United’s Zehentbauer highlights All-Area girls team

United senior Emily Zehentbauer led her team in the right direction.

Zehentbauer, who guided the Eagles to two straight Division III district titles, is the Morning Journal’s 2012-13 All-Area girls basketball player of the year.

“Over the last two years as the starting point guard, Emily has compiled a 45-7 mark,” United coach Sam Mathias said. “She is the only point guard in the area with all these credentials.”

Zehentbauer took her game to another level and sparked United to a school-best 24-3 season, including a fifth straight Inter-Tri County League upper tier title. The Eagles went 28-0 in league play the past two seasons under her guidance.

“Emily is a great team player,” Mathias said. “She worked hard to make sure United won and became one of the best programs in the area.”

Zehentbauer’s play improved this season as she led the Eagles to their best season ever. She nearly doubled her scoring average, averaging a team-high 15.5 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals a game.

“She worked well with the younger players and was a true leader for the team,” Mathias said. “It has been a pleasure to coach Emily for the last two seasons.”

Lisbon’s Jason Thompson is the All-Area coach of the year after guiding the Blue Devils to a late-season run.

The Blue Devils finished the season at 15-11, including thrilling tournament wins over Youngstown Christian, Jackson-Milton and Columbiana on the way to their first district final since 1991.

“When I looked at our schedule, I thought we had the possibility of doing that if they all played to their potential,” Thompson said. “That wasn’t the case, but we had high expectations regardless.”

Joining Zehentbauer on the first team are Crestview senior Ashley Harrison, Columbiana senior Khylea Fullum, Lisbon senior Pam Pierce, South Range senior Lexi Naples, United junior Mackenzie Gatchel and West Branch sophomores Melinda Trimmer and Pavin Heath.

See Saturday’s Morning Journal for the complete All-Area girls team.