Lady Red to Try for Three-peat as Regional Champs

Photo by Keith Stewart Emily Neuhauser eyes the basket from below Tuesday. Neuhauser finished with 25 points as did Brittin Boyer.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Emily Neuhauser eyes the basket from below Tuesday. Neuhauser finished with 25 points as did Brittin Boyer.

February 11, 2015

Will take on T-Town Thursday in Pana

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Tuesday night’s regional semi-final in Pana was never much of a contest as Sullivan defeated Shelbyville for the third time this year, 66-24. But the landslide victory did afford a little practice for both Sullivan’s bench and defense, should either need to get creative further into the post-season.
“We switched our defense up most of the night trying to kind of practice different things that we may have to use down the road,” said head coach Sheri McCain. “We were trying to keep them out of the paint. I thought we played pretty well.”
Sullivan switched between man, a 3-2, and a 2-3 zone most of the night, during almost all of which they kept Shelbyville outside the paint where the Lady Rams’ shots struggled to fall. Read More

Ending it Nearly Scripted, Sullivan Wins CIC on Senior Night

Photo by Keith Stewart The Sullivan Lady Redskins celebrated their four seniors Thursday night. Pictured, left to right: Elissa Stewart, Emily Neuhauser, Brittin Boyer, and April Shuman.

Photo by Keith Stewart
The Sullivan Lady Redskins celebrated their four seniors Thursday night. Pictured, left to right: Elissa Stewart, Emily Neuhauser, Brittin Boyer, and April Shuman.

February 7, 2015

Close out regular season with title victory over Clinton

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Sheri McCain doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to a pre-game pep-talk.
So when it came time to sit her girls down before Thursday’s senior night game against Clinton with outright conference title implications, the Sullivan head coach had her group, including her core of four seniors, watch video of their seventh grade year when the four went to the state tournament. McCain then followed up with highlights from their victory over the Lady Maroons in 2013 in the Okaw Valley holiday tournament championship.
Things got emotional to say the least. Read More

Turnovers Upset OV Senior Night Monday

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured are this year’s Okaw Valley girls’ varsity basketball seniors who were celebrated Monday night. From left to right: Kali Forsyth, Amy Orris, Paige Harlin, Amanda McClain, and Savannah Birch. The Lady Timberwolves fell to Arcola 35-28.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured are this year’s Okaw Valley girls’ varsity basketball seniors who were celebrated Monday night. From left to right: Kali Forsyth, Amy Orris, Paige Harlin, Amanda McClain, and Savannah Birch. The Lady Timberwolves fell to Arcola 35-28.

February 4, 2015

31 giveaways help Arcola overcome Lady T-Wolves

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Considering Okaw Valley had already committed 15 turnovers at the half and still led 16-14 over Arcola had a lot to do with boxing out and their typical stalwart defense. But given the chance to correct their course in the second half, OV failed to do so, instead committing another 16 turnovers that would prove too much to sustain a lead as they fell 28-35 on senior night.
“Unforced errors, that’s what killed us tonight,” said head coach Don Gardner. “And I don’t know if it was the whole senior night thing with emotions running high– not to take anything away from Arcola, they’re a very good team. Obviously they’re very well-coached, but I thought we played with them tonight, and it was a very winnable game. We just let it slip out of our grasp.” Read More

Hagerman Headed to Olney Central on Scholarship

Photo by Keith Stewart Okaw Valley senior Peyton Hagerman (middle) prepares to sign his letter of intent to play baseball at Olney Central College last Thursday. To the left is his father and OV head baseball coach Andrew, and to the right is his mother Brooke.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Okaw Valley senior Peyton Hagerman (middle) prepares to sign his letter of intent to play baseball at Olney Central College last Thursday. To the left is his father and OV head baseball coach Andrew, and to the right is his mother Brooke.

January 28, 2015

OV senior slated to pitch for Blue Knights

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

For Okaw Valley senior Peyton Hagerman, when the time came to choose a college to go to play baseball, there was one adjective he wished to avoid in describing his decision: Crazy.
“I wanted to play for Dennis Conley, first and foremost. I’ve heard nothing but great things about him. I’ve had people tell me that if I passed him up I’d be crazy. I don’t want to be crazy.”
So the OV senior signed off on his, say, logical choice, last Thursday to go and become a Blue Knight at Olney Central College.
“Really, what it came down to was Olney and Parkland,” said Hagerman. “Parkland also has a really good program up there, but Olney offered me more money. That’s part of it.” Read More

Findlay Boys’ Cinderella Season Remembered

Photo by Brandi Denton Pictured are members of the 93’ Findlay eight grade boys’ basketball team. Back row, left to right: Coach Herb Bricker, Anthony Scott, Zac Atkinson, Travis Park, and Nick Berry; Front row: Curtis Shinn, Brock Nichols, cheerleaders Robin Perry and Jamie Martinski, and Michael Williams.

Photo by Brandi Denton
Pictured are members of the 93’ Findlay eight grade boys’ basketball team. Back row, left to right: Coach Herb Bricker, Anthony Scott, Zac Atkinson, Travis Park, and Nick Berry; Front row: Curtis Shinn, Brock Nichols, cheerleaders Robin Perry and Jamie Martinski, and Michael Williams.

January 21, 2015

‘93 team remembered for Elite 8 run

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

Herb Bricker has been coaching basketball in the area for more than 15 years. But there’s one game in particular that still sticks out to him–one where he enjoyed having a pair of scissors in one hand and a net in the other.
And last Thursday night that game, in part, along with the 1993 Findlay 8th grade boys’ basketball team was recognized almost 20 years after their Elite 8 run in the state tournament. That year the team coached by Bricker went 18-4 with Bricker winning IESA coach of the year.
“After our win, the president of the IESA stayed in our hotel, and he made a point to tell me the defense we played was the most impressive he had since Andy Kaufmann in the mid 80s,” recalled Bricker.
Travis Parks confirmed just how important defense was to that team.
“Herb coached us from fourth grade that defense wins games,” he said. “That is just what it takes to win games.”
Bricker noted the team would try to hold opponents to 15 shot attempts per game and actually held a team to just four shot attempts in one contest. Read More

Lady Knights’ Comeback Efforts Fall Short Against Neoga

Photo by Keith Stewart Elyse Harris (left) fights Neoga’s EC Thiese for the ball Thursday.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Elyse Harris (left) fights Neoga’s EC Thiese for the ball Thursday.

January 14, 2015

ALAH unable to keep up with hot shooting

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

For the Lady Indians, they endured not one but two strong double-digit comebacks by Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond last Thursday to eventually win out 82-59.

In what seemed like a train wreck at first, Neoga stormed out to a 10-0 run before Logan Kauffman’s basket from down low got the Knights on the board with around five minutes remaining. But the Lady Indians didn’t stop. Read More

OV Gets Back on Track With Win

Photo by Keith Stewart Peyton Hagerman (left) stands with Okaw Valley high school Principal Matt Shoaff (right) after scoring his 1000th career point Friday.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Peyton Hagerman (left) stands with Okaw Valley high school Principal Matt Shoaff (right) after scoring his 1000th career point Friday.

January 7, 2015

Game also marks Hagerman’s 1000th career point

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

The Timberwolves re-emerged in the regular season Friday evening and used a surging third quarter performance to pull away from Stewardson-Strasburg and ultimately win 67-53.

After Chandler Ballinger struck from deep to pull the Comets within five, Okaw Valley went on a 12-0 run that was capped with a Peyton Hagerman bucket to put the Timberwolves up 47-30.

The Comets’ freshman guard Brady Hansen would knock down a trey, but OV went unfazed. Devon Still’s putback was followed by Hagerman’s final bucket of the game, a drive from the right of the paint that also marked his 1000th career point. Read More

A Lot to Learn for Lady Red Who Finish Fifth at Mattoon Tourney

Photo by Keith Stewart Emily Neuhauser lands a big block during Sullivan's game against East Richland Monday. Neuhauser in addition to Brittin Boyer were named to the Mattoon all-tournament team after their fifth place victory.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Emily Neuhauser lands a big block during Sullivan's game against East Richland Monday. Neuhauser in addition to Brittin Boyer were named to the Mattoon all-tournament team after their fifth place victory.

December 31, 2014

Bigger opponents hand Sullivan first losses of season

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

One of Sullivan’s last plays of their five game tournament in Mattoon this past week showed just how much a learning experience the holiday stretch was for the Lady Red.
Leading East Richland 63-54 with just over 40 seconds remaining in what was the fifth place deciding game Monday evening, Sullivan’s Elissa Stewart was sent to the foul line for a one-and-bonus.
Stewart hit the front end but missed the followup. But Brittin Boyer would grab the rebound just a few feet away from the basket and then dished it back out. Soon after, Tatum Ellis drew the foul. As Boyer began towards her rebounding position, head coach Sheri McCain gave her a little advice.
“She’s a very smart basketball player, but with 33 seconds left on the clock, we’re only up by 10, I said, you get an opportunity to make a bucket that close, you do it.” Read More

Lady Timberwolves Bring Home Championship Defeating Heyworth 55-41

Photo by Keith Stewart The Okaw Valley varsity girls' basketball team secured their holiday tournament crown Tuesday evening with a 55-41 win over Heyworth.

Photo by Keith Stewart
The Okaw Valley varsity girls' basketball team secured their holiday tournament crown Tuesday evening with a 55-41 win over Heyworth.

December 26, 2014

Take tourney crown for first time since 2004

By Matt Kracht
NP Sport Reporter

Christmas arrived on Tuesday night for Okaw Valley basketball fans as the Lady Timberwolves secured their first holiday tournament championship since 2004.
Amanda McClain had a double double sporting an impressive 12 point and 14 rebound line, while Megan Dash had her best performance of the season adding 10 points, six of which came in the fourth quarter to go along with nine rebounds. With the three tournament wins the Lady Timberwolves are now 11-2 on season.
All-tourney selection Amy Orris has what coaches’ call “in the gym range,” and after getting the scoring started with a coast to coast drive, Orris set the tone knocking down two NBA threes in the first few minutes of play.
Behind Orris’s strong start Okaw Valley stole momentum and held the early 15-14 lead after the first period. Orris, who was undoubtedly the floor general for the Lady Timberwolves, finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
In the second quarter McClain dominated the boards and on one memorable possession claimed four consecutive offensive rebounds before cashing in with a layup. The second chance points pushed the Okaw Valley lead to five at 23-18 before Paige Harlin nailed a deep 3-pointer making it 28-20 with two minutes remaining in the first half. Harlin also shot her way to an all-tourney selection adding another six points on the night on two long 3-pointers. After the game Coach Gardener had high praise for his shooting guards. Read More

T-wolves Win Back-to-Back to Earn Championship Bid

Photo by Keith Stewart Okaw Valley’s Amy Orris goes up and over a Shelbyville defender Monday morning. Orris led her team with 19 points and 10 rebounds in their 54-37 win over the Rams.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Okaw Valley’s Amy Orris goes up and over a Shelbyville defender Monday morning. Orris led her team with 19 points and 10 rebounds in their 54-37 win over the Rams.

December 24, 2014

Play Heyworth Tuesday night

By Matthew Kracht
& Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Entering their holiday tournament Saturday as the no. 1 seed, Okaw Valley lived up to it, as they defeated Oakwood Saturday and then Shelbyville Monday to earn a ticket to the championship Tuesday night against Heyworth.

In the opening round, the Timberwolves were winners over Oakwood by nine points in what turned out to be a competitive contest. The victory came behind a strong shooting performance from Amanda McClain who scored six points in the fourth quarter to ensure the victory. Mclain lead all scorers with 16 points, and the Lady Timberwolves’ bench chipped in for an all-around team win.

Okaw Valley wasted no time, jumping out to an early 11-2 first quarter lead. The Lady Timberwolves utilized deep 3-pointers back-to-back by Amy Orris and Paige Harlin to take a nine-point advantage to the half.

“On our team right now we have two or three girls who are nursing knee injuries and sitting on the bench icing their knees. Paige Harlin and Natalie Jeffers both have sore knees, and several of the girls are sick. Battling injury, fatigue, and illness they showed heart,” said OV head coach Don Gardner.

Running into the busiest point of the season all year, Okaw Valley dug down and ground out the second half for the hard fought win.

Sadie Edwards hit three deep treys in the second half allowing Oakwood to cut the Okaw Valley advantage to seven points with 2:11 remaining in the fourth. The hot shooting did not go unnoticed by Coach Gardener.

“Oakwood was able to hit some threes, and they were able to penetrate the lane and get some shots off and the three started to fall for them.” Read More