Ellzy, Smolenak earn third-team all state

COLUMBUS – A pair of Ohio Valley Athletic Conference girls’ basketball standouts were rewarded for their fine seasons Tuesday.

Harrison Central’s Katie Ellzy and Bridgeport’s Nicole Smolenak were both named on the Associated Press all-Ohio third team in their respective divisions.

In Division III, Ellzy, a 5-9 junior who has already verballed to Robert Morris for softball, scored 18.2 points a game for Nick Yourkovich’s Wheeling Hospital OVAC Class 4-A champions. She was also a workhorse underneath, grabbing 7.4 rebounds a night. She also shot 57.1 percent from the field and surpassed the 1,000-point mark.

“This is a great honor for Katie to be recognized by people from across the state,” Yourkovich said. “It just goes to show that all of her hard work over the last three years is paying off.

“Whenever we need a basket, we go to Katie because she’s the person we’ve leaned on for three years.”

The Huskies advanced to the district semifinals where they fell to Garaway at Steubenville High School’s Crimson Center.

In Division IV, Smolenak, a 5-4 senior, capped a brilliant 4-year career as a Bulldog by scoring 11.8 points, but she so much more for Rob Zitzelsberger’s state-ranked squad.

In 25 games, she shot 51.3 percent from the floor and a sparkling 82.8 from the free-throw stripe. As the Lady Bulldogs’ point guard, she handed out 93 assists while only turning the ball over 28 times. She also charted 70 steals and pulled down 141 rebounds.

She, like Ellzy, is also a member of the 1,000-point club, surpassing that mark during her junior season, as well.

“Nicole was the engine that made us go,” Zitzelsberger said of his stalwart. “She was an excellent floor leader as her stats indicated.

“In 25 games and only 28 turnovers, that’s remarkable. She’s also an excellent free-throw shooter.”

Bridgeport (23-2) advanced to the district semifinals at New Philadelphia High School where it was eliminated by perennial power Hiland.

A complete listing of the all-state squads can be found on Page B3 of today’s edition.

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com