Monteroso captains T-L boys squad

The curtain was officially dropped on the prep basketball season last weekend.

However, it’ll be one that’s long remembered and talked about during the course of time.

And rightfully so after three teams qualified for the regional tournament, an individual surpassed the 2,000-point barrier and several others eclipsed the 1,000-point mark.

Today, The Times Leader puts the finishing touches on the 2012-13 season with the announcement of its annual all T-L Boys Basketball Team.

The squad recognizes players from throughout the T-L coverage area and is chosen by the sports staff with the help of area basketball coaches.

St. Clairsville standout senior Dan Monteroso has been chosen as the captain for the second straight season. Martins Ferry’s Jeff Sabatino and River’s Mark Romick have been honored with the coach of the year honor after guiding their teams to impressive and somewhat unexpected runs to the regional tournaments.

Here’s a capsule look at the honorees:

DAN MONTEROSO, St. Clairsville – This splendid senior put the wraps on a brilliant four-year career with the Red Devils this winter.

Scoring 2,340 points in his career to rank 19th all-time in Ohio prep history, Monteroso averaged nearly 27 points a game this season. He surpassed the 2,000-point barrier in late January. He was also the team’s leading rebounder at nearly nine a game.

For his efforts, Monteroso, who is headed to Purdue, was named first-team all-Ohio in Division II and was co-player of the year in the state. He was also a finalist for Mr. Basketball and was all-Eastern District Player of the Year. He’ll take part in the OVAC All-Star Game next weekend.

“Dan was able to call on that special ability to take over and will wins for our team,” said St. C. head coach Kim Clifford. “He averaged 36 points a game for two years in the tournament and his athletic ability is only surpassed by his actions as a person. He’s just a great kid.”

CODY SCHAU, Martins Ferry – This prolific scorer was able to get to opposing teams in a bevy of ways as he became just the third 1,000-point scorer in Sabatino’s coaching history at Ferry.

Schau was one of the top scorers in the state of Ohio in Division III at 27 points per game. His abilities weren’t just in the scoring column, however. He also averaged 10 rebounds and nearly seven assists a contest.

Schau was an all-Eastern District first-team selection, second-team all-Ohioan and will take part in the OVAC and District 12 All-Star Games.

“I had (Muskingum head coach) Gene Ford ask me, what’s (Cody) do?,” Sabatino recalled. “I said, ‘he just scores.’ He’s unusual because there’s really no one to compare him to. He’s a tremendous athlete, slasher and a guy who at the end of the game you look at the book and he’s got close to 30.”

BRETT PRICE, River – This Pilots’ senior was a big-game player for Romick’s team this winter.

The 6-2 senior guard had a huge season in helping to lead the Pilots to their first regional tournament appearance in some 20 years. He averaged 19.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and was second on the team in assists with 4.1 a game. For good measure, he averaged 2.1 steals.

Price had huge games in the district final when River knocked off two-time defending state champion Hiland and also against Magnolia in two of the their regular season meetings.

For his fine season, Price was named first-team all-Eastern District, third-team all-Ohio, all-OVAC, all-PVC and will take part in the OVAC and Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis All-Star Games.

“Brett is the epitomy of what hard work can do for you,” Romick said. “He worked extremely hard to make himself into a very good high school basketball player. He worked hard on his perimeter shot to become a consistent 3-point threat. Not only did he lead us in nearly every category, but he was the consumate go-to-guy at the end of games.”

JACOB BAILEY, Union Local – This Jets’ four-year mainstay saw his prep career come to an end a few games earlier than he had hoped when he went down with a knee injury.

However, prior to that, he was enjoying one of his finest seasons. He finished his career with 1,071 points and 136 3-point goals, which is a Union Local High School record. He was a career 72 percent shooter from the foul line. This past season, he averaged some 18 points a game.

Bailey was a third-team all-Ohio selection and first-team all-Eastern District in Division III. He was chosen for the OVAC Game, but won’t be able to participate due to injury. He was a first-team all-OVAC performer.

“Jacob is a very coachable individual who worked hard throughout his career,” said UL head coach Vaughn Butler. “He dedicated himself to the game of basketball and his many accomplishments have come through his love of the game. He’s an example of a great student-athlete as well as a fine young man.”

RILEY CARLTON, St. Clairsville – This Red Devil senior had a solid final campaign despite battling his way through injuries in the latter part of the season.

The 6-0 guard served as the Devils’ point guard and was the team’s second-leading scorer at nearly 11 points a game. He was also a tireless defender.

Carlton was an all-District 12 and all-Eastern District honoree. He’s been chosen for the District 12 and OVAC All-Star Games.

“Riley is the one of the headiest players and best leaders I’ve ever coached,” Clifford said. “He played in pain and was totally selfless. It didn’t matter to him if he scored 20 and won by one, or scored one and won by 20, he was all about winning.”

ROBERT VARGO, Martins Ferry – Sabatino calls his burly 6-ft-6 junior ‘a mountain.’

He was certainly just that on the low block for the Purple Riders, averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds a game this season.

He was an all-district 12 and eastern district selection. He was also mentioned on the all-OVAC squad.

“Robert is a mountain in more than one way,” Sabatino revealed. “He’s among his class leaders academically, he’s one of the best football players in our school and next season he’ll be the best basketball player in our school. He’s earned those things. He’s probably the most intelligent kid I’ve ever coached in my 37 years. He just knows what we’re trying to do.”

TERYN JARRETT, Beallsville – This Blue Devils’ senior was one of the area’s most unheralded big-time players.

The 6-2 guard did a lot of everything for first-year Blue Devils’ boss Casey Tolzda. He led the team with 23 points a game. He also averaged five rebounds and three assists an outing. He finished his career with 1,230 points.

Jarrett was an all-Eastern District and all-OVAC selection and will take part in both the District 12 and OVAC All-Star Games.

“Teryn is like a coach on the floor,” Tolzda said. “He is a leader that knows the situations and does the things that you don’t always see in the box score. He was successful because he put in the time and effort on his own. He’s planning on playing basketball at the next level, and I know he’ll be successful at whatever route he chooses.”

JORDAN INDERMUHLE, River – This Pilots’ senior didn’t put up huge stats, but his contributions to the team’s success go well beyond the stat sheet.

The 6-5 Indermuhle was a model of consistency on both ends of the floor for a Pilots’ squad, which won the district championship. He averaged eight points and 9.1 rebounds. He was also a solid defender and had 1.8 steals a game.

Indermuhle was an honorable mention all-Eastern District pick along with receiving accolades on the District 12 squad.

“Jordan was the building block for our team,” Romick said. “He was consistent night in and night out. He was one of the best rebounders that I’ve coached at River. His presence in the paint created difficulty for other teams and allowed us to do a lot of things on defense.”

KOREY LAFFERRE, Monroe Central – It didn’t take too long for this senior to make first-year head coach Lou “Scooter” Tolzda take notice of him.

Lafferre was the Seminoles’ go-to-guy most of the season and wasn’t just their leader on the stat sheet, but also their floor general. In the scoring column, Lafferre averaged 15.4 points and 7.5 rebounds.

Lafferre was chosen for the District 12 and OVAC All-Star Games. He was an all-Eastern District and all-OVAC selection.

“After I saw Korey play in open gyms, and during the summer, I knew he had the potential to excel,” Tolzda said. “He was a key component for us. He was explosive around the bucket and if he wasn’t on the floor, it definitely hurt us.”

KYLE MICHALO, Buckeye Local – As he proved time and time again, this Panthers’ senior could fill it up in a hurry for Jay Morris’ squad.

The 6-2 guard became the go-to-guy for the Panthers and re-wrote Panthers’ records late in the season when he poured in 39 points in a game in February. He came out the next night and scored 32. En route to averaging nearly 18 points a game, Michalo scored double figures in all but one game.

He also had 59 steals, which led the team and he knocked down 77 percent of his foul shots. He had 39 assists and 79 rebounds.

“Kyle was a very steady and consistent scorer,” Morris said. “He could score on the drive, from behind the arc and on pull-up jumpers in transition. What was really crucial to our season was his improved defense, which was key to our transition game.”

Q.J. WILLIAMS, Bridgeport – When Donnie Cash was looking for someone to step up and be the leader, it didn’t take him long to turn to this sophomore.

Williams was the unquestioned leader for the Bulldogs this winter as, according to Cash, “he stepped up his game.”

Williams averaged 15 points and seven rebounds per game for the Bulldogs.

“Q.J. was our leading scorer and our best defender,” Cash said. “We’re really looking for big things from him the next two years.”

FLETCHER WATT, Harrison Central – This senior has been a four-year mainstay for the Huskies and helped put Harrison Central basketball back on the map.

The 5-11 guard battled through his fair share of injuries during his prep career, but they never held him down. He finished with more than 1,000 points and became just the second player in Huskies’ history to accomplish the feat.

For the season, he averaged 14 points, four assists and four rebounds a game.

His efforts were recognized by virtue of his selection as all-Eastern District, all-District V and all-OVAC.

“Fletch has been one of the main reasons for our turnaround as a program,” said Harrison Central head coach Justin Clifford. “He’s a hard worker who has battled injuries, but never once did he give an excuse. He just continued to work harder. We’ll certainly miss him, but hopefully our younger kids have taken note of his dedication and determination.”

NICK PELEGREEN, Harrison Central – This senior mainstay was another regular who put forth an impressive final campaign.

The 6-3 forward added a perimeter jumpshot to his arsenal this season. He averaged 12 points and eight rebounds a game for the Huskies.

Pelegreen was an honorable mention all-Eastern District and all-District V selection.

He’ll take part in the OVAC All-Star Game next weekend.

“Nick was steady for us on both ends,” Clifford said. “He’s another guy who’s played a big role in our turnaround. We’re certainly going to miss Nick. He’s a great kid.”

D.J. SHOEMAKER, St. John Central – When you talk about instant impact, this Irish senior has to be on the list.

The 6-3 forward made his presence felt immediately upon his arrival at SJC this season and became the Green’s go-to-player throughout the season. Shoemaker averaged 16.3 points, eight rebounds and three assists to lead the Irish.

Shoemaker was named to the all-Eastern District, District 12 and all-OVAC squads.

“It’s definitely no secret the type of impact he’s had in every sport,” said SJC head coach Kevin Lahna. “He was a major reason we had the best season we’ve had at St. John in quite sometime. He has the ability to make those around him better. He’s a tremendous leader on and off the court.”

ADAM STUPAK, Shadyside – This Tigers’ senior was the floor general for Coach Ed Andes’ quint this winter.

The 6-foot guard averaged 12.2 points a game, three rebounds and three assists. He was also a 33 percent shooter from behind the 3-point line.

Stupak was recognized on all-District 12, all-Eastern District and all-OVAC.

“Adam did a nice job of getting us into our offense and did a good job getting the ball to the guys who had the hot hand on that particular night,” Andes said. “Late in the season, he really picked up his scoring, too. We got better as a team because he was able to get us going in the offense.”

KENNY HESS, Bellaire – This junior took over the leadership role of a very youthful team under the guidance of J.R. Battista.

The 5-10 forward sliced his way to 15 points and seven rebounds per game.

Hess was listed on the District 12 team and was honorable mention all-Eastern District and all-OVAC.

“Kenny is a great kid with a high motor,” Battista said. “His effort and attitude were super all season. He has improved as a player and as a leader for our team. We hope he continues to get better and we look forward to having him back.”

MARK ROMICK, River – This veteran Pilots’ head coach led his squad to heights it hadn’t reached in nearly two decades.

The Pilots finished the season 19-7 and advanced to the Division IV regional where they lost to Youngstown Christian, 60-49. However, en route to that, River qualified for the OVAC tournament, earned a piece of the PVC crown and took down two-time defending state champion Hiland in the district final in overtime.

“This was a memorable season for River basketball,” Romick said. “Our return to the regional was made possible through the dedication of a great group of young men. These kids made strides each year. They understood their limitations and worked hard to fill a role on a successful team. This isn’t the mark of not only a good team, but unselfish individuals as well. I also can’t say enough about my coaching staff and the amount of time and energy they invested for us. I am sure that Coach (Richard) Potts was looking down and smiling on this season.”

JEFF SABATINO, Martins Ferry – This veteran Purple Riders’ head coach kept talking during the season about the youth of his team and the rugged schedule it faced.

When the Purple Riders got into Division III tournament play, it all came together. Martins Ferry qualified for the OVAC 4A tournament and then got on a roll that carried them to the Division III Sweet 16 and a regional berth in Athens where they lost to eventual state semifinalist Ironton.

All told, the Riders finished with a 14-10 record. They beat top-seeded Fort Frye in the sectional final and perennial East District power Garaway in the district title game.