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Four repeaters an all-county girls team (03-19-14) PDF Print E-mail
Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 10:41
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There are four repeat selections, including two from Perrysburg, on the All-Wood County girls basketball team this season.
The Yellow Jackets' Sarah Baer, a senior, and Allex Brown, a junior, are repeat selections along with Elmwood senior Kristen Curtis and Rossford senior Julie Hotz.
Rounding out the first team are Bowling Green senior Hanna Williford, and Lake junior Jordyn Taylor. Williford and Taylor were honorable mention picks last season.
The team was selected by the Sentinel-Tribune sports staff.
Baer and Brown provided a tough inside tandem for the Yellow Jackets, who were ranked sixth in the state while winning the Northern Lakes League championship and finishing 22-4 overall.
Two of Perrysburg's losses were to Toledo Notre Dame, including a season-ending defeat in the district final. Notre Dame advanced to the state semifinals before losing.
Baer, a second-team All-Ohio selection, averaged 17.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.
''She became a much better offensive player this year,'' Perrysburg head coach Todd Sims said. ''Her range is a little further away from the basket than it was last year. She was much harder, more difficult to guard.
''Her biggest strength is running the floor,'' Sims continued. ''She can out run the other post players. She can go the full 84 feet and shoot a layup. That's definitely one of her strengths, her mobility.''
When not scoring, Baer, the NLL player of the year, was grabbing more of her share of rebounds.
''She's so quick to the ball, she's a quick leaper, and she has really good hands. Those are the three things you need to be a great rebounder, and she's got all three,'' Sims said.
Brown, who came off the bench as a sophomore was a starter this year for the Yellow Jackets. She averaged 12.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. When adding in the postseason where Brown had 47 rebounds in four games, she joins Baer in averaging a double-double for the season.
''Allex has pretty good range with her shot, and she can stretch the defense out,'' Sims said.
''Allex's best thing is her work ethic,'' Sims continued. ''She works harder than anyone else, she goes after the ball harder than anyone else. She gets rebounds from across the court that other people would give up; she chases them down.''
Sims was also pleased with the defense that Baer and Brown could provide.
''We were lucky to have two post players who were very active,'' Sims said.
Baer and Brown, both 6-foot-1, are going to play Division I college basketball. Baer, the NLL player of the year, has signed to play with Bowling Green. Brown has made a verbal commitment to Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis.
At Elmwood, hard work paid off for Curtis, 5-10, who averaged 16.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in helping the Royals win a second straight Northern Buckeye Conference.
''She just worked all summer long,'' said Elmwood head coach Doug Reynolds. ''She played AAU out of Toledo and she traveled to Indianapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati. She got the competition she needed.
''She was in the gym all summer. She would stay after practices and work on her shooting,'' he added. ''She's just a great kid, that you know is going to give her all and put the team first.''
Curtis shot 50 percent from the field, 34 percent on 3-pointers, and 82 percent from the free-throw line.
''We knew going into the year, she had to be a scorer; she had to score 15 or more points a game,'' Reynolds said. ''She averaged about 11 and one-half shots a game, and we could have had her shoot 20, but she is very unselfish.''
Reynolds added that Curtis, who was the NBC player of the year and honorable mention All-Ohio, became a team leader this season.
''You always look for that senior, who is going to step up and lead,'' Curtis said. ''She is a quiet girl, but on the floor she started talking, telling kids where they needed to be.
''She just improved in that area, tremendously.''
Rossford's Hotz could do it all, said first-year head coach Eric Simon.
''She did what we needed. We were a little under-sized, so we had to play her in the post sometimes and I'm pretty sure she led our league in rebounding,'' Simon said. ''She's only 5-8 and she should play a wing position. And there were many times she handled the ball and she was the difference in our breaking the press.''
Hotz averaged 14.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game
''She seemed to score when it mattered the most. She didn't score a lot of her points in garbage time'' Simon said. ''She played her best in big games.
''She's a great player, but it's the kids around her that helped. ... Without them, she won't be able to do the things that she did,'' Simon added.
At Bowling Green, Williford became the leader of the Bobcats, head coach Jeff Nichols said.
''She grew into the role of being the point-guard, and leading the team this year with her play in all areas of the game,'' Nichols said. ''It was great to see because it really did help us this year.''
Williford averaged 14.3 points, 3.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game.
''It was a great group of young ladies, and the abilities she was able to provide to the team, sometimes just refusing to give up and keep playing really make it the kind of year it was.''
The Bobcats finished 13-12 and advanced to the district semifinal before losing 71-68 to Toledo Rogers. Rogers lost in the state semifinals. Williford scored 26 points in the Rogers game.
At Lake, Taylor has been a varsity starter for three years.
"I don't want to hurt any Eastwood kids' feelings, but this kid works as hard as anybody I have ever coached,'' said Lake head coach Jim Gracyk. who was 300-97 while coaching at Eastwood. He has been Lake's head coach the past two years. ''When in comes to the day-in, day-out rigors of practice, she does not take a day off. She not take a drill off. She does not take a repetition off. She's got her foot to the floor.
''She is very coachable ... She just goes out and goes to work,'' Gracyk continued. ''There is not a coach out there that wouldn't want her on their squad. She just makes everyone around her better.
Taylor averaged 10.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4-9 assists per game this season.
All statistics are for the regular season.
 

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