2011-2012 SVCsportszone.com's All-SVC Girls' Basketball Team
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This is one of the hardest years to do
the all-league selection, because I first
had to decide how I was going to handle
Alex Southworth. Through the first
month of the season, I felt Southworth
was the best all-around player in the
league. Her ability to rebound and see
the floor was simply unmatched when I
compared it to other players. I
understand that injuries are a part of
sports, and sometimes a player suffers a
setback that can cost them stats and
awards; however, I also think people
have to look at each situation
individually and decide what they think
is right.

With Southworth playing just half the
season, it is going to be impossible to get
people to agree. As I said in my opening
paragraph, I felt Southworth was the
best player in the league through six
games, but I think it would be unfair to
not reward Jenny Grigsby's 14-game
body of work that led her team to a gold
ball finish. The problem with this
thought process is the fact that it
continues on down the list. Are we not
going to give a 12-2 Unioto squad a first-
team member? Are we not going to
reward Charlene Stout for being one of
the league’s best stories in leading
her Lady Cats to a fourth-place tie after
most people had them picked seventh or
eighth in the preseason polls?

Continue down the list.

Do you adjust second team? Do you
knock someone off of third-team who
played a key role in their team’s
season over the 14-game league
schedule? The answer to all of these
questions as far as I am concerned is â
€œI don’t know.â€�

I can’t say how the coaches are
going to handle this in the official vote.
Really anything they do could probably
be defended in many ways, and it could
probably be viewed critically as well. As
far as my list, I think this is a unique
situation, and I like the way the league
handled Mackenzie Arledge when she
went through this similar situation a year
ago. When the league has a player as
talented as Southworth go through this
type of injury situation, I think it is
important to still celebrate her talent and
her great career. I would simply make
her a special mention, an honorary
member, or whatever fancy term the
powers to be want to use, and basically
make her a 16th member of the all-
league squad.

I realize some of the people in charge
just cringed when reading the final
sentence of the previous paragraph.
They are going to fear setting a
precedent that is going to have future
situations adding all sorts of kids
everytime we have an injury. If this is a
concern, I would recommend trying to
have some things in place. Perhaps have
the coaches vote and say you need five
out of eight to name a kid in this way.
You could even set a number of games
(such as a minimum of 11 out of 14
games) that a player must play to be
eligible for all-league. I also think in this
situation it is good to base the decision
on the previous year. You look at
Arledge and Southworth, they were both
elite players in their junior seasons and
were returning as Player of the Year
candidates. They were not players who
had the potential to just sneak on third
team. Whatever the case, I think
coaches in a league the size of the SVC
can determine if a kid is worthy of this
type of honor. Obviously Arledge was
this type of player a year ago, and the
very talented Southworth is this year as
well.

Now that I have dodged this topic
enough – and in all seriousness I am
glad I do not have to make this call
because it is a tough call – I am ready
to start down my list. I will start at the
top with my Player of the Year
Jenny
Grigsby
of Adena. Grigsby is a great all-
around talent. She can score, rebound,
defend, and perhaps most importantly,
she can make all of her teammates
better as well.
Completing my first-team, I feel in my
second slot that I must stay with the two-
shade blue with
Autumn Smith. Smith is
a special talent who can do things with
the ball that no other player in the league
can do. Stats do play a role in all-league,
but sometimes you just have to use the
"eye test" when evaluating players, and
when you watch Smith play her skill
level is unmatched in the league. Next
on my list is Zane Trace’s
Kelsey
Dunkle
. Dunkle is a great shooter and
great defender, but during her senior
season, I was most impressed with how
she developed the ability to handle the
ball, create her own shot, and create
shots for others too. In the fourth spot, I
give the nod to Paint Valley’s
Charlene Stout. Stout has been one of
the league’s top scorers all year. She
is asked to run the point offensively as
well as the point of Paint Valley’s
zone defense. Stout helped PV to a
fourth-place tie as well as two league
losses by a total of three points on free
throws in the game’s final seconds.
For the final spot on my first team, I
think it should belong to Unioto’s
Hannah Miller. Miller led a balanced
Unioto team to a 12-2 finish. I know
with Unioto’s balance there could
be some debate on the order of the
Lady Shermans; however, I think Miller
is the player that showed up at the top
of most scouting reports which helped
take some pressure off of several young
players.

As I move to second team, I head to
Piketon. Sophomore
K.K. Jenkins is a
top-five scorer and rebounder in the
SVC this season. In the next spot, I
return to the gold ball winners with
Natalie Cooper. Cooper is a stat sheet
stuffer who dominates a game in several
ways. The next two spots I will go with
a pair of Unioto players in
Alexis Overly
and
Tori Cox. Both are going to win a
lot of basketball games before they take
off the purple and gold for the final
time. Overly is a great floor general and
Cox is a solid rebounder and defender
who is constantly improving on the
offensive end. In the final spot on the
second team I would go with Westfallâ
€™s
Jess Miller. On our most recent
stat update, only six players in the
league averaged more than 11 points per
game and Miller is one of them.

As I get to the final five, the third team
becomes very difficult to complete. I
start with Zane Trace’s
Devin
Unger
. Unger had a great year that
included 10 points per game and nearly
seven rebounds per contest. After
Unger, I feel the third team needs some
Southeastern representation in
Kylan
Strausbaugh
. The sophomore had a
solid overall season, but she really had a
nice second half of the year scoring
double figures in three straight wins
towards the end of the season. Next, I
think the SVC champions definitely
deserve a fourth player and that player
is
Michelle Ackley. Ackley, who scored
18 points in a key win at Unioto during
the gold ball run, is one of the leagueâ
€™s top three-point shooters. As I get
to the final few spots, I think Zane
Trace deserves a third player when you
consider the Lady Pioneers finished in
third place – five games ahead of the
next closest team. This spot on my list
goes to
Hayley Carle. Carle is a great
athlete who was much improved on the
offensive end this season, but it is her
intangibles – especially on the
defensive end - that make her a must for
my third team.

Just like every year, the final spot is
going to lead to all sorts of debate. If I
go with the best player remaining, it
would be Unioto’s
Mallory
Retherford
. In fact if it wasn’t for
Retherford’s injury, she probably is
much higher on the list. If I go with the
standings, perhaps Adena’s
Alyssa
Dawson
would be the selection. With
these two teams being so much better
than the rest of the league, I even had
some other names in the discussion that
would have at least given them some
honorable mention. For Adena,
Alyssa
Kennedy
and Bethany Delong played
key roles in Adena’s championship
run, and with Unioto, you could read a
long list of names such as
Ashley Flautt,
Morgan Gumm, Erin Bane, and Lauren
Stout
depending on what night you
watched them play.

I would also say all the 5-9 teams have
an argument for a second player. The
problem here is that not all of them have
a clear-cut second person. With Paint
Valley you could debate
Amber Lewis
and
Laci Stanforth. With Westfall, you
could say
Paige Swaggerty or Kayla
Tackett
. I also believe injuries have
played a role in this third team because
the injuries to Southeastern’s
Keisha
Brown
and Piketon’s Aleah
Pelphrey
cut the season short for two all-
league caliber players. These injuries
had me think about SE’s
Erin Uhrig
as well as the SVC’s top rebounder
in Piketon’s
Elisha Manley. Finally,
I in no way forgot about Huntington.
Huntington knocked on the door two or
three times in the league. They do not
get a top-15 player on my list; however,
Jackie Kellough is definitely a player I
gave some thought and would be on my
honorable mention list.

Lastly, I must pick a Coach of the Year.
No doubt that we had several coaches
accomplish more than many people had
given their teams credit for in the
preseason, but this award is a no-
brainer. Adena’s
Jeran Cox coached
his team to a perfect season in SVC
play. The Lady Warriors lost their first
game of the year to Miami Trace and
then rolled off 19 straight to finish 19-1
on the season.

The one last thought that I will give on
my all-league selection as I bring this
article full circle is that my final spot
would belong to Southworth if the
coaches decide not to use one of the
other avenues I discussed. With her
playing in nine league games, her
numbers would warrant her a minimum
of third team. Again, if coaches are
going to choose to conduct the vote in a
normal fashion then leaving her off the
top-15 would make the overall list
somewhat incomplete in my opinion.
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