Porter, Yourkovich, Vargo lead all-district teams

COLUMBUS – Several local players have been recognized for fine basketball seasons as the annual Associated Press All-Eastern District team was announced Wednesday evening.

Five boys and four girls earned a spot on the first team, while two area coaches and a player earned special accolades.

Martins Ferry senior Robert Vargo has turned in a brilliant campaign for the Purple Riders, who will play in Friday’s Division III sectional final against Buckeye Trail.

Vargo – a nightly double-double – was named the Division III Player of the Year after scoring 18.5 points a night. He’s also good for 13 rebounds per game.

Along with his basketball honor, Vargo was named Eastern District Defensive Player of the Year following football season.

The Union Local Jets, who spent much of the regular season atop the AP’s Division III state rankings, garnered two first-team players and the coach of the year.

The Jets, who opened the tournament trail with a victory on Wednesday against Coshocton, are led by head coach Ben Porter, who is in his first season of his second tour of duty.

Porter guided the Jets to a 20-1 regular season mark and the outright Buckeye 8 championship. Union Local’s now 21 victories are a school record and the 20 straight it opened the campaign with was also a record. The Jets advanced to the OVAC Class 4A title game.

Representing the Jets on the first-team were junior guard Gavin Porter, who scores 14.5 points a game and junior post Colton McKivitz, who checks in at 13 points and 11 rebounds a game.

In Division II, Buckeye Local’s Brennan Czuchran was named to the first-team squad. He became the Panthers’ all-time leading scorer in school history in their final regular-season game against Toronto.

He then extended the record as he became the school’s first 1,000-point scorer. Czuchran capped his prep career with 16 points, giving him 1,014 for his career. For the season, Czuchran netted 21.3 points a game.

Shadyside sophomore John Michael Schuetz earned a spot on the first-team in Division IV. Schuetz scored 15 points a game for the Tigers, who resume their tournament trail on Friday against Tuscarawas Central Catholic in New Philadelphia.

ON THE GIRLS’ SIDE, Harrison Central’s record-breaking season didn’t go unnoticed.

The Lady Huskies, who won the OVAC Class 4A title and will play tonight in the district tournament for the first time in their history, are currently 20-4 under head coach Nick Yourkovich.

Yourkovich was named Eastern District Division III Coach of the Year for his team’s exploits.

Lady Huskies’ junior Katie Ellzy garnered a spot on the first-team unit with an 18.2 points and 12.5 rebounds a night average. She went over the 1,000 point mark last week.

Union Local’s Cori Medley, who became the all-time leading 3-point shooter in Lady Jets’ history, earned a spot on the first-unit. She netted 15.4 points a game and scored better than 1,000 points in her career.

In Divison IV, Bridgeport senior Nicole Smolenak earned a repeat nod on the first-team. The Lady Bulldogs’ floor general scores 11.8 points a game. She’s also the team leader in assists and steals.

River do-everything sophomore Jensen Caretti was named to the first-team. She scored 22.4 points a game this season. She also yanked down 13 rebounds a game.

The complete all-Eastern District teams can be found on Page B4.

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com