By Chris Chaney
The Southern Buckeye Conference announced their boys’ basketball All-Stars earlier this month and honored them at the March 4 Winter Sports Banquet at Hamersville School.
Headlining the local award-winners were a pair of coaches and a back-to-back Player of the Year in the American Division and a head coach in the National Division.
The American Division co-champions, Amelia and New Richmond, were well represented in the voting as head coaches Craig Mazzaro (Amelia) and Brian McMonigle (New Richmond) were named Co-Coaches of the Year in the Division and Amelia’s Tommy Hacker was named Player of the Year for the second time in as many years.
Hacker led his Barons in points and rebounds with 15.0 and 6.5 per game
Junior Barons Garrett Weaver and Keegan Carson joined Hacker on the All-Conference First Team.
“Tom Hacker’s the two-time player of the year in the Southern Buckeye Conference and he’s really stepped up for us,” Mazzaro said of his senior. “(Hacker) and Garrett Weaver fed off of each other really well.”
Senior Jack Mickler and junior Mason Blankenship were named to the SBC’s Second Team as well to round out the accolades for the Barons.
“(Mickler)’s been steady the whole year,” Mazzaro said. “He doesn’t do anything spectacular, but we were a totally different team when he wasn’t in there leading us and guarding his guy. He did all the little things.”
The Barons finished the season at 19-4 overall and 10-1 in SBC play. They lost in the first round of the Division I sectional tournament to Turpin.
Their co-champion counterparts from New Richmond also landed five players on the All-Conference honor roll led by seniors John Ernst and Josh Heiden and sophomore JD Durham, who were all First Team selections.
Between the trio of Lions, they averaged just shy of 38 points per game, 15.5 rebounds, 6.1 steals and 6.0 assists.
Junior CJ Grogan and sophomore Frankie Taulbee were Second Team picks.
Grogan averaged 6.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game and Taulbee was good for 7.3 points, 2.3 assists and 1.9 steals per night.
The Lions rounded out their season at 17-6 overall and 10-1 in the SBC. New Richmond fell to Wyoming in the first round of the Division II sectional tournament.
Goshen placed a pair of their key contributors on the First Team in senior Austin Smith and junior Cody Schock. Smith was the team’s most potent offensive threat scoring 12.3 points per night and hauling in 5.1 rebounds while Schock maintained the low block, scoring 5.1 points and bringing down 7.5 rebounds for the Warriors.
Teammate Nick Brown was a Second Team selection. The junior was good for 7.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
Bethel-Tate’s Adam Shinkle and Evan Iding rounded out the Clermont County contingent of American Division All-Stars. Shinkle was a First Team selection and Iding was a Second Team pick. Both will return next season for head coach Reggie Hall’s second season at the helm.
In the National Division, Williamsburg headman Dan McKibben took home the lone individual honor, being named the Coach of the Year in the Division.
McKibben led his team to a 12-10 overall record and a runner-up finish in the SBC-National.
A pair of Wildcat upperclassmen were First Team selections in Colton Brown and Evan Barge. Both Brown and Barge averaged over 11 points and 3 rebounds per game for Burg, while their next two leading scorers — juniors Josh Wells and Austin Horn — were placed on the Second Team.
The third-place finishing Batavia Bulldogs landed three players on the All-Conference teams. Senior Austin Sammons and junior Keshawn Foley were First Team selections for their play in 2013-14 and senior Kyle Schmitgen was named to the Second Team.
Batavia finished their season 13-9 overall and 6-4 in conference and were bounced in the first round of the Division II sectional tournament by McNicholas.
Clermont Northeastern, the fourth-place finishers in the National Division scored two spots on the All-Conference list with senior Jay Teaney making his second consecutive All-League First Team. Teaney led the Rockets with 14.0 points per night. Junior Darian Bullock was a Second Team selection as a result of his 9.6 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game average.
Finally, Felicity-Franklin juniors Jordan Utter and Trevor Barrons rounded out the local student-athletes making the SBC honor roll. Utter, the Cardinals’ 18.6 points per night man, was a First Team selection and Barrons, who went for 7.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, was named to the league’s Second Team.