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

Knights Celebrate New Year with Win

January 7, 2015

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

For the second time in a week the Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond Knights dominated the Windsor Blue Devils, this time 71-33 improving to 9-3 on the season. The Knights kept momentum from their recent Tri-County holiday tournament championship appearance rolling with 12 players scoring in a game that would get out of hand early.

The Knights had one of their best shooting performances of the season jumping out to a 12-1 lead just four minutes into the game. Tyler Schuring knocked down a pair of 3-pointers pushing the lead to 21-5 with less than two minutes remaining in the first. To cap off the dominant period Cole Garmon nailed a dagger from beyond the arc just as time expired, hitting nothing but net. The clutch trey put the Knights’ lead at 29-5 after the first quarter of play. Read More

ALAH Settles for Second at Tri-County

Photo by Keith Stewart The Knights' Jeremy Plank fires from beyond the arc Tuesday. Plank, who was later chosen as the Tri-County holiday tournament MVP, knocked down five 3-pointers in his team's 47-44 loss to Paris.

Photo by Keith Stewart
The Knights' Jeremy Plank fires from beyond the arc Tuesday. Plank, who was later chosen as the Tri-County holiday tournament MVP, knocked down five 3-pointers in his team's 47-44 loss to Paris.

December 31, 2014

Knights fall to Paris in championship

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Paris fans may have thought it absurd, but Knight fans perhaps knew all too well.
With 3.5 seconds remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter and with Paris up 47-44, the Knights had the ball at the opposite end of the court, ready for the in-bounds pass. Much like a few years ago against Central A&M in the Arcola regional championship, the inbounds pass was hurled down court, this time by Avery Schrock to Jeremy Plank who caught the ball mid-air. While the pass was taking flight, Tyler Schuring sprinted down court and to the left of Plank, who then dished the ball to the open senior. Schuring immediately popped up, getting a decent look at the basket and fired.
But unlike the fateful 3-pointer two years ago that Clayton Honn made to win the title, Tuesday night’s attempt banged off the rim in depressingly deciding fashion as Paris held on to defeat Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond 47-44 for the Tri-County tournament crown.
“We executed perfectly and got the shot we were hoping to get, the shot we had to have, the 3-pointer,” said head coach Dale Schuring. “Tyler struggled in the second half, but matchup wise, we thought he had the best chance at hitting that on the move, so that’s what we went with.”
The Knights made it to the championship after three wins, the first of which, a 75-29 route of Windsor Saturday morning followed by a 62-47 victory over eventual fourth place finishing Hutsonville-Palestine that evening. The Knights then stamped their ticket to Tuesday’s championship with a 45-32 win over Westville Monday. Read More

Okaw Valley Boys’ Basketball Places Fourth in Holiday Tourney

December 31, 2014

Near comeback falls short Monday

By Matthew Kracht
NP Sport Reporter

The Okaw Valley Timberwolves lost in the third place game to Mt Pulaski 60-54 Monday evening nearly pulling off a remarkable 13-point fourth quarter comeback. Coming off an impressive overtime win against Cerro Gordo-Bement the Timberwolves struggled offensively until a spirited second half rally. Okaw Valley won a three-way tie breaker based on free-throw percentage to play Mt Pulaski Monday night for third and fourth place respectively.
The Mt Pulaski Hilltoppers wasted no time, however, grabbing the early 8-1 lead before Joe Jeffers responded with a layup out of a timeout. Peyton Hagerman then scored after a steal and went coast to coast, cutting the lead to 8-5 with 3:22 left in the first period. The Hilltoppers would push the lead to 16-9 after the first and outscored the Timberwolves 14-7 in the second period to take a 30-16 lead into the half. Okaw Valley went almost four minutes without scoring in the second period before Hagerman knocked down the first of five deep 3-pointers on the night. Hagerman led all scorers with 29 points and spurred the second half charge. 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

Redskins Earn Second Place in Decatur Soy Team Holiday Tournament

December 31, 2014

First holiday championship appearance in over 10 years

By Matt Kracht
NP Sport Reporter

The Sullivan Redskins boys’ basketball team came up one win shy of a tournament championship, falling instead to host St Teresa in the final game 40-26. Alec Ballinger and Ty Molzen received all tourney team honors leading the Redskins to wins over Cerro Gordo, Okaw Valley, and Riverton.
Coming into Monday night’s championship contest, Sullivan head coach Chester Reeder knew what the Redskins were up against.
”We’re going to have to defend and rebound. St. T always plays physical, and they execute their stuff well.”
While the Redskins were able to keep up a defensive intensity that had gotten them to the tournament final, the rebounding and offensive production fell short, ultimately spelling Sullivan’s championship demise. Read More

Sullivan Takes Rematch Victory Over Timberwolves in Tournament

Photo by Keith Stewart Okaw Valley's Pierce Bradford watches his 3-point attempt Tuesday evening. Bradford sank three from the arc in an attempt to lift his team to a comeback that ultimately fell short.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Okaw Valley's Pierce Bradford watches his 3-point attempt Tuesday evening. Bradford sank three from the arc in an attempt to lift his team to a comeback that ultimately fell short.

December 26, 2014

Rebounding and free throws go in favor of Redskins

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

For Sullivan and Okaw Valley, Tuesday evening’s second round game of the Team Soy Holiday Tournament in Decatur was a familiar one. It was a rematch from December 9 when the Redskins edged the Timberwolves 50-44 in Findlay. But this time around, not only did Sullivan nab the victory, but did so in a more convincing fashion and ultimately 54-44.
Sullivan held a strong lead throughout the night, doubling up the Timberwolves several times in both the first and second quarters, and at the end of the third, Sullivan held a 15-point lead at 45-30, despite a 3-pointer by Okaw Valley sophomore guard Pierce Bradford.
But the Okaw Valley youngster would nearly help his team to a comeback in the fourth.
After Devon Still opened the final period with a 2-bucket, Layne McMahon answered with his own score from deep in the paint. But then it was Bradford from beyond the arc to cut Sullivan’s lead to 12. The sophomore then drew a charge on McMahon given the mismatch.
Junior Drew Fructhl then drew a foul from Nick Frerichs, and from the line, he sank both shots to pull OV within 10. But Frerichs would come back downcourt, pull up, and sink a jumper off the glass.
Joe Jeffers, who was in foul trouble most of the night, answered with his own score from down low to keep the margin at 10. Back and forth the teams went until with under a minute to go, Jeffers fouled out, prompting the double bonus for Sullivan’s Alec Ballinger, who hit just one of two free throws to keep an 11-point lead.
Bradford’s trey with 40 seconds would cut Sullivan’s lead to eight, the smallest since the beginning of the second quarter, but his followup foul on Ballinger resulted in both shots this time. Bradford would attempt another 3-pointer once back downcourt, but it would bounce hard off the glass. Then with 18 seconds remaining, an Okaw Valley turnover finished the game. 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

Sages Stave Off Redskin Comeback Friday

Photo by Keith Stewart Sullivan’s Ty Molzen (left) eyes the hoop Saturday night. Molzen led Sullivan with 12 points, but the Redskins fell 49-47.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Sullivan’s Ty Molzen (left) eyes the hoop Saturday night. Molzen led Sullivan with 12 points, but the Redskins fell 49-47.

December 24, 2014

3rd quarter the difference in Sullivan loss

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

After holding Monticello to just seven points and taking a 27-20 lead following the second period Friday night, Sullivan began to crumble in the third, which would eventually lead to a 49-47 Sage victory.

In contrast to the second quarter, where Sullivan sank its only 3-pointers of the night with three, and took the game’s largest lead, the third period saw a sluggish Redskin performance from the start when Monticello embarked on an 8-0 run to erase Sullivan’s lead. This was helped along by three back-to-back-to-back turnovers, three of six on the quarter, many of which Monticello capitalized on to pull within one going into the fourth.

“After the effort they put in the second quarter, I just didn’t understand it,” said Sullivan head coach Chester Reeder. “Only giving up seven points… we clamped them down a little bit more in the fourth quarter, but we fell asleep twice on Freeman getting to the paint for layups. It’s things we typically don’t do. Read More