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Coal Grove girls hoops celebrate OVC title

February 11, 2019
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The Coal Grove High School's girls basketball team huddles before a game against Fairland on Jan. 21 in Coal Grove, Ohio.

After a dozen years and several near misses, Coal Grove High School’s girls basketball team can raise a championship banner.

The Hornets shared the Ohio Valley Conference championship with Fairland this season after defeating South Point 53-51 Thursday to clinch a tie. The past few seasons, Coal Grove contended, but fell short behind Fairland and Ironton.

“Words cannot express how proud I am of my girls,” Hornets coach Rick Roach said. “They have worked hard all year for this OVC championship. This is the most unselfish team I’ve ever coached.”

Freshman Kaleigh Murphy called beating the Pointers to clinch a piece of the championship,“the best night of my life.”

Coal Grove (18-4 overall, 12-2 OVC) won its first league crown since 2007 and sixth overall, but the trek to the title wasn’t easy. The Hornets lost twice to Fairland, but beat Ironton two times. The Fighting Tigers defeated the Dragons twice, but an opening loss to Portsmouth left Ironton one game

off the pace. On Jan. 10, the Hornets rallied hard for a 39-26 victory over South Point, then last week built a 20-point lead before the Pointers stormed back within two before time expired.

Coal Grove’s next goal is a sectional championship. The fourth-seeded Hornets take on 13th seed Rock Hill at 6:45 p.m. Monday at Jackson High School. The winner advances to the sectional finals at 2:45 p.m. Saturday at Jackson against the victor from Monday’s 8:30 p.m. contest featuring No. 5 South Point and 12th-seeded Southeastern. The winner of the sectional advances to the district semifinals Feb. 23 against one of top-seeded Eastern-Brown, No. 8 seed Piketon or ninth-seeded South Webster.

RECRUITING ROUNDUP: Cabell Midland defensive back JJ. Roberts drew an offer from the Air Force Academy, as did Spring Valley multi-position star Graeson Malashevich, who also visited Virginia Tech.... Coal Grove quarterback Nate Harmon signed with Georgetown College.... Huntington High linebacker Brocton Blair visited Virginia Tech on Saturday.... Spring Valley baseball standout Hunter Bellomy signed with Davis & Elkins College, which also offered Timberwolves catcher Tanner Akers.... Fairland girls basketball player Kelsie Warnock signed with Marietta College.... Spring Valley quarterback Will Adkins signed with Glenville State College.

Chapmanville boys basketball standout Obinna Anochili picked up an offer from Virginia Commonwealth University. ... Huntington St. Joe girls basketball player Bailee Adkins was offered by DePaul University.... Fairmont Senior offensive lineman Zach Fra-zier picked up an offer from Marshall University.... Ironton softball standout Mary Beth Burton committed to the University of Indianapolis.

Cabell Midland baseball catcher Peyton Weekly and Fairland soccer player Wyatt Morris were nominated for admission to the United States Naval Academy.... Spring Valley offensive lineman Wyatt Milum received an offer from the University of Oregon.... Wheelersburg football player Tanner Spradlin signed with Wilmington College.... Ashland volleyball players Janay Farrow and Delaney Mollett signed with Midway University.

Spring Valley running back Isaac Howard committed to West Virginia State, which offered Huntington High kicker Isaiah Carpenter. ... Huntington High offensive lineman Noah Smith visited Marietta College.... Gallia County softball pitcher Hunter Copley signed with Transylvania University.... Ironton St. Joe bowler Kelsey Malone signed with Shawnee State University.

Former Fairland track star Jackie Wagner, now of Ponte Vedra High School in Jacksonville, Florida, signed with UCF. Wagner currently has the longest discus throw of any high school girl in the nation, at 151-3.75 feet.

IMPRESSIVE LINEUP: The Gridiron Coaches Clinic May 11 at Ironton High School features an outstanding lineup.

Ted Newsome of Green, Andy Hall of Jackson, Rob Woodward of Wheelersburg, Chip Otten of Coldwater, Brian White of Hilliard Davidson, Brad Burchfield of Columbus Hartley, Brad Dingess of Spring Valley, Noel Rash of Beechwood and Philip Haywood of Belfry are high school coaches slated to discus various topics. College coaches include Ed Terwilliger of Ohio State, Rob Tenyer of Morehead State, Ryan Manalac of Ohio Dominican and Jimmy Burrows of Ohio University.

ROUNDING UP: Huntington’s girls and Barboursville’s boys won Cabell County middle school basketball championships Thursday.... Fairland’s seventh-grade girls won an Ohio Valley Conference basketball title Thursday. Ironton won the eighth-grade boys and girls championships. ... Johnnie Lemaster resigned as head baseball coach at Ashland. Former Tomcat and Marshall University player David Greene is the interim coach.... Vinton County’s girls won the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division championship. ... Russell’s girls won the Eastern Kentucky Conference title.

MaxPreps ranked Huntington St. Joe’s girls basketball 22nd in the nation.... Portsmouth Notre Dame basketball standout Katie Dettwiller scored her 1,000th point last week against Eastern-Pike in a game in when the Titans clinched the Southern Ohio Conference Division I title.... Boyd County’s boys basketball team made all 26 free throws it attempted against East Carter in a game last week and hit 32 in a row in two games.... Parkersburg girls basketball star Madi Mace scored her 1,000th point on Thursday.

Green football coach Ted Newsome will be the South head coach in the Ohio North-South Classic in April. ... Chapmanville basketball player Madison Webb scored her 1,000th point last week.... Eastern-Pike (19-1) clinched the Southern Ohio Conference Division I boys championship. ... Athens clinched at least a share of the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division boys crown.... Greenup County girls basketball star Maggie Miller scored her 1,000th point on Friday.... Former Hurricane baseball star Alex Wilson signed with the Cleveland Indians on Friday.

St. Albans basketball standout Rodney Toler scored his 1,000th career point on Friday, as did Fairview girls basketball star Jordan Rakes, a sophomore, and Johnson Central’s Isaiah May on Saturday.

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