Central Ohio High School Sports Awards: Finalists announced for Super 12 girls basketball

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Central Ohio High School Sports Awards

Leader, hard worker and competitor were common themes when coaches described the members of the ThisWeek Super 12 girls basketball team.

All the honorees are finalists to be named Captain – our girls basketball Athlete of the Year. That honor will be announced during the Central Ohio High School Sports Awards online show at 8 p.m. June 30.

Finalists should register at sportsawards.usatoday.com/centralohio. Bios for previous honorees are available by clicking on the H.S. Sports Awards link at ThisWeekSPORTS.com.

Next week, we’ll announce the honorees for boys basketball.

Below is the Super 12 for girls basketball:

Aja Austin

Aja Austin, Westerville South

This 6-foot-1 senior center averaged 21.9 points and 12 rebounds and shot 68 percent from the field.

A Delaware recruit, Austin was named first-team all-district and all-OCC-Capital Division and second-team all-state in Division I. 

South was 11-5 and preparing for a postseason run when Austin suffered a season-ending left ACL injury in a 44-38 win at Canal Winchester on Feb. 5. She had surgery Feb. 23, and the Wildcats finished 11-7.

“She had a phenomenal season and did everything we have asked her to do,” coach Jermaine Guice said. “I wish she did not get hurt so she might have been able to achieve a few more of her goals. She is very smart and hardworking, and we wish her a quick recovery.”

Maliyah Johnson

Maliyah Johnson, Africentric

A 6-0 senior forward who has committed to Pittsburgh, Johnson was first-team all-City League-South and all-district and third-team all-state in Division III.

Johnson started in 2018 and 2019 when the Nubians won back-to-back state titles, as well as during her junior season when they qualified for the state tournament before it was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

This winter, she averaged 15 points and 6.0 rebounds as Africentric finished 11-3 and had its season end with a 38-34 loss to Ottawa-Glandorf in a regional final. In the a 54-50 overtime win over Willard in a regional semifinal, Johnson had 20 points and seven rebounds.

“She has a tremendous motor and is a really good rebounder and scorer,” coach Will McKinney said.

Jenna Kopyar

Jenna Kopyar, Dublin Coffman

The 3-pointer Kopyar hit with 20 seconds left in a Division I regional semifinal, helping Coffman defeat Reynoldsburg 60-57, was one of many big moments for the 5-10 sophomore guard.

Kopyar was first-team all-OCC-Central and all-district and second-team all-state as the Shamrocks finished 23-2 and were regional runners-up. 

She averaged 12.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.8 steals while shooting 50 percent from the field.

“Jenna is the ultimate competitor,” coach Adam Banks said. “Only a sophomore, (she’s) wise beyond her years in terms of basketball experience. She was a captain this year and one of our leaders. She’s a knock-down shooter from anywhere on the court (and) is our primary ball-handler. ... She has a little bit of old-school toughness in her game.”

Kami Kortokrax

Kami Kortokrax, Hartley

Although Kortokrax has committed to play softball for Ohio State, she helped Hartley earn a Division II district title and closed her prep basketball career with 831 points and 528 rebounds.

A 5-10 senior forward, Kortokrax averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 57 percent from the field and 46 percent from 3-point range.

She also was first-team all-CCL and all-district and second-team all-state as the Hawks finished 15-6.

“She’s (a) leader,” coach Donald Dennis said. “She’s just a really positive kid and a hard worker, the kind of kid you want to lead your program. She’s there every night with consistency. (You) know what (you’re) going to get out of her and she gives it every night.”

Kilyn McGuff

Kilyn McGuff, Watterson

McGuff earned first-team all-CCL and all-district and third-team all-state honors as Watterson finished 17-5, won the league title and had a third consecutive Division I district runner-up finish.

After averaging 14 points as a junior when the Eagles went 23-3, the 5-11 senior guard averaged 16.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.6 steals while shooting 81.8 percent from the free-throw line.

She has committed to Belmont.

“I only had one season with Kilyn, but it was really a treat,” coach Sam Davis said. “It’s hard for a player of her caliber to get a new coach in her senior season with an entirely different offensive scheme, but Kilyn was very coachable and worked hard to grasp the concepts we were teaching. Her leadership qualities were revealed by how hard she worked.”

Mya Perry

Mya Perry, Reynoldsburg

An Ohio State commit, this 5-11 junior forward shot 50.1 percent from the field, including 43.9 percent from 3-point range, as the Raiders went 16-5 and won their third consecutive Division I district championship. 

She averaged 15.3 points and 2.5 rebounds while earning first-team all-OCC-Buckeye, second-team all-district and special mention all-state honors.

“Mya is a tremendous player and even better person,” coach Jack Purtell said. “She took on a leadership role on our team this year and led by example in both practice and games. She’s a very hard worker and one of the best shooters we’ve ever had, if not the best.”

As a sophomore, Perry averaged 14 points and was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Imarianah Russell

Imarianah Russell, Reynoldsburg

In her first season with Reynoldsburg after spending her first two seasons at Coffman, this 5-11 junior guard put together her best statistical season.

After averaging 17.0 points as a freshman and 12.0 as a sophomore when she was named OCC-Central Player of the Year for the Shamrocks, Russell averaged 20.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists while also leading the Raiders in steals (70) as they went 16-5.

A first-team all-league, all-district and all-state honoree, Russell scored the 1,000th point of her career in a 73-31 win over Gahanna on Feb. 2.

“Imarianah is a tremendous athlete and crazy explosive,” Purtell said. “She’s hard to guard and plays extremely hard. Her competitiveness and effort on the defensive end set her apart.”

Lauren Scott

Lauren Scott, Worthington Kilbourne 

Scott made program history this season, becoming the third Kilbourne player to reach 1,000 career points. 

The 5-7 guard, who ended the season with 1,186 career points, also was the first Wolves player to reach the milestone as a junior. 

She led the Wolves in scoring for the second year in a row, averaging 21.6 points. She earned OCC-Capital Player of the Year, first-team all-district and third-team all-state honors, leading Kilbourne to a 16-8 record. 

“Lauren is a player who exemplifies heart, attitude, grit and all-out hustle,” coach Stephanie Jones said. “She is ambitious, efficient, extremely dependable and a much-committed individual. She is a team player with great sportsmanship and has an excellent rapport with her teammates and coaches.”

Arianna Smith

Arianna Smith, Africentric

A three-year starter for the Nubians, this 6-2 senior guard and Indiana State commit was asked to take on a heavier ball-handling load this season and averaged 14 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists as the Nubians went 11-3 and won their sixth consecutive City title and 13th overall.

Smith scored 20 points as Africentric beat Cardington 58-33 to earn its 16th district championship in 18 seasons.

She helped Africentric win back-to-back state titles in 2018 and 2019, win a regional title in 2020 and earn a regional runner-up finish this winter.

“She had to play point guard this year and she was absolutely wonderful for us this year,” McKinney said. “She did it all. She rebounded, ran the offense, scored and defended the other team’s best player.”

Jocelyn Tate

Jocelyn Tate, Pickerington Central

Tate, a 5-11 senior forward and Bowling Green recruit, averaged 7.1 points to help the Tigers to a late-season surge and their sixth consecutive Division I district championship.

Central won 11 games in a row from Jan. 26-Feb. 27 and finished 13-7, falling to eventual state runner-up Newark 65-26 in a regional semifinal. Tate was first-team all-OCC-Buckeye, second-team all-district and honorable mention all-state.

She finished her career with 502 rebounds, 241 steals and 233 assists.

“She impacts the game on both ends of the court,” coach Johnathan Hedgepeth said. “She has an explosive first step that allows her to get to the basket and create opportunities for her teammates. On the defensive side, she creates havoc with her instincts and length.”

Bella Ward

Bella Ward, Gahanna Lincoln

Ward was asked to take on a leading role for the first time and responded by averaging 15.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals while earning OCC-Ohio Player of the Year honors.

A 6-0 junior forward, Ward helped Gahanna finish 15-6 overall and win the league title at 10-0. 

She has committed to Butler and will enter her senior season with 718 career points and 323 career rebounds.

“I thought Bella had a great year,” coach Ron Bailey said. “Throughout the course of the season, Bella did an awesome job stepping up and leading our young basketball team. During practice and competition, Bella’s grit, mental toughness, determination and positive leadership motivated our team to compete at a high level.”

Katherine Weakley

Katherine Weakley, Worthington Christian

The Division III district Player of the Year and a first-team all-state honoree, Weakley helped Worthington Christian finish 23-2 and earn a regional runner-up finish.

A 5-10 senior guard, she averaged 20.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.8 steals and scored a program-record 40 points in a 73-37 win over Thomas Worthington on Dec. 7.

A Lipscomb commit, Weakley closed her career with 1,539 points to rank second in program history. She also shot 85.1 percent from the free-throw line this season, second best in program history.

“Her offseason work paid off,” coach Jason Dawson said. “She challenged her deficiencies and continued to work. She was the leader that made everyone else want to work hard and is a big-time competitor.”

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