By Jeff Harrison
Friendly rivals Ashleigh Wheeler from Shenandoah and Cayton Secrest from Caldwell received statewide recognition on the OPSWA All-Ohio Division IV Girls’ Basketball Team once again.
Last year, Secrest gained a second team spot on the all-state squad while Wheeler received honorable mention, but this time it was Wheeler who was selected to the second team while Secrest landed a third team spot.
The 5-4 Wheeler led a young Shenandoah squad to a 13-11 record, averaging 12.1 points, 6.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game.
In addition to her all-state honors, she was first team/co-player of the year on the East District Division IV squad and first team/co-player of the year on the District 12 Division IV team. Wheeler – who will play at Bethany College next season – finished her career with 1,119 points.
“She’s a hard worker who puts in so many hours that no one sees, and she truly deserves every accolade whether athletically or academically,” said Shenandoah coach Sami Schott. “She’s a team-oriented player and that’s what sets her apart from many others. She can score when we need her to, but she has great court vision and plays bigger than she us.
“We’ll miss her tremendously, but she’s done a great job preparing our younger kids for the next few years.”
The 5-6 Secrest led Caldwell to the OHSAA Division IV District finals, scoring 16.1 points per game along with 6.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 4.2 steals.
Besides all-state, she was first team all-East District Division IV and first team all-District 12 Division IV. Secrest concluded her CHS career with 1.146 points.
“It has been a great honor to coach Cayton,” said Caldwell coach Eli Svercek after her final game. “Caldwell girls’ basketball has meant everything to her and her family for the last 20 years.
“She is one of the greatest we have ever had,” added Svercek. “What she does on the floor for her team cannot be replaced. I hate to see her go and I am glad I got to be her head coach.”
Wheeler and Secrest will get a chance to team up on the East girls’ team in the Pepsi/District 12 All-Star Basketball Classic at Buckeye Trail High School on Friday, April 9.
Shenandoah freshman Mya Leach – who averaged 14.2 points per game – earned honorable mention all-state honors.
The East District fared well on the All-Ohio teams, with the following players earning first/second/third team recognition in addition to Wheeler and Secrest:
Division I – Ajia Schreffler of New Philadelphia, 3rd team
Division II – Bailee Smith of Maysville, 1st team; Taylor Jones of Indian Creek, 1st team; Lexi Howe of Tri-Valley, 2nd team; Katie Sprang of West Holmes, 3rd team.
Division III – Zoe Miller of Hiland, 1st team/Player of the Year; Hannah Archer of Fort Frye, 2nd team; Reagan Vinskovich of Union Local, 2nd team; McKayla Dunkle of Harrison Central, 2nd team; Morgan Yoder of Hiland, 3rd team.
Division IV – Tory Hendershot of Shadyside, 1st team; Baylee Wach of Sahdyside, 3rd team.