ATHENS, Ohio — Talk about a “Catch 22”.
That’s because a total of 22 basketball representatives from the Ohio Valley Publishing area — even split evenly between 11 boys and 11 girls reps— have earned all-Southeast District honors from the Associated Press.
The annual AP all-Southeast District teams were officially released on Wednesday — with first-year Eastern girls coach Jacob Parker capturing Coach of the Year accolades for Division IV girls.
Parker’s pick as COY headlined four Eagles being honored —the most of any of the dozen squads in the OVP area.
Three Lady Eagle players were honored, along with two apiece from Gallia Academy and Meigs in Division II — and one apiece from Southern, South Gallia and River Valley.
Of the 10 gals which made the list, seven of them are repeat honorees.
On the boys side, both Division II clubs — Gallia Academy and Meigs —mustered three spots, while Southern secured two and River Valley, South Gallia and Eastern one apiece.
Of the 11 men, four are repeat selections.
Parker, in replacing veteran Eastern mentor John Burdette, guided the Lady Eagles to an 18-3 regular-season record —with losses only to Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division champion Waterford and to non-league Division III Oak Hill in overtime.
Eastern senior Laura Pullins and Southern senior Faith Teaford tallied Division IV first team for the second straight season, as Pullins —standing six-feet tall — also made second team two years ago and Special Mention three years back.
This season, she averaged 19 points per game.
Teaford, at six-foot one-inches tall, also made the second-team unit in 2015 — before back-to-back first-team awards.
She was the Lady Tornadoes’ only all-district selection, and averaged 18.1 points per contest.
The other Eagles to land all-district honors are Elizabeth Collins and Jess Parker.
Collins, a 6-1 junior, averaged 10 points per game in earning second team — while Parker repeated as a Special Mention choice.
Collins kept moving up the level ladder — after making Special Mention as a freshman and third team as a sophomore.
For Meigs, its two selections from last season repeated to the list this year.
Kassidy Betzing, a 5-7 sophomore who averaged 11.3 points per tilt, moved up to the second squad this season from third team a year ago.
The Lady Marauders’ Madison Fields repeated to the Special Mention group, as did Gallia Academy’s Adrienne Jenkins.
Parker and Fields are both sophomores, while Jenkins completed her senior campaign.
The three first-time honorees all made third team — Gallia Academy’s Hunter Copley (5-8, sophomore, 10.9 ppg) in Division II, River Valley’s Erin Jackson (5-7, senior, 16.0 ppg) in Division III and South Gallia’s Erin Evans (5-7, junior, 10.6 ppg) in Division IV.
For the boys, Eastern senior Jett Facemyer made Division IV first team — giving him “three-peat” status along with Meigs senior Luke Musser.
The six-foot Facemyer, the Eagles’ only selection, averaged exactly 22 points per game.
Facemyer, the OVP area’s only boys first-teamer, made second team as a junior and Special Mention as a freshman.
There were several second-teamers —Zach Loveday (6-11, freshman, 8.1 ppg) and Justin Peck (6-5, junior, 13.2 ppg) of Gallia Academy in Division II, Christian Mattox (6-1, junior, 13.9 ppg) of Meigs in Division II, Jacob Dovenbarger (6-6, senior, 14.3 ppg) of River Valley in Division III and Crenson Rogers (6-3, senior, 13.9 ppg) of Southern in Division IV.
Rogers repeated to the second team, while fellow Southern senior Tylar Blevins —at 6-foot-1 and who averaged 10.3 points per —moved up from Special Mention (in 2016) to third team.
The Marauders’ Musser — standing 6-2 — made third team in Division II, averaging 12.3 points per bout.
Musser made third team two years ago, while earning a Special Mention slot last year.
The only other third-teamer was six-foot South Gallia sophomore Caleb Henry, who averaged 13.9 points in Division IV.
The lone boys Special Mention picks were both in Division II — Evan Wiseman of Gallia Academy and Jared Kennedy of Meigs.
As for the girls’ Players of the Year, Chillicothe’s Osh Brown in Division II, Alexander’s Leah Richardson and Southeastern’s Ella Skeens in Division III, and Waterford’s Alli Kern in Division IV claimed those awards.
Besides Parker, Ben Ackley of Miami Trace in Division II and Kevin Pickerill of Eastern Brown in Division III were the Coaches of the Year.
The boys’ POY awards went to Ridge Young of Logan Elm in Division II, Isaiah Howell of Fairland and Dylan Swingle of Paint Valley in Division III, and Jordan Welch of Waterford in Division IV.
The boys’ Coaches of the Year were Matt Combs of Vinton County (Division II), Norm Persin of Oak Hill (Division III) and Adam Betten of Portsmouth Clay (Division IV).
The AP Southeast District girls and boys basketball teams are selected by a media panel throughout the district, whose outlets must be affiliated with the Associated Press.
Those which make either first-team or second-team all-district automatically make — at least — either Special Mention or Honorable Mention all-Ohio.
Each player of the year in the district, for all four divisions in both boys and girls, is automatically named first-team all-state.
The all-Ohio teams are released during the week of the respective genders’ state tournament.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106