PREBLE COUNTY — Eaton lost many on the team which strung together two-straight Southwestern Buckeye League titles and won over 30 league games in a row. But they were still able to remain fiercely competitive this season, posting a 12-11 record and finished 6-6 in conference play.
A big reason the Eagles were able to remain competitive is because of the play from senior forward Julia Titus.
Titus averaged a double-double on the season, posting 15 points and 10 rebounds per game. She led the Southwestern Division in points, rebounds, and field goal percentage (51 percent) and was second in blocks per game with two.
Four times she scored 20 or more points – including a season high 28 against Northmont – while scoring in double-digits 20 out of 23 games.
Her output is undeniably impressive and is the reason she has been awarded the Player of the Year on our All-County Team.
On our first team list, she is joined by senior teammate Paige Whitesell, who played guard for the Eagles.
“She stepped into a starting role at the point guard spot. We were never especially vulnerable to man pressing because of her,” said head coach Dave Honhart.
He added that, without Whitesell running the point, Titus wouldn’t be able to dominate like she did this season.
Whitesell averaged eight points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals per game. She had a season high 21 points against Oakwood and broke the double-digit mark in the points column nine times on the year.
Elise Walker, a junior for Preble Shawnee, played a big role in their success this season, providing needed length and inside game to their relatively small roster. She averaged 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds on the year, scoring in double-digits in eight games – including a season-high 21 points against Ponitz in early February.
Payten Laird from National Trail also makes it on our first team list. She led the Blazers in points and rebounds, posting 8.3 points and 6.4 boards per game. She also averaged 1.5 steals and one assist.
Laird was also the team’s best three-point shooter, and was second on the team in field goal percentage.
Rounding out the first team roster is also the youngest. Chloe Smith was a freshman forward for Shawnee but led the team in scoring. Smith posted 9.8 points per game, including a season-high 19 against Carlisle. She added two steals and two assists per game while draining 22 of her 49 attempts from behind the arch, often keeping her opponents honest in their defense.
Starting out our second team lineup is Eaton’s sophomore guard Sidney Lamberson.
“It took her a while to get going offensively but she handled the ball well throughout the season,” said Honhart.
She was the Eagles’ assist-to-turnover ratio leader and posted big games against Oakwood and Brookville. Overall, she averaged seven points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals per game.
Cassi Stinson, a sophomore from Tri-County North, also makes our cut. She was the point leader for the Panthers, posting nearly 11 points and seven rebounds per game, shooting 43 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free-throw line. Stinson posted 20 points against Northridge and 18 points against Eaton for her two best games on the year.
“Cassi is a huge role model for (our) team,” said head coach Jessica Cherry. “She plays whatever position I need her and is very versatile. To break a press she will lead the floor to get the ball down the court along with being a shooting guard and is the top rebounder on the team too.”
JaLynn Byrd for Trail was a lock down defender for the Blazers while also being their most consistent scorer as well. She was third on the team in rebounds.
“She played every position for us both offensively and defensively,” said head coach Troy Ferguson.
Byrd averaged 7.8 points, 3 rebounds, and one steal per game.
Nicole Sims from Shawnee was another big scorer for the Arrows this season. She averaged 8.6 points – with a season-high 22 against Dixie – while also putting up 3.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game. She was also 29-69 from three-point range.
Mylan Crews rounds out our roster, leading Twin Valley South in points scored and ran the offense for the team. No stats were provided to us, but she did earn a special mention in the All-CCC nominations.
Miranda Mize, National Trail; Madi Bowman, Eaton; Brittany George, Eaton; Bailee Worley, Eaton; Riley Cruse, Tri-County North, Sara Harris, Tri-County North.
Reach Jeremy Erskine at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.