OHSAA Award Winners Announced, Including Four into Circle of Champions
97th annual boys basketball state tournament tips off at noon Thursday at the Schottenstein Center
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 97th Annual Ohio High School Athletic Association boys basketball state tournament tips off at noon Thursday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center and the OHSAA will present several awards throughout the weekend, highlighted by inducting four individuals into the OHSAA Circle of Champions.
Honored in the Circle of Champions will be three-time Olympic track and field Gold medalist Tianna Bartoletta; former NBA guard and long-time assistant coach Jim Cleamons; former Ohio State captain and NBA player Brad Sellers, and three-time Mid-American Conference Player-of-the-Year and NBA player Gary Trent. The four will be honored at halftime of Saturday’s Division IV championship game that begins at 5:15 p.m. The Circle of Champions program recognizes individuals who had prominent roles in the history of Ohio athletics.
While at Elyria High School, Tianna Bartoletta – known then as Tianna Madison – won nine OHSAA state track and field championships, including a record-tying four as both a junior and senior. As a senior in 2003, she helped the Pioneers win their only Division I state championship and set the state record in the long jump, a mark that stands today. Since that time, she has flourished internationally. Highlighting her career has been appearances in the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio where she has won three Gold Medals, two as part of the world record-setting 4×100 relay team and one in the long jump. She also has been a multiple gold medalist at the World Championships and won numerous golds in both the SEC and NCAA championships while at the University of Tennessee. Now residing in Alabama, Bartoletta continues to participate internationally and enjoys giving back by working with youth athletes and coaches.
Jim Cleamons moved to Columbus during his youth and helped Linden McKinley win the OHSAA big-school state basketball championship as a senior in 1967. He went on to play at Ohio State, where, as a three-year starter, he helped the Buckeyes win the Big Ten Championship in 1971 when he was team captain and earned conference player-of-the-year. The 13th overall pick in the 1971 NBA Draft, Cleamons spent nine years as a player in the NBA and was a member of the 1972 World Champion Lakers. Since the 1982-83 season, he has given back to the game as an assistant or head coach at the high school, collegiate and professional levels. He was an assistant coach for nine NBA World Championship teams with the Bulls and Lakers and most recently assisted with the Yeshiva University high school team in Los Angeles.
Brad Sellers was an all-state basketball player at Warrensville Heights High School before playing two years of college basketball at Wisconsin and two at Ohio State. A captain with the Buckeyes, he was first team all-Big Ten as a senior. The ninth overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 1986 NBA Draft, Sellers spent 15 years as a professional basketball player, including six years in the NBA. He has served as the mayor of Warrensville Heights since 2012 and is also in his eighth year as postgame radio analyst for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Brad is the father of four daughters, one who is a member of the 2019 NCAA Division III women’s basketball champion, Thomas More University, and another who was just named first team all-Ohio in basketball at Aurora High School.
Born and raised in Columbus, Gary Trent was the Ohio Division II basketball player-of-the-year as a senior at Hamilton Township High School in 1992, when he averaged over 32 points per game and set a national record by shooting 81.4 percent from the field. He went on to an outstanding career at Ohio University, where he was the three-time Mid-American Conference player-of-the-year. Known as the “Shaq of the MAC,” the Bobcats have retired Gary’s No. 20 jersey. The 11th pick by Milwaukee in the 1995 NBA Draft, Gary spent nine seasons in the NBA and played overseas before retiring after the 2006-07 season. Gary works with youths in need and has four sons including his oldest, Gary Jr., who played collegiately at Duke and is in his first year in the NBA with Portland.
Other awards that will be presented during this year’s boys state tournament are as follows:
The OHSAA Naismith Meritorious Service Awards will be presented to two people for their service to the sport of basketball or interscholastic athletics. One recipient is the late Perry Reese Jr. He began his basketball coaching career at Guernsey Catholic High School in 1979 before becoming an assistant coach at Berlin Hiland in 1983. He then took over the Hiland program the following year and in 16 seasons led the team to a 304-85 record, 11 conference championships, five state tournament appearances and a state championship in 1992. Though he died of cancer at the age of 48 in 2000, Perry left behind a community forever changed. Breaking racial and religious barriers as the only African-American Catholic in Holmes County, he saw the best in everyone, created a culture of respect and teamwork and represented the virtues of teaching and education. A native of Canton, Perry graduated from Timken High School and Muskingum University. He is a member of the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, was posthumously awarded the Muskingum University President’s Medal in 2015 and the Hiland gymnasium is named in his honor.
The other Naismith Award will be presented to Tom Petty. He spent his entire 42-year professional career at Bloom-Carroll High School as a teacher and administrator before retiring as principal in 2002. He also coached the boys basketball team for 36 years, compiling a record of 622-214 before retiring after the 2015-16 season. His teams won 10 district championships, 16 league titles and reached the OHSAA state tournament in 1994. His victories rank among Ohio’s all-time top 12 leaders. A member of the Mid-States League and Bloom-Carroll Athletic halls of fame, Petty won the 2016 Bob Arnzen Award from the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association, and the Bloom-Carroll gymnasium is named in his honor. He graduated from Whitehall High School and Capital University, where he was a member of the basketball team.
The OHSAA Coaches Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award for boys basketball will be presented to Matt Combs from Vinton County High School in McArthur. Matt has been a head basketball coach for 20 years, with the past 19 at Vinton County, where he also serves as athletic administrator. He has helped the Vikings become one of Southeast Ohio’s premier programs. Entering this season, Vinton County had won 11 conference championships, three district titles and had a regional runner-up finish. Matt earned his 300th career victory on January 5 and has won several conference and state coach-of-the-year honors. Matt is a graduate of Chillicothe Unioto High School, where he set the conference scoring record in basketball and helped the team reach the 1991 state finals. He played two years of basketball at Wilmington before transferring to Ohio University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.
Ohio Athletic Trainers Association award winners to be recognized include Trainer-of-the-Year Joe Johnson, who has been the head athletic trainer at Maysville High School in Zanesville for 25 years. Also honored will be State Athletics Trainers Hall of Fame inductee Aaron Galpert, currently the owner of AJG Athletic Training Services in South Carolina. He has had an extensive 38-year career that has included supervisory or athletic training positions with Akron Children’s Hospital; Wadsworth High School, and University Hospital Health Systems.
One of two Inductees into the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Hall of Fame to be recognized will be Bill Begley. Bill began his sports writing career at the Dayton Daily News in 1984 and then served as sports editor at newspapers in Beavercreek, Xenia, Troy and Lima before moving to Texas in 2006. He has won 58 awards from the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association, the Associated Press and United Press International. The other inductee to be recognized will be Pat Magers, who is in his 50th year of covering high school sports in Northwest Ohio. He started at the Fostoria Review-Times in the fall of 1969 and continued there for 23 years, including 12 as sports editor. He then worked six years as sports editor at the Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune. After making a career change in 1998, Pat has stayed on staff at the Advertiser-Tribune as a part-time sports writer. He has won many writing awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association and has covered every boys state basketball tournament since 1992.
In addition, the OHSAA will recognize the boys basketball teams from Lexington (1999) and Bedford St. Peter Chanel (1999) for the anniversaries of their state championships and schools that have won the 2019 Golden Megaphone Award, which recognizes positive spirit from student cheering sections at basketball games, while special awards will also be presented by the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association.
2019 Boys Basketball State Tournament Pairings
All games at the Jerome Schottenstein Center, The Ohio State University
Rankings are from the Final Associated Press Poll released on Monday, February 18, 2019
Home Team Listed First.
No. 5 Cincinnati Purcell Marian (24-4) vs. No. 2 Canal Winchester Harvest Prep (26-2), Thursday, noon
Cleveland Heights Lutheran East (19-8) vs. Oregon Cardinal Stritch (24-3), Thursday, 2 p.m.
Division III State Championship: Saturday, 10:45 a.m.
Thornville Sheridan (21-5) vs. No. 2 Columbus South (27-1), Thursday, 6 p.m.
Akron Buchtel (20-7) vs. No. 1 Trotwood-Madison (26-2), Thursday, 8 p.m.
Division II State Championship: Saturday, 2 p.m.
No. 1 Berlin Hiland (27-1) vs. No. 3 St. Henry (24-3), Friday, noon
Richmond Heights (21-6) vs. No. 2 Convoy Crestview (26-1), Friday, 2 p.m.
Division IV State Championship: Saturday, 5:15 p.m.
Lakewood St. Edward (19-8) vs. No. 1 Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller (27-0) Friday, 6 p.m.
Powell Olentangy Liberty (24-4) vs. No. 7 Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (23-3), Friday, 8 p.m.
Division I State Championship: Saturday, 8:30 p.m.
Information for this story was provided by the OHSAA.