LEGENDS OF THE GAME - WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
A PERSPECTIVE OF WOMEN’S BASKETBALL IN CENTRAL OHIO
Great teams over the last thirty years from Central Ohio that I had the pleasure to witness. While covering these teams I will name those players whom I consider legendary.
Walnut Ridge team of 1977 featured two outstanding players named Lynn Calander and Pat Harris.
Northland High School won the first State Championship representing the Columbus City League in 1982 with 27-1 record. Their team was coached by Elaine Boltz who finished her career with a 382-167 record. This team featured Georgeann Wells who would make history by being the first woman to dunk a basketball in competition while playing for University of West Virginia. The Northland Viking team also featured Shawn Steward, Dana Jones, and Susazanne Helfant. Northland would produce legendary players over the years which included Lisa Payne, Jeanne Ruh, Chienyere James, and Karen Truske Alexis Peterson.
South High School won the next State Championship representing the City League in 1986. Coached by Ernie Robinson, a legend himself, this team featured Debbie Harrison, an All-State Center, Toya Landrum, Lisa Burns and Tomeka Patterson. This may be one of the best teams ever as they went on to post a 28-0 record.
Brookhaven High School would win the school’s first State Championship in 1996. Helen Darling was one of their outstanding players. This team would go 28-0 and send six girls to Division I schools on full scholarships. Lisa Wube, Latisha Fambro, Toronda Hayes and Tournament MVP, Khali Carter. The 2003 Brookhaven team featured Brittany Hunter who was the only player from the State of Ohio to be named National Player of the Year to the 2003 Parade All-American Basketball Team. Kristin Peoples an All-State point guard was also a member of the 2003 Brookhaven which was a final four participant that year.
The OCC has had two schools win State basketball championships. Those two schools would be Pickerington and Upper Arlington.
Although the OCC had only two schools win State championships, Pickerington has won as many State championships as any school in the history or girls basketball in the State of Ohio. Coached by legendary Dave Butcher, Pickerington has won six State championships featuring legendary players such as Layoya Turner, Beth Orstendorth, Tamara Stocks, Nicole Sachez, Emilee Harmon, Susie Cassell, Michelle Shade, Gwyneth Ballard, and Marcerlla Packer, Amber Stocks, Tamara Stocks. Coach Butcher was named Ohio’s “Coach of the Year” five times, was twice been named to coach in the Nike Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American game, and is Director of the State All-Star Game in Ohio.
Upper Arlington, coached by Dudley Beaver, won the State Championship in ’88. This team featured guard, Tricia Hoptry and forward Peggy Odita. This team was well coached and ran out of bounds plays that are legendary themselves. They scored on more out of bounds plays than any team in Ohio. Peggy Odita would later become a mainstay on the sporting program The Gladiators.
Teams representing the Central Catholic League were Hartley, Bishop Watterson. Hartley won a State Championship in 1976 and 1978 and gain in 2000. Legendary players from Hartley include Toni Roesch, Amy Pallay, Nancy Williams and Julie Plank, Mandy Hart, Georgia Schweitzer.
Logan High School won a State Championship in 1995. They featured Katie Smith, who is one of the top fifteen players to ever play women’s basketball. While I am not sure if Logan High School is actually in Central Ohio, Katie Smith is definitely worth mentioning.
Watterson made several final four appearances coached by Sam Davis. They represented the Central Catholic League and made final four appearances in ’76, ’78, ’81, ’84 and 1987.
Africentric, coached by Will McKinney continues the rich tradition of outstanding girls’ basketball played in Central Ohio and is a coach that is and will be considered a legend.
Other coaches that must be considered in addition to the coaches mentioned above are:
Jack Purtell - Reynoldsburg
Troy Taylor - Mifflin 2010
Jim Miranda - Eastmoor
Rick Hauser - Gahanna Lincoln
Joe Lang - Bishop Ready
Mary Ann Grimes - Dublin Coffman 2013
Don Hardin - Heath 1996
David Dennis - Harvest Prep
Bill Spencer - Eastmoor
Dean Washington - Northland 2012
Dan Walters - Newark 2004
Joe Dudas - Beechcroft 1993
Not wanting to take up too much of your time I will list the other players who while they did not lead their team to state championships, they were legendary players. They are:
Kelli Simpson - Mifflin ‘82
Yvonne Anderson - East High ‘80
Joni Mazzola - Bishop Watterson ‘83
Jai Jones - Brookhaven ‘85
Marchae Dotson - Mifflin 2005
Amanda Hayes - Beechcroft
Sheila Brockington - Brookhaven ‘84
Lorenda Haynes - Wellington 2003
Lauren Prochaska - Jonathan Alder
Hannah Robertson - New Albany 2010
Charisse Crews - Grove City 2001
Stephaine Stevens - Pickerington 2006
Tyesha Moss - Africentric 2008
Raven Ferguson - Africentric 2011
Asia Taylor - Whetsone 2009
Yvonne Anderson - Columbus East ‘80
Alexis Peterson - Northland ‘11
Taylor Agler - Olentangy Orange 2013
Ashleigh Brown - Delaware 2006
Bridjette Brown - Beechcroft 2004
Tanya McClure - Gahanna Lincoln 1997
Gigi Jackson - Mifflin 1992
Crystal Murdaugh - Dublin Scioto 2007
Star Allen - Independence 2005
Tomeka Brown - Marion Franklin 1998
Ayana Dunning - Eastmoor 2008
Reggie Lee - former Head Coach of girls basketball at Brookhaven High School will serve as Greater Columbus Basketball Legend Association's consultant of Women's Basketball. He was inducted into the GCBLA Hall of Fame in 2014, and he was also inducted into the Coach's Hall of Fame for the State of Ohio.
Greater Columbus Basketball Legend Association
On December 21, 1984 Georgeann Wells became the first woman to ever dunk during a college basketball game. The only documentation however, was a tape made by the opposing team's coach, who hid the video. It was only recently uncovered, allowing Georgeann Wells her rightful title.