OVAC?All-Star hoop games today

For many Ohio Valley seniors, today will be the final time they put on a basketball uniform.

So, it’s understandable that they’re anxious to put on the best show possible.

The annual Samuel A. Mumley OVAC All-Star Basketball Classic is scheduled for this afternoon at Ohio University Eastern in St. Clairsville.

The girls’ game begins at 3 p.m. and the boys’ encounter is slated for a 5:30 p.m. tip. The afternoon of events actually gets under way for the players and coaches at 12:30 when they’re treated to a banquet at Undo’s West in St. Clairsville at 12:30 p.m.

The boys’ game has a chance to be one of the more entertaining affairs in quite sometime.

Both Ohio and West Virginia feature some high-level talent.

St. Clairsville’s Kim Clifford is coaching the Buckeye stars for the fourth time in his career and it’s extra special since he’ll be coaching Red Devils’ standout Dan Monteroso in his final prep hoop game.

Another all-Ohioan to keep an eye on today is Cambridge’s Kyle Ritz. The Bobcats’ standout was named MVP of the District 12 All-Star Game Friday night.

Martins Ferry’s Cody Schau is another Ohioan to keep an eye on today. He’s been able to score the basketball at a high level throughout his career, including a 27 points per game clip this season.

River’s Brett Price led the Pilots to the Division IV regional this past season. He was a third-team all-Ohioan and will also take part in the Ohio North-South Game in a few weeks.

Another all-Ohioan Brandon Bailey of Conotton Valley had an exceptional senior campaign, earning second-team all-Ohioan. Bailey helped the Rockets to the OVAC Class 1A title.

“I know West Virginia has a really good team, too, but we really have a lot of guys who can score,” Clifford said. “We practiced twice, but both times we mixed groups up well. The kids understand that everyone’s an all-star and they’re getting along well. We’ll try to mix it up our groups to make them as balanced as we can.”

On the other side, West Virginia University signee Nathan Adrian of Morgantown will be taking part in the game. He’ll be joined by Magnolia’s Mark Winters, who was named the MVP of the BACF Game on Friday night in Parkersburg.

River’s Rick Isaly is guiding the Ohio girls today. He’ll be joined on the bench by Bridgeport’s Rob Zitzelsberger.

“We’ve got a lot of nice shooters and guards,” Isaly said. “We’re hoping to make it as up-tempo a game as we can. We want the kids to enjoy themselves, but we also want to win the game.”

The Ohio girls’ squad is led by Shadyside’s Karli Bonar. The OHSAA state record holder for career 3-point goals will also play in the Ohio North-South Game.

Fort Frye, which qualified for the state tournament in Ohio Division III, will have both Taylor Buchanan and Morgan Liedtke taking part.

First-team all-Ohioan Jessica Kinney of Martins Ferry will be one of the key Ohio players to watch, along with Cambridge’s Mallory Taylor, who was was the MVP of the District 12 game on Friday.

The West Virginia squad will be led by Robert Morris signee Emily Puskarich of Wheeling Park. Her running mate for four years, Haley Robb, will also be in action today.

Wheeling Central’s standout duo of Colleen McCormick and Emily Bucon will be two players to watch along with John Marshall’s Kylie Howard.

At halftime of each game, there will be a 3-point shootout for the players.

Several special awards are scheduled to be presented today. Those slated to receive special recognition are: Tom Tribett (boys coach), Jim Miller (girls coach), Al Glitch (timer/scorekeeper award), the late Dave Ice (distinguished service) and John Howell (officials award).

The complete rosters for today’s games can be found on Page C7.

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com