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Potters’ Jackson headlines All-Area boys basketball

From Staff Reports

East Liverpool senior Tresean Jackson put his name at the top of the Potter record books.

Jackson, who guided the Potters to a second straight district final, headlines the Morning Journal’s 2019-20 All-Area boys basketball team.

He is the All-Area player of the year after setting East Liverpool records for most career points (1,387) and three-pointers (217).

“Tresean has put his name up there with one of the best to play at East Liverpool,” Potters coach Nate Conley said. “He did what he needed to do in the off-season to prepare himself to be one of the best players in the valley.”

Jackson, a second-team Division II All-Ohioan and the Columbiana County co-player of the year, sparked the Potters to an 18-6 record and another Buckeye 8 North Division title.

He led the Potters by averaging 21.5 points and 4.5 assists a game, while connecting on 55 three-pointers.

“He faced a box-and-one or a faceguard in every single game and he still had the season he had,” Conley said. “He become more than just a shooter. He became a complete basketball player on both ends of the floor.”

Columbiana’s Todd Johnson is the All-Area coach of the year after guiding the Clippers to a 19-5 record and the outright Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference title, their first league crown since 2008.

“It been a long time since Columbiana won a league title,” Johnson said. “That was always a goal. That’s one of the things we talked about this year with this group, we want to put a number on that wall.”

The Clippers didn’t have a superstar, but was hard to beat with a balanced and deep attack on both ends of the court.

“You don’t see eight kids come through a (senior) class like that in basketball,” Johnson said. “Hopefully that will be the class that springboards us. I’ve got some juniors coming back I’m excited about.”

The Clippers’ 18 regular-season wins was one off the school mark set by the 2007-08 squad and they defeated Youngstown Mooney at home for a Division III sectional title.

Jackson returns to the All-Area first team along with Southern senior Cam Grodhaus, South Range senior Chris Brooks, West Branch senior Reese Leone and Sebring senior Gabe Lanzer. They are joined on the first team by Wellsville senior Darien Suggs, Columbiana senior Matthew Mazei and East Palestine sophomore Jonathan Bertovich.

Here is a look at the rest of the All-Area honorees:

CAM GRODHAUS (Southern) — Grodhaus sparked the Indians to a school-best 18-7 record and the fourth district final appearance in school history. He averaged a team-high 20.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.8 steals a game. “He is a kid who always seems up to the challenge,” Southern coach Gerard Grimm said. “He never let the other kids on the team be intimidated by the moment. He was a steadying influence for the team. Cam wanted the ball in his hands in big moments. He also worked very hard to improve on some of the things he felt he needed work on.” Grodhaus is the fourth Southern boy to score 1,000 career points, finishing with 1,141.

DARIEN SUGGS (Wellsville) — Suggs missed the first eight games after breaking his arm during football season and then hit the ground running in January. He led the Tigers in scoring (18.6) and assists (5.1) and was second in rebounds (6.4). “Since I’ve had him, he’s been a total team player,” Wellsville coach David “Bug” Thompson said. “He carried us pretty much. When he came back is when we started to turn it around. He came back and it was like he never missed a beat without practice. I hate to see him go.”

MATTHEW MAZEI (Columbiana) — The 6-foot-6 Mazei played a big part in the Clippers’ success. He averaged 11.0 points and 9.0 rebounds a game while shooting 57 percent from the field. Mazei also set the school record with 104 career blocks. “He was an absolutely key piece to what we did this year,” Columbiana coach Todd Johnson said. “He was one of the best, if not the best post player in the area. You don’t really see back-to-the-basket players with either hand anymore. He has a great work ethic. He’s a kid I absolutely loved to coach four years.”

JONATHAN BERTOVICH (East Palestine) — Bertovich was the area’s leading scorer as a sophomore, averaging 25.5 points and setting a single-season school record with 586 points. “He’s not only a great basketball player, he’s also getting it done in the classroom,” East Palestine coach Bill Stanton said. “On the court, this year was a big year for him because he got to step up and be a leader with the seniors.” Bertovich shot 55.4 percent from two-point range, 39.2 percent from three-point range and 85.7 percent from the foul line, while averaging 3.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.2 steals.

CHRIS BROOKS (South Range) — Brooks, a third-team Division III All-Ohioan, guided the Raiders to a 16-9 record against a tough schedule that included 19 games against Division II teams. “Chris isn’t a real verbal kid as an oral leader, but on the floor, he is a very good example about how to go your business,” South Range coach John Cullen said “He wasn’t about stats, he wanted to win.” Brooks led the team in scoring (19.4), rebounds (11.4), field goal percentage (56.3 percent), blocked shots and double doubles (15). He also is second in school history with 1,046 points and 620 rebounds. He accounted for more than 40 percent of the team’s points and rebounds. “I’ve never had anyone who was such a consistent player with what he does best,” Cullen said. “I tell my players do what you do best and do it a lot. He was pretty darn good at doing that. “

REESE LEONE (West Branch) — Leone, a four-year starting point guard, guided the Warriors to an 18-5 season and the Eastern Buckeye League title — their first outright league crown since 1991. He averaged a team-high 16.3 points and five assists a game, while shooting 38 percent from three-point range. Leone is the Warriors’ all-time leading scorer with 1,160 career points and also has the most three-pointers. “Reese is a poster child for hard work, dedication and love of the game,” West Branch coach Michael Brown said. “I am happy for Reese as he was able to break many school records this year, but more importantly he has made a positive impact on future generations here at West Branch. He was a great scorer, but even a better leader.”

GABE LANZER (Sebring) — Lanzer was a threat all over the floor for the 15-win Trojans, shooting 70.1 percent from two-point range and 41.7 percent from three-point range. He averaged a team-high 16.2 points a game and connected on 58 three-pointers. Lanzer is third on Sebring’s all-time scoring list with 1,248 career points. “Gabe has been a leader on and off the court for our program,” Sebring coach Brian Clark said. “He worked hard in every shooting drill in practice because he knew that he would be taking big shots down the stretch of our toughest games. His teammates had complete faith in him as a scorer from around the rim or shooting threes. He will be remembered as one of the greatest players in Sebring’s rich history.”

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