GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — Meigs broke down some barriers this winter … and claimed a lot of honors with those efforts.
Senior Kassidy Betzing and junior Weston Baer helped the Maroon and Gold reach some long overdue heights this season, helping the duo earn player of the year honors for the 2019 Ohio Valley Publishing Super 12 basketball teams — as chosen by the sports staff from the daily publications of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Point Pleasant Register and The Daily Sentinel.
Betzing — a four-time OVP 12 selection — was a repeat selection as the area’s top female player. The Ohio University track and field signee averaged 16.2 points while becoming the fifth girl in MHS history to surpass the 1,000-point plateau in a career.
Betzing — a 5-foot-7 guard — paced the Lady Marauders to a 15-9 record and led the Maroon and Gold to their first sectional championship since the 2000 campaign.
That district appearance — as well as one of the area’s two winning records — ultimately catapulted MHS coach Jarrod Kasun into receiving Coach of the Year honors in the tri-county area.
Baer — a repeat selection from last season’s OVP 12 squad — guided the Marauders to a 13-11 mark and also became the first MHS boy to surpass 1,000 career points in two decades (1999).
Baer — a 6-2 guard — averaged 19.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals for the Maroon and Gold.
That duo made up one-fifth of the 10 repeat selections to the 2019 team, including one coaching decision.
Gallia Academy boys coach Gary Harrison won Coach of the Year honors for the second consecutive postseason, primarily for his work after losing reigning OVP 12 Player of the Year and Division I prospect Zach Loveday to Huntington Prep (WV).
The Blue Devils were 5-3 overall at the time, and ultimately matched that record the rest of the way as the Blue and White finished the year with a 15-9 overall record.
Joining Baer on the boys first team were repeat selections in Gallia Academy senior Cory Call and South Gallia senior Braxton Hardy, as well as first-time honorees in River Valley sophomore Jordan Lambert and Point Pleasant sophomore Hunter Bush.
Meigs senior Zach Bartrum and Southern senior Weston Thorla were repeat selections and landed on the second team.
Seniors Justin McClelland (GAHS), Justin Beaver (OVCS), Dalton Coleman (Hannan) and Jacob Lloyd (Wahama) also joined Eastern sophomore Garrett Barringer on the second team — all as first-time selections to the OVP 14 squad.
Call led Gallia Academy in scoring with 12.9 points per outing while also producing 4.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.7 steals. McClelland followed with 11 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 steals per contest.
Lambert paced River Valley with 15.1 points and 8.6 rebounds during a 3-20 campaign, while Bartrum added 7.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists nightly for the Marauders.
Hardy led the Rebels (14-10) in scoring with 15.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest, while Thorla produced 9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals a game for the Tornadoes (12-10).
Barringer gave the Eagles 15 points and eight rebounds every night on the inside during an 11-12 campaign, while Bush led the Big Blacks (8-15) with 18.2 points to go along with 3.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
Lloyd led Wahama in scoring with 12 points per contest and also averaged 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists during a 3-20 campaign.
The remaining two boys selections are both seniors that also happened to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau in their respective careers on the same night — against one another.
Coleman led the Wildcats (8-14) in scoring with 13.3 points while also producing 6.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals.
Coleman finished his career with 1,252 points and also scored a 65-47 win in that double 1K game in Ashton (WV) back on Dec. 8, 2018.
Beaver averaged 15.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.9 steals a night for the Defenders and also ended his career with 1,313 points.
A total of four girls — including Betzing — were repeat selections to the OVP 12 squad from a year ago, including first team selection Hannah Rose.
Rose became the eighth Lady Falcon to surpass 1,000 points for a career while leading the WHS to an 11-13 overall mark. Rose led the Red and White with nearly 20 points per contest.
Teammate and sophomore Emma Gibbs also returns to the OVP 12 girls squad as a second team selection. Gibbs averaged a double-double on the season with nearly 14 points and a dozen rebounds per contest.
Southern junior Phoenix Cleland is the final repeat selection, also a second team honoree. The Lady Tornadoes were winless in 22 games, but Cleland led the Purple and Gold in scoring and rebounds with respective averages of 8.6 points and eight rebounds.
Joining Betzing and Rose on the first team were Eastern seniors Jess Parker and Alyson Bailey, as well as Gallia Academy senior Hunter Copley.
The first-year selections to the second team were Meigs senior Becca Pullins and Meigs freshman Mallory Hawley, River Valley sophomore Hannah Jacks, South Gallia freshman Jessie Rutt and Point Pleasant freshman DaNayla Ward.
Parker provided 11 points, six rebounds and six assists per game for the district runner-up Lady Eagles (15-9). Bailey led EHS in scoring with 15 points and also provided three steals per contest.
Pullins averaged 8.7 points and Hawley added 10.5 points per game for the Lady Marauders, while Copley provided 14.5 points and 6.6 rebounds in five wins over a dozen games with the Blue Angels (6-15).
Rutt produced 12.6 points and 4.9 steals per game for the Lady Rebels (6-16), while Jacks paced the Lady Raiders (6-18) with 11 points and eight caroms per contest.
Ward led the 6-17 Lady Knights with averages of nine points, seven rebounds and 1.4 steals per outing.
Betzing is the first two-time Player of the Year recipient in the tri-county area and is also the first player to be named to the OVP 12 squad four times in the four years of its current existence.
Faith Teaford (SHS) and Laura Pullins (EHS) shared the 2016 POY honors in girls, then Pullins won the award outright in 2017 — followed by two straight honors for Betzing.
Baer joins Marshall Hood of OVCS (2016), Jett Facemyer of EHS (2017) and Loveday in being named the OVP 12 boys POY.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.