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COLUMBUS — In a historic move on Thursday, the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors voted unanimously to add girls wrestling and boys volleyball as emerging sports — beginning with the 2022-23 school year.

In addition, the board voted to move girls and boys lacrosse out of the emerging sports category into the list of OHSAA recognized sports, and also committed to discuss partnering with a group to provide a tournament in Esports (gaming).

The Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association has been conducting a girls wrestling tournament since 2020, and the Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association has been conducting its tournament since 1988.

“The OHSAA has been talking with the boys volleyball and girls wrestling leaders for several years and we are now in the position to bring these two sports into the OHSAA,” said OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute. “This move will help those sports continue to grow and allow those student-athletes to compete for an OHSAA state championship. It gives more kids opportunities and that is the mission of the OHSAA.”

As emerging sports, girls wrestling and boys volleyball will be administered like the OHSAA’s current 26 recognized sports, but will have additional requirements — according to OHSAA General Sports Regulation 16 that could lead to full sanctioning in the future.

“We will look to keep a very similar format for the girls wrestling and boys volleyball tournaments as what the coaches associations have been doing,” Ute said. “The girls wrestling state tournament is held in mid-February and the boys volleyball state tournament is held in the spring. We have not yet developed tournament regulations, but we’ll start working on that so that those two sports hit the ground running next fall for the start of the 2022-23 school year.”

The OHSAA added lacrosse in 2016 and the sport has continued to grow and now moves out of the emerging sports category, effective immediately.

With the addition of girls wrestling and boys volleyball, the number of OHSAA sports grows to 28, with 14 for girls and 14 for boys.

The OHSAA has been in conversation with Esports, as it has grown rapidly at both the high school and college level in the last several years.

The OHSAA will look to partner with a group that specializes in Esports, similar to how the OHSAA partnered with Varsity Spirit for its sideline cheerleading competition that was held for the first time this past December.

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Girls Basketball Recaps January 24

Girls Basketball

Portsmouth 40, Gallia Academy 39

CENTENARY — A close encounter indeed, but a good road win — and a season sweep — for the Portsmouth Lady Trojans on Monday night in Gallia County.

That’s because the Lady Trojans edged the host Gallia Academy Blue Angels, winning 40-39 in an Ohio Valley Conference contest.

Portsmouth outscored the Blue Angels in the opening half 28-16, including a decisive 16-7 in the second quarter.

The Blue Angels did the near doubling-up in the second 16 minutes 23-12, although Emily Cheatham’s five third-period points — and Daysha Reid’s seven fourth-frame counters — were enough for the Lady Trojans to hang on.

With the win, the Lady Trojans raised their record to 7-9 —and to 3-8 in the OVC.

Gallia Academy, conversely, fell to 3-15 — and remains winless in conference competition at 0-11.

The Blue Angels eeked out a 15-12 total field goals advantage, but Portsmouth’s productivity at the free-throw line proved important.

The Lady Trojans meshed 12-of-16 for 75-percent, while the Blue Angels only sank six of 18 (33-percent).

Speaking of 18, that’s how many the freshman Reid racked up —on two twos, three three-point goals, and 5-of-8 at the foul line.

The sophomore Cheatham chalked up 10 — on four made baskets and 2-of-3 free throws.

Ayonna Carr chipped in a first-half seven points — on a first-quarter field goal and a perfect 5-of-5 free throws.

Nia Trinidad with a second-stanza three-pointer, and Syd Meadows with a first-quarter bucket, rounded out the PHS scoring.

Gallia Academy five-foot and 10-inch freshman Kenya Peck, on seven field goals and 3-of-8 foul shots, scored a team-high 17 points.

The Lady Trojans return home, and return to OVC action, on Wednesday evening against Chesapeake.

The league makeup matchup is set for 6:30 p.m.

Minford 59, Green 25

MINFORD — The young Minford Lady Falcons kept their second-half season surge going on Monday —with a 59-25 non-league victory over the visiting Green Lady Bobcats.

The Lady Falcons limited Green to single digits in all four cantos —and led 16-9 at the opening stop, 35-10 at halftime, and 53-18 following three frames.

Minford senior Bella Reffit — on four deuces and three treys —recorded a game-high 17 points to pace the winners.

Kynedi Davis dialed up for 13 points —on two twos and three threes.

Lexi Conkel scored seven and Savannah Cantrell had six, as both made three field goals —with Conkel knocking in a three-point goal.

Maggie Risner registered the Lady Falcons’ other made three, and finished with five points —as Ava Cronin scored four on two first-half baskets.

Rounding out the Minford scoring were Lexi Pendleton, Marlee Pendleton and Baylee Hammonds all with two —and Jackie Pendleton with a split of free throws.

Green’s 25 points came courtesy of two players —Kasey Kimbler with 13 and Anna Knapp with 12.

Kimbler cashed 5-of-6 free throws through the opening three quarters, then hit two triples and one deuce.

Knapp netted three first-frame field goals, split a second-period pair of free throws, bucketed a trifecta in the third, and finally finished her night with a two.

The Lady Falcons are now 8-7, while the Lady Bobcats fell to 4-7.

South Webster 59, Northwest 37

McDERMOTT — There was no letdown for these Lady Jeeps.

That’s because South Webster, with a massive 58-56 non-league triumph at previously-undefeated Trimble on Saturday in its back pockets, returned to winning —and winning inside the Southern Ohio Conference Division II on Monday.

South Webster went off for 22 opening-period points, and went on to defeat the host Northwest Lady Mohawks by a 59-37 count.

The Lady Jeeps led at every stop —22-9 at the first, 31-21 at halftime, and 45-30 following the third.

They turned their 10-point halftime advantage into a second-half runaway —outscoring Northwest 28-16.

Bri Claxon, coming off her season-high 36 in the win at Trimble, collected another game-high 25 points against the Lady Mohawks.

She sank 10 total field goals including a first-quarter three-pointer, and meshed 4-of-7 freebies.

The Lady Jeeps’ other senior, Faith Maloney, muscled for eight baskets for 16 points —including five of those for 10 third-period counters.

Bella Claxon with three buckets, Makayla Raynard with a two and a three, Skylar Zimmerman with a first-quarter three-ball, and buckets apiece by Grace Baker and Riley Raynard rounded out the South Webster scoring.

Northwest was led in scoring by senior Ava Jenkins — who tossed in 15 markers on four twos, the Lady Mohawks’ lone three, and 4-of-4 charity makes.

Daria Compton scored six, Reagan Lewis landed five, Kloe Montgomery and Audrey Knittel netted two baskets apiece, and Faith Jewett scored three for the Lady Mohawks.

The Lady Jeeps raised their records to 12-4 and 8-2 in the SOC II —and will host West (7-1 SOC II) on Wednesday evening in a second-place positioning contest in the league.

Northwest, with the loss, fell to 7-10 —and to 1-10 in the division.

Wheelersburg 46, Oak Hill 16

OAK HILL — The Wheelersburg Lady Pirates checked off yet another Southern Ohio Conference Division II tilt on Monday —and in the process put senior standout Alaina Keeney on the doorstep of a career milestone.

That’s because visiting Wheelersburg won its 54th consecutive SOC II bout, rolling past the Oak Hill Lady Oaks 46-16 to complete that season sweep.

The Lady Pirates’ perfect record is now 15-0, and at 10-0 and atop the SOC II.

The Lady Oaks — as Wheelersburg outscored them 13-2 in the opening quarter and topped them 22-6 by halftime —are now 10-7, and at 5-6 in the league.

Keeney needed 18 points to reach her high school career 1,000th —and split a pair of free throws for her game-high 17th and final point against Oak Hill.

Keeney connected on three-point goals in quarters one and three, then drilled two more trifectas for the fourth quarter —along with her two twos and her final-minute free throw.

She will now reach her 1000th on Wednesday —when Wheelersburg goes to Eastern for an SOC II makeup matchup at 6 p.m.

Against the Oaks, Madison Whittaker swished three threes and a two towards 11 points, as Lexie Rucker recorded four field goals for eight.

Makenna Walker with a second-stanza three and a first-quarter freebie, and three points apiece by Macee Eaton and Annie Coriell, rounded out the Lady Pirates’ scoring.

For Coriell, it was a three.

Waverly 79, Eastern 63

WAVERLY — The Waverly Lady Tigers won their sixth consecutive contest on Monday, defeating visiting Eastern 79-63 — in a high-scoring Southern Ohio Conference Division II affair.

The Lady Tigers doubled up on the Lady Eagles in the opening two salvos —23-12 and 24-12 for a 47-24 halftime lead.

With the win, Waverly raised its record to 12-4 and 7-3 in the SOC II —as Eastern fell to 3-14, and a winless 0-12 in the division.

Kellie Stewart and Bailey Vulgamore combined for 58 of the Tigers’ almost 80 points —as Stewart stuffed the stat sheet for team-highs with 32 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and seven steals.

She made 14 total field goals including 13 deuces, and shot a third-quarter 3-of-4 on foul shots.

For Vulgamore, she amassed four twos and four treys —and shot 6-of-8 at the line en route to 26 points.

She also grabbed eight rebounds, as Delaney Tackett tacked on 10 points and seven boards.

Tackett’s 10 points consisted of two twos and two threes.

Sarah Thompson tallied seven first-half markers, including an old-fashioned three-point play — and Ava Little and Morgan Crabtree each had an opening-half basket.

Eastern senior scoring machine Abby Cochenour poured in a game-high 33 points —on 10 twos, two of the Eagles’ four trifectas, and 7-of-8 free throws.

Addison Cochenour added 15 points —on seven total field goals, including six twos.

Waverly will go for its seventh straight victory on Thursday night — in a key SOC II showdown against visiting West.

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