By Jeff Harrison
Last week, Noble County was represented by both schools on the girls’ all-state team and this week, it’s the boys who take center stage with the selection of Shenandoah High senior Kendal Sherman and Caldwell High freshman Bede Lori to the OPSWA Division IV All-Ohio third team while junior Christian Duniver of the Zeps was an honorable mention honoree.
Sherman and Duniver helped the Zeps to a 17-8 record season which included the school’s first sectional championship since 2002.
“We’re pretty happy to get two guys recognized,” said Shenandoah coach Marc Smith. “That shows we’re getting respect for our improving program and winning some games, and those two were a big part of that.”
Sherman, a 5-10 guard, capped his final year with a 13.3 scoring average, also posting 4.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
He was also named first team all-East District D-IV and all-District 12 D-IV as well as second team all-OVAC Class 2A. Sherman was selected for the OVAC Samuel A. Mumley All-Star Basketball Classic and the Pepsi District 12 All-Star Basketball Classic.
“Kendal is a four-year starter who’s been so reliable and dependable and he had an unbelievable season for us,” said Coach Smith. “He’s really good offensively, but for the better part of his four years he guarded one of the top players on the other team and that’s an unsung thing.
“When we needed big shots at big times, Kendal Sherman made them,” the SHS coach continued, “and he stemmed the tide on more than one occasion….exactly what you expect a four-year senior to do. We gave Kendal a lot of freedom on the court – he could change the defense or call a set on offense.”
Smith said Sherman’s impact at Shenandoah went far beyond the basketball court.
“What he did in football season speaks volumes,” he related, referring to Sherman’s willingness to move to quarterback rather than his anticipated running back/defensive back spots. “For him to sacrifice what he did…all of the coaches see that and appreciate it.”
Duniver, a 6-0 guard, was an offensive force all season, averaging 18.4 points per game with a career-best 41-point effort against rival Caldwell. He also collected 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.0 steals per contest.
He was a first team all-District 12 D-IV and all-OVAC Class 2A along with second team all-East District D-IV.
“He’s a phenomenal basketball player,” offered Coach Smith. “There’s very little he can’t do on the floor offensively and he’s much-improved defensively.
“Christian is a real ‘gym rat’ – working early in the morning and late at night…driving to Columbus to play AAU basketball,” the Zeps’ boss continued. “The ultimate compliment on him that I hear from opposing coaches is not how many points he scores or how many assists he has….it’s that ‘he’s a player.’”
Smith has high expectations for Duniver – who enters his senior season with 858 career points – and his other returning players next year.
“How good we will be next year will depend on him and our other seniors,” he said. “He’s got all the tools and work ethic, and if he improves in the leadership role…look out!”
Lori, a 6-3 guard, burst on the high school scene in a big way for the 13-11 Redskins, scoring 495 points as a freshman – a 21.5 average, while also contributing 5.7 rebounds, 3.5 assist and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 44 percent on three-pointers and an eye-popping 92 percent on free throws.
In addition to his all-state recognition, Lori was named first team all-East District D-IV, all-District 12 D-IV and all-OVAC Class 2A.
“I’ve been around some special athletes here…kids like Tanner Clark and Jonathon Wiechman,” said Caldwell coach Clint Crane, “and I’ve never had a kid work harder or have a better individual season.
“He was obviously the focal point for a team with no older kids,” the CHS coach continued. “He kinda kept us afloat the first half of the season while the rest of our young guys figured things out and this was a key learning year for our guys, Bede included.
“His work ethic is contagious,” offered Crane. “He’s extremely humble, coachable and most importantly a great teammate.
“The sky is the limit for Bede and our team,” he added. “We have a lot to look forward to the next several years.”