the honor, in Mazzaro’s view.
“(Along with Hacker), we had two other guys that could have been the (Player of the Year), too,” Mazzaro said. “It was really close between everybody I think. Weaver outscored Hacker by one point. Hacker out rebounded (Weaver) by about five. Their other stats were pretty even, too. Simon was our leading scorer.
“Tom did some good things defensively, especially early in the year. Weaver came on strong towards the end and Simon was pretty consistent all year, so it could have been any one of them.”
All three of the Barons’ stat lines were pretty impressive, but Hacker’s all-around game was what clinched it for him. The 6-foot-5 junior averaged 9.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
Comparatively, Weaver averaged 10.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Simon averaged 11.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals. Together, with Second-Team selections Dale Luginbuhl and Rickey Moeves, the Barons went 18-5 overall and 10-1 in conference.
On the other side of the SBC, Williamsburg’s Kendal Young won the Player of the Year award going away. The senior and all-time leading scorer in Williamsburg High School history led the Wildcats to an 11-12 overall record, 7-3 in conference and a runner-up finish behind league champion Georgetown.
Young is a three-time First Team All-Conference selection and during his senior year, he averaged a league-leading 20 points per game. He also added 7.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.0 steals per contest.
Joining Young on the First Team All-Conference team was Ryan Boggs. Max Madsen and Luke Workman were the other two Wildcats honored, both being named to the Second Team.
Other locals: While Amelia topped the division, Bethel, Goshen and New Richmond were also well represented on the All-Conference teams.
The Tigers’ Jason Adams was the lone Bethel athlete to be named to the First Team, while fellow senior Tyler Atkins was a Second Team pick. Goshen’s pair of Ryan Ashcraft and Nick Messer earned First Team honors and Austin Smith and Kyle Wake were tapped for the Second Team.
New Richmond’s pair of juniors, John Ernst and Josh Heiden, were First Team selections and Austin Wells finished his senior season as a Lion with a Second Team honor.
In the National Division, aside from the Wildcats of Williamsburg, Batavia, Clermont Northeastern and Felicity were given some love.
Batavia led the way with three All-Conference selections. Dillon Gilbert and Kyle Schmitgen were placed on the First Team All-Conference and Alex White was selected to the Second Team.
CNE and Felicity both had a pair of athletes selected to the First Team as well as the Second Team. On the First Team for the Rockets was Jay Teaney and on the Second Team was Derick Schmidt. For the Cardinals, Christopher Smith was named a First Teammer and Bradlee Prather was named to the Second Team.