The 2012-13 girls' high school basketball season will be one to remember for several teams, and individuals, in The Times Leader coverage area.
Shadyside made its annual trip to the Division IV district tournament semifinals, while the Tigers also captured the OVAC Class 2-A championship.
River also returned to the D-IV district semis after finishing runnerup to Division III state tournament entry Fort Frye in the OVAC Class 3-A title tilt.
PICTURED IS the 2012-13 All-Times Leader Girls’ Basketball Team. Front row, from left, are Hayley Holenka (Shadyside), Jensen Caretti (River), Cassidy McCullough (River), Chelsie Roberts (Monroe Central), Chelsie Tewanger (Monroe Central), Katey Kinney (Beallsville) and Caitlyn Kroll (Bridgeport). Second row, from left, are Keirstyn Kidder (Bellaire), Katie Ellzy (Harrison), Marissa Rose (St. John), Kristen Russell (St. John), Alexis St. Clair (St. Clairsville) and Karli Bonar (Shadyside). Back row, from left, are Coach Rick Isaly (River), Kayla Fillipovich (Buckeye), Kayla Doty (Union Local), Cori Medley (Union Local), Jessica Kinney (Martins Ferry) and Coach Rob Zitzelsberger (Bridgeport).
Bridgeport ran off an impressive 21 victories in 24 starts, with two of those setbacks coming at the hands of the Pilots.
The Tigers' talented senior Karli Bonar re-wrote the OHSAA record books for most made three-point field goals in a career and single season. She surpassed the boys' record, as well.
For her accomplishments, Shadyside's backcourt ace has been named the captain of this year's 21-member All-Times Leader squad.
A capsule look at each honoree follows:
KARLI BONAR, Shadyside - The blonde bomber was a dead-eye from beyond the 3-point arc, not only this season when she drained a single-season state record 110, but her entire 4-year career as she finished with 350 bonus bombs.
The Findlay University recruit surpassed the coveted 1,000-point mark in the first game of her final season in which she averaged 19.5 points per game. She also shot a blistering 82% from the free-throw stripe.
She earned all-Eastern District and District 12 first team honors, and was also named the District 12 Player of the Year and Division IV first team all-state. In addition, she was a finalist for Ms. Basketball in the Buckeye State.
"Karli is a great shooter who has a lot of ability to see the whole floor to find the open man," Shadyside head coach Tina Yates said. "Karli was our floor general who kept us all on the same page every night."
HAYLEY HOLENKA, Shadyside - The heart-and-soul of the Lady Tigers did just about everything this season.
Another 4-year regular, she scored 16.9 counters an outing this season and also joined the cherished 1,000-point club.
In addition to her scoring, she rebounded with the best of them, played tenacious defense and wasn't afraid to hit the floor for a loose ball.
She earned all-District 12 first team honors and was a special mention all-stater.
"Hayley is an outstanding slasher who finds a hole and is able to get to the basket. She usually guarded the other teams best guard," Yates added.
CASSIDY McCULLOUGH, River - A 4-year letterwinner for the Lady Pilots, McCullough was the go-to person on offense and the lockdown defender on defense.
She averaged a team-best 13.8 points this season, while also excelling on the boards and in the steals department.
"Cassidy was the key to our program over the past four years," head coach Rick Isaly allowed. "She's a very gifted athlete and was a player I could count on time-in and time-out.
"Defensively, I could put her on any player and she'd do a good job," he continued. "Offensively, she improved her game from her freshman year to her senior year.
JENSEN CARETTI, River - Just a freshman, this 6-footer has some very good days ahead of her.
However, her frosh campaign was nothing to sneeze about as she averaged 11.6 points and nearly 10 rebounds a night.
She was named to the District 12 second team.
"She did a great job for us as a freshman," Isaly added. "She was a threat inside, but could also shoot from the outside. She's really good on the boards and we're really looking forward to having her for another three years."
NICOLE SMOLENAK, Bridgeport - This junior point guard went from being the team's leading scorer to directing the offense for Rob Zitzelsberger's Bulldogs.
She still scored 14.8 points and led the Bulldogs in assists, steals, defensive rebounds and free throw shooting (77%).
She also eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier in a win at Clay-Battelle.
She was a Division IV first team all-District 12 honoree and earned special mention all-state.
"Nicole has been starting since her freshman season," Zitzelsberger said. "She's the engine that makes our team go. She's a great leader and has a lot of energy when she's on the floor."
CAITLYN KROLL, Bridgeport - The promising frosh burst onto the high school in grand fashion as she led the Bulldogs with a 17.3 scoring norm. She also shot 72% from the foul line.
"Caitlyn was a great addition to our program this year," Zitzelsberger noted. "She has a very bright future ahead of her."
JESSICA KINNEY, Martins Ferry - A 4-year letterwinner and 1,000-point scorer, Kinney was the Purple Riders' go-to player for the last two seasons.
In her final game in Purple and White, she showed her grit by playing with a severely sprained ankle.
"I commend her for playing like she did," first-year Martins Ferry head coach Lindsay Coyne said. "There's a lot of girls that could've easily said I'm not playing. I'm hurt. But not Jess. She didn't want to let her team down and she played to the best she possibly could.
"Jess is a gamer," Coyne added.
She led The Times Leader coverage area with a 21-point-a-night-norm. She was also a force on the boards.
Kinney was a first-team Division III all-state selection after being recognized as player of the year in the Eastern District.
KRISTEN RUSSELL, St. John Central - Ms. Versatility. The 5-6 standout played all five positions during her stellar career with the Lady Irish. The 4-year letterwinner did a lot of everything in leading a freshmen-laden team to 15 wins this season. She averaged 16.1 points and 9.3 rebounds a game.
"Kristen is a coach's dream. She has tremendous basketball skills to go with great versatility," Lady Irish head coach Bubba Kapral said. "But just as importantly, Kristen is a tremendous leader, who also puts the good of the team ahead of personal success.
"As a junior we were undersized and she had to defend 6-foot posts and she did it well. This year, at times she handled our point," Kapral added. "Kristen was as good as player as there was in the valley this season."
MARISSA ROSE, St. John Central - This 5-7 frosh made an instant impact for the Lady Irish. She took over the point-guard duty from day one and helped guide a youthful SJC squad to 15 wins and a berth in the OVAC championship game.
She averaged 12.9 points and five assists per game.
"We knew for years that Marissa was a special talent. But she had big shoes to fill as we needed a point guard. Marissa is a natural two-guard, but performed at a high level running our offense, while also being a consistent double-figure scorer," Kapral said. "Marissa is a tough young lady, reflected by her playing in the OVAC Tournament with strept throat, and playing well. She is destined for a special career."
CHELSIE ROBERTS, Monroe Central - She was a 4-year letter winner for the Seminoles. She averaged 7.5 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 20.2 points per outing. She also shot 55% from 2-point range (133 of 242) for the year. She led the team in steals, blocked shots, rebounds, and points.
"Chelsie was a very well-rounded basketball player. She really improved her shooting during her four years," Monroe Central head coach Troy Baker said. "She was also 33% on 3s, (34 of 102). She was a great leader and one of the most coachable players I have ever had."
CHELSIE TEWANGER, Monroe Central - She averaged 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 steals, 3.0 assists, 12.5 points a game for the Seminoles. She led the team in assists, and 3-pointers made (51) She shot 39% on 3s (51 of 131).
"Chelsie saw the floor well and was an excellent ball handler. She also could finish with either hand and could shoot it with the best of them," Baker added. "She also was great at stealing the ball in the open court. She always made everyone around her better."
KAYLA DOTY, Union Local - This senior displayed a lot of courage and determination this season as she played with an ACL problem throughout, but still was able to score 13.1 points a game. She also averaged more than 8 rebounds a night and finished with a 76% mark at the free-throw stripe.
"She invested a lot of energy and time during her younger days when she was asked to do some things she wasn't prepared for, but she was given that experience to build on and I feel she improved her game from her freshman year to her senior year," he said.
CORI MEDLEY, Union Local - Only a junior, this 3-year letterwinner led her team in scoring with a 15.6 average. She was very active in other areas of the game, including steals, assists and rebounds.
She is also a quality 3-point shooter and shot 87% from the foul line.
"I've said this numerous times, she's a ballplayer," Greenwood admitted. "I felt that she really took her game to another level this season. She matured and showed more ownership, especially on the defensive end. Any girl that takes 16 charges, that's special."
KATEY KINNEY, Beallsville - A force in the middle for the Blue Devils, this 6-foot senior averaged 15.8 points and 11 rebounds per game.
"Katey was a vital part of our team this year. She was one of our leaders and go-to players," Beallsville head coach Rick Jarrett said. "She was a hard worker every time she stepped on the floor. She lead by example and through her encouragement of the younger members. She will definitely be hard to replace."
KIERSTYN KIDDER, Bellaire - The Big Reds' floor general averaged 16.2 points a game as a sophomore.
"Keirstyn was much more of a scoring threat this year because she worked really hard on driving to the basket to finish and get fouled," Bellaire head coach Marci Bonar noted. "She has become a good outside shooter, but she didn't rely on only her shot this year.
"However, I am most proud of the improvement that she made on defense. Some of the biggest plays she made this year came on the defensive end of the floor. She is a true fan of the sport. She plays all year long and attends many games to watch others to improve her game."
KAYLA FILLIPOVICH, Buckeye Local - This Panthers' senior averaged 8.6 rebounds,1.6 blocks, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game despite playing with a torn ACL.
"Kayla has been an excellent leader. She led by example. This year she demonstrated toughness and doing what is best for the team," Buckeye Local head coach Willy Luther said. "Playing with a torn ACL all year she was still able to be the leader and the person the girls looked to when things were tough.
"In our sectional win she had 19 points 13 rebounds and four blocks while playing the whole game. Her leadership skills will definitely be missed next year."
KATIE ELLZY, Harrison Central - Only a sophomore, Ellzy earned several post-season honors for head coach Nick Yourkovich.
She averaged 17.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. She also recorded a dozen double-doubles, a trio of 30-plus point nights and 10plus rebound games. She charted a school-record 22 rebounds in a game against Edison and also recorded a school-record eight blocks in sectional final game against Indian Valley.
"Katie developed into our go-to scorer towards the end of this season, which really pushed our team to a higher level. I think that she is starting to realize that she has great potential as a basketball player," Yourkovich added. "She is a great leader and has a great work ethic, which rubbed off on the rest of the team. She is the type of student-athlete that epitomizes what we want out of a player in our program. If we had jersey sales, I'm sure there would be a lot of younger girls in our program wearing No. 32 jerseys."
ALEXIS ST. CLAIR, St. Clairsville - This sophomore averaged 11 points a game for the Lady Red Devils.
"I was excited to watch and coach Alexis this season. She is a great athlete and an wonderful young lady," St. Clairsville head coach Alicia Freeman said. "She works hard and stepped up big for us this year. We knew we needed to improve as a team offensively and she took that to heart."
SHAYLA MARKOVICH, Barnesville - Just a freshman, Markovich had a fine first season for the Shamrocks.
"Shayla became the main focus of our offense early in the season. She also plays very solid defense," said Barnesville head coach Jamie Carpenter. "Her physical strength is very impressive for a freshman girl and we have her for three more seasons."
She averaged 11 points and eight rebounds per game.
RICK ISALY, River - Isaly led the Lady Pilots to the Division IV district tournament for the third consecutive season.
"I am honored and privileged to receive this honor," he said. "However, all the credit has to go to the girls."
Isaly was also selected to coach the District 12 East All-Stars as well as the OVAC All-Stars.
ROB ZITZELSBERGER, Bridgeport - Zitzelsberger led his Lady 'Dawgs to an impressive 21-3 record and a Division IV state ranking for the first time in quite a while.
"I feel honored to have been chosen," he said, "but the credit goes to the girls. I didn't score a point or get a rebound. I'm proud of my girls."
He will assist Isaly in the District 12 game.
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