Big Walnut’s 2013-14 boys basketball campaign was marked by one characteristic — the Golden Eagles never gave in … they battled down to the final buzzer of the season.
Eric Myers’ squad entered the season looking to put a better-than .500 year in the books, and while they finished with a 9-14 overall record and a 4-10 mark in the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division, the Golden Eagles played some of their better basketball down the stretch. They defeating Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division rivals Mount Vernon and New Albany and gave a talented Columbus Centennial squad all it could handle in the Division I Central District tournament.
“This team came into the season with a goal, a goal to continue to improve and to play better then .500 ball,” Myers said. “Our players never gave up, overcoming key injuries the second half of the season. Our younger kids stepped up to fill in and we just continued to play hard and answer the bell — there was no quit in our players.”
Three seniors dominated the season’s special postseason award presentations. Logan Boyd received the Most Valuable Player and Golden Eagle awards, Nick Herbert the Offensive Player of the Year Award and Chase LaVeer the Defensive player of the Year Award. Junior Michael Buckles, who was sidelined the final eight games of the season by an injury, was presented with the Dan Tyler Hustle Award, and junior Mason Knight was the recipient of the Most Improved Player Award.
Big Walnut placed sixth in the OCC Capital behind division co-champions Delaware Hayes and New Albany who shared the crown with 11-3 records. Worthington Kilbourne was runnerup with a 10-4 mark. Rounding out the standings were Franklin Heights (7-7),Olentangy (5-9), Mount Vernon (5-9), Big Walnut and Olentangy Orange (3-11).
Two Golden Eagles, Boyd and Herbert, were named to the All-OCC Capital Division squad. Boyd was a Second Team selection and Herbert an Honorable Mention pick. Boyd was also recognized as an OCC Scholar-Athlete (Varsity Letter/3.20 Grade Point Average). Three earned All-District 11 recognition with Boyd selected to the First Team, Herbert the Second Team, and junior Zac Asher who was named Honorable Mention.
Buckles, Gose, Tarney and LaVeer joined Boyd for academic recognition as Big Walnut Scholar-Athletes (Senior/3.50 GPA).
Myers, assisted by varsity assistant coach Ric Cavicchia, awarded eight varsity letters with Boyd, Herbert and LaVeer each earning their second letter. LaVeer was also awarded a Senior Plaque. Asher and Buckles were also the recipients of their second varsity letter. First-year varsity letters were awarded to juniors Kyle Gose and Matt Tarney. Sophomore Josh Seabrook also earned his first varsity letter.
LaVeer, an 8-year letterwinner in athletics at Big Walnut, was also recognized with his Eight Seasons of Participation in Sports Awards.
Also recognized with a varsity letter was senior manager Cole Davis who capped his career by playing in the Golden Eagles’ final game of the regular season. He was the recipient of his second varsity letter.
“Our coaching staff is already looking ahead to next season,” Myers said. “With who we have coming back and with the personnel coming up from JV and freshman squads we are excited about the future of our program.”
Big Walnut junior varsity coach Rich Smith presented JV letters to nine members of his 9-13 Golden Eagle squad. Recognized were juniors Connor Kotterman and Knight; sophomores Hayden Bowmar, Zachary Chucta, Thomas Fleser, Jacob Hrusovsky and Jerry Williams; and freshmen Bryan Kelso and Benjamin Saxe.
“This team continued to get better over the course of the season,” Smith said. “The players were determined to succeed … I am really excited over the future of our program here at Big Walnut program and cannot wait until next season.”
Golden Eagle freshman coach Charlie Rowley honored members of his 9-10 freshman squad which posted a 7-7 OCC record. Freshman numerals were awarded to Nahom Buckles, Trevor Dew, Evan Garcia, Luke McCarrell, Chad Montgomery, Cody Priestas, Owen Ramsey, Kobe Swackhammer, Nicklas Ulery and Henry von Hollen.
“This group was a coach’s dream,” Rowley said. “They were very coachable, very competitive, and always respectful … it was a joy to have had the opportunity to coach them this season.”