By Chris Chaney
The accolades continue to roll in for the New Richmond Lady Lions as they headlined the Southern Buckeye Conference’s end-of-the-year All-Star selections.
During a banquet held earlier this month to recognize the best of winter’s student-athletes, the Lady Lions landed two of the top honors of the night as senior center Josie Buckingham was named the American Division Player of the Year and head coach Brad Hatfield took home Coach of the Year honors.
“I’m really honored to even be considered for an award like this, especially with the depth of coaching we have in this league,” Hatfield said. “Every night, all six coaches in our league are going to have their kids ready to play and have a good game plan, so I’m really honored that I was considered for that award ahead of some of the other coaches in our league.
“It was an easy award to win when you have a team like we had this year; big and fast and talented and willing to play for each other every day.”
Buckingham, a 6-foot-5 force in the middle who her coach called “simply the most dominant player in the league,” averaged 16.6 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game during her senior campaign. She has signed to play at the University of Minnesota next season.
“Josie is the all-time leading scorer here and maybe the best player to ever play hoops for New Richmond,” Hatfield said.
The senior center was joined on the All-SBC First Team by her backcourt teammates, Bailey Workman and Maren Hance.
Workman, also a senior, averaged 8.0 points, 3.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game and sophomore point guard Maren Hance went for 9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals per contest.
“Bailey was a three-year starter and a tremendous on-the-court leader,” Hatfield said. “Maren Hance has been a super important player. She just plain wants to win and she’s going to work as hard as it takes to get that done. She’s tough, she’s wicked athletic and she’s the hardest working kid on the court most of the time.”
New Richmond seniors Alexis Meyer and Hannah Hall were Second Team selections. New Richmond’s season came to an end in the Division II sectional semifinals in a 51-43 loss to the eventual sectional champions, McNicholas.
Also on the First Team All-League in the American Division were Amelia’s Elise Whitesell, Bethel-Tate’s Julia Jenike, Goshen’s Kayla Miller, Norwood’s Natalie Soeppel and Hannah Tubbs and Western Brown’s MacKaela Fischer and Lindsey Harvey.
Joining New Richmond’s pair of seniors on the division’s Second Team were Amelia’s Madison Terry, Bethel-Tate’s Brooke Jenike, Goshen’s Courtney Turner, Norwood’s Hannah Moyers and Samantha Saylor and Western Brown’s Morgan Nickell.
In the National Division, Georgetown’s Megan Hatfield was named the Player of the Year and her coach, Bernie Cropper, was christened Coach of the Year.
Joining Hatfield on the First Team All-National Division were her teammates MacKenzi Carrington and Rebecca Whitacker, Batavia’s Samantha McElfresh and Erin O’Brien, Clermont Northeastern’s Jenna Mummert, Felicity-Franklin’s Ashley Moore and Kelsey Arkenau, Williamsburg’s Hope Schaljo and Blanchester’s Sarah Burton.
On the National Division Second Team was Batavia’s Allison Wagner, CNE’s Andrea Johnson, Felicity’s Brooke Corbin and Brittany Drake, Williamsburg’s Lexi Stephens, Blanchester’s Sydney Doughman and Georgetown’s Morgan Gast and Kayla Seigla.
For the full list of student-athletes and coaches selected to the All-Conference First and Second Team, log on to the SBC’s website at sbaac.net.