Guards don’t just dominate the Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Boys Basketball Team. They virtually are the All-Press Team. In voting by 11 area coaches and 10 media members, 13 of the 15 players who comprise the first, second, and third teams spend most of their time in the backcourt. Only four of the guards are seniors.
If these were actual teams, a coach would have no problem placing a couple of these guys at a wing or post position. Why? Because most are underclassmen and most are six feet or taller.
Northwood resident and Associated Press first team all-state selection Eric Cellier is this year’s Press Player of the Year. Cellier, a 6-2 senior guard at Toledo Christian, is the first local resident who plays for a non-local school to get the honor.
Cellier averaged 21.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 3.6 assists. He was a 62.9 percent shooter from 2-point range, 48.1 percent shooter from behind the 3-point arc, and 80.4 percent at the free throw line.
He led the Eagles to a 22-3 overall record and a Toledo Area Athletic Conference championship (13-1). Non-league wins include games against Clay (52-43) and Eastwood (85-62), If you include TC with the 10 local boys basketball teams, the Eagles were the only team to get out of the sectional tournament.
The Eagles opened the regular season with a 44-41 loss to Lake and lost to Division IV regional finalist Ottawa Hills twice — once in league play (49-47) in once in the district final (65-50).
TC coach Dave McWhinnie says Cellier is currently looking at several schools to play collegiately and could make a decision soon. McWhinnie said Cellier had “a very good offer” just last week.
“Eric is an outstanding young man and leader,” McWhinnie said. “He has an incredible work ethic and passion for the game of basketball. Eric is an outstanding 3-point shooter and attacks the rim well, but what sets him apart from most other high school players is his mid-range game. He has great anticipation skills on defense and led us in steals.
“Eric comes from a wonderful family that has supported his passion for the game. Eric's passion and commitment to constant improvement has inspired many young players in the school and he has left quite a mark on our basketball program,” McWhinnie continued.
Also getting POY votes were Lake sophomore point guard Connor Bowen, Lake sophomore guard Jared Rettig, Waite junior guard Tawyn Mason, Cardinal Stritch Catholic sophomore guard Austin Adams, and Clay junior guard Patricc Booth.
Still, Cellier had more votes than the rest combined.
|Toledo Christian guard Eric Cellier goes to the basket against Cardinal Stritch. (Press photo by Scott Grau)
||Lake coach Ryan Bowen. (Press photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.lifepics.com)
Adams, Connor Bowen, Eastwood junior guard Jake Schmeltz, and Woodmore senior wing Donny Bowen join Cellier on the All-Press first team. The last vote getter garnered 27 points, so Mason just missed first team with 26 points while the next second team selection had 16 points.
For the third year in a row, Lake coach Ryan Bowen earns Press Coach of the Year honors. If that sounds like a feat, this happens to be Ryan Bowen’s third season at the helm of any varsity program, and he’s chosen his alma mater. In those three years, his teams’ have steadily improved, finishing 12-8, 15-5, and 19-4 (46-17).
Like Cellier, Bowen received over half the votes to earn the top honor. McWhinnie, despite coaching at a school across the Maumee River, Eastwood first-year coach Matt Routson, and Oak Harbor coach Eric Sweet, the son of legendary former Ottawa-Glandorf mentor Dave Sweet, also received votes.