The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Feb. 26, 2024

VW independent sports

Crestview post player Wren Sheets has been named Northwest Conference Player of the Year and Spencerville head coach Kevin Sensabaugh has been named as NWC Coach of the year in balloting done on Sunday.

Sheets, a 6–6 junior forward/center, was a key cog in Crestview’s 15-7 (6-2 NWC) regular season. The Knights will host Continental in the Division IV sectional semifinals on Wednesday. 

Sensabaugh led the Bearcats to an 18-4 (8-0 NWC) record this season, plus an outright conference championship, the program’s second straight NWC title. In addition, the Bearcats had five players earn all conference honors. 

Sheets was the only Crestview player named to the all-conference first team. Spencerville’s Owen Sensabaugh and Carter Sudhoff were named all-NWC first team, along with Delphos Jefferson’s Karder Agner, Marek Donaldson of Bluffton and Carson Clum of Allen East.

Second team all-NWC honors went to Columbus Grove’s Trenton Barbara, Ty Lakers of Leipsic, Bluffton’s Wade Ginther and Blake Sommers and Spencerville’s Will Sensabaugh.

Honorable mention accolades went to Crestview’s Connor Sheets, Lincolnview’s Cal Evans, Isaac Gallmeier of Delphos Jefferson, Carder Orr and Evan Osting of Spencerville, Jayce Brecht of Leipsic, Bo Birnesser and Kyle Hopkins of Columbus Grove, Allen East’s Ethan Young, and Zack Zimmerman of Ada. 

POSTED: 02/26/24 at 6:13 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

A first took place at Lima Central Catholic on Saturday, and Crestview, Lincolnview and Van Wert all had wrestlers advance from sectional wrestling to district competition on Saturday.

Division III sectionals at Lima Central Catholic

LIMA — Gavin Grubb became Crestview’s first ever sectional champion on Saturday.

The 126-pound senior accomplished the historic feat by pinning Landon Dasher of Paulding in the finals in just 46 seconds in the Division III sectional finals at Lima Central Catholic on Saturday. Grubb’s other wins on the day came via a :09 pin of Ada’s Zaiden Denslow in the quarterfinals, and a pin of Columbus Grove’s Evan Pitts in :54 in the semifinals.

Gavin Grubb is Crestview’s first ever sectional champion. Photo submitted

“My advice to him was get on the mat and get off the mat as quickly as you can,” head coach Jake Sawmiller said. “Leave no room for mistake. I guess he took that advice to heart today. He’s such an amazing wrestler and just gave himself the best possible chance he could as he heads into a very deep district bracket where he needs to find a way through seven of the top 12 wrestlers in the state to advance.”

Other district-bound wrestlers from Crestview are Levi Grace (third, 150), Evan Walls (third, 215), Jackson Marks (fourth, 138) and Ayden Martin (fourth, 165). Grace pinned Riley Mueller of Delphos St. John’s in 3:28 in the third place match, and Walls pinned Parkway’s Derrick Wagner in 2:47. Marks lost by default in the fourth place match and Martin dropped a 3-1 sudden victory match to Braeden Conn of Parkway. As a team, Crestview finished seventh at sectionals.

Lincolnview’s Cody Ricker also qualified for district competition. Ricker finished fourth at 144 pounds after being pinned by Coldwater’s Brady Hamilton in his final match of the day. Teammate Joey Sawyer will serve as a district alternate at 138 pounds after finishing fifth at sectionals. The Lancers finished 12th overall.

Allen East edged Columbus Grove for the team title (189.5-188), followed by Coldwater (143.5), Parkway (129), Paulding (127), Wayne Trace (90), Crestview (88), Spencerville (71), Delphos St. John’s (69), Antwerp (51), Ada (40.5), Lincolnview (35), Lima Central Catholic (11) and Delphos Jefferson (9).

Division III district wrestling will be held at Troy’s Hobert Arena on Friday and Saturday.

Division II sectionals at Defiance

DEFIANCE — Van Wert finished fifth out of 11 teams at the Division II sectionals at Defiance High School on Saturday.


POSTED: 02/26/24 at 4:45 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

KALIDA — Unfortunately for Lincolnview, it wasn’t a good combination. The Lady Lancers started slow and were plagued by turnovers and foul trouble. Meanwhile, No. 3 seed Kalida put together an early run and kept on going, on the way to a 57-24 Division IV sectional championship win at Richard L. Kortokrax Court on Saturday. The loss ended No. 5 seed Lincolnview’s season at 13-11.

Kalida harassed the visitors into eight first quarter turnovers and used an 11-0 run to sprint out to a 17-8 lead, with Averie Unverferth accounting for six straight points during the run. In addition, Keira Breese, Lincolnview’s leading scorer, was saddled with two fouls in the opening period.

Keira Breese (12) brings the ball upcourt for Lincolnview. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

“Keira does a fantastic job handling the ball for us so her not being in there hurt us,” Lincolnview head coach Kyle Williamson said. “Adam (Huber) is a good coach and he flipped the switch defensively and it was just hard for us to overcome that. We just couldn’t battle through that but I’m super proud of our girls throughout the season.”

Breese and freshman Brooklyn Byrne accounted for all eight of Lincolnview’s first quarter points. Byrne went on to lead the Lady Lancers with eight points.

Any hopes of a Lincolnview rally were dashed in the second quarter, as Kalida’s Andrea Burgei connected on three treys, enough to help push the lead to 31-17 by halftime. Emerson Walker hit a triple and connected on a pair of foul shots in the second period. She went on to finish with seven points.

“It was nice to see Andrea hit some shots in the second quarter to push the lead out before half and I think that really settled our team in for the second half,” Kalida head coach Adam Huber said.

Kalida outscored the Lady Lancers 26-7 in the second half. Lincolnview was held to a single basket in the final two quarters and converted 5-of-8 free throws in the second half.

“We were really proud of the way we locked into our scouting report on defense,” Huber said. “We know Lincolnview has girls that can score but we were able to make it tough on them, especially in the second half.


POSTED: 02/26/24 at 4:45 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Lincolnview and Kalida met for the sectional championship at Kalida on Saturday. However, the season came to an end for Lincolnview as the Lady Lancers were on the wrong end of a 57-24 final. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 02/26/24 at 4:44 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Crestview captured a Division IV girls sectional championship with an 82-21 victory over Fayette at Ray Etzler Gymnasium on Saturday. Cali Gregory scored 39 points and set a school record with nine 3-pointers in the game. The previous record was eight, held by her older sister Bailey. Kaci Gregory added 14 points in the win. Crestview (22-2) will face Stryker (13-11) in the district semifinals at 6 p.m. Thursday at Defiance High School. Photo submitted

POSTED: 02/26/24 at 4:44 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

VW independent sports


Houg competes at state

CANTON — Van Wert High School junior Sam Houg capped off his junior season by placing 17th in the 100 freestyle, just one place away from making the finals at the OHSAA swimming and diving championships at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton. He also placed 24th in the 200 yard freestyle.


Horine, Pierce advance

MINSTER — Van Wert sophomore Reagan Horine qualified for girls district competition as an individual. She ll compete in the Division I district at Star Lanes at the Harbor in Port Clinton on Thursday.

Van Wert senior Nevin Pierce advanced to boys district competition and will bowl in the Division I district at Star Lanes at the Harbor in Port Clinton on Friday.

POSTED: 02/26/24 at 4:43 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

LIMA — Once Van Wert got on a roll, the Cougars were nearly unstoppable.

The Cougars put together their best shooting night of the season and won the Western Buckeye League finale, 62-42 over Bath on Friday. The victory snapped Van Wert’s 10-game losing streak.

“The first word that comes to mind is finally,” Van Wert head coach Ben Laudick said. “The last three Fridays we’ve been in position at halftime into the third quarter and even into the fourth quarter but we weren’t able to find a way to win. We finally did that tonight, getting stops, making shots and going to the free throw line and shooting with confidence and knocking those down.”

Van Wert’s Rylan Miller came up big in the fourth quarter. Photo courtesy of Monica Campbell

“I’m real proud of our guys – they’ve hung in there,” he continued. “They could have bailed on the season multiple times but their competitive nature has shown through week in and week out against a very tough regular season schedule.”

The Cougars (4-18, 1-8 WBL) jumped out to a 6-0 lead halfway through the first quarter and went on to lead 11-5 at the end of the period, with seven points coming from Kaden Shaffer. Van Wert then opened the second quarter with an 11-0 run, including back-to-back elbow jumpers by Keaten Welch and a triple by Shaffer. The lead ballooned to 32-15 when Shaffer drilled a trey from the top of the key with 1:10 left in the second quarter. Shaffer, a senior guard, finished with 16 points in the first half and the Cougars led 34-19 at the break.

“I’ve been able to coach a lot of good kids and a lot of tough competitors and I would put him on my ‘all-competitive team,’” Laudick said of Shaffer. “He might be listed at 5-9, but he’s 5-7 and sometimes he plays 6-7 because of his competitive nature, his heart and his will to win. I feel good for him because he played soccer and they didn’t win any games this year and to see him when we won earlier this year, just the look on his face and tonight – to see the smile on his face is pretty cool.”

Van Wert kept the pedal to the metal in the third quarter and extended the lead to 44-23 when Cohen Bragg hit a trey with 3:50 left in the period. The Cougars led 46-30 to begin the fourth quarter but Bath seemed to gain some momentum and trailed 49-38 with 3:40 left. Keyed by Rylan Miller, Van Wert went on a 9-0 run to boost the lead back to 20. Miller, a 6-2 senior, scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter, including two baskets and three foul shots.


POSTED: 02/24/24 at 12:08 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert enjoyed a 62-42 win over Bath on Friday. Conner Campbell (top left) and Kaden Shaffer (right) were key players in the victory. Also pictured are Van Wert’s five seniors, Rylan Miller, Colin Haggerty, Shaffer, Gage Stemen and Campbell. Photos courtesy of Monica Campbell

POSTED: 02/24/24 at 12:08 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

VW independent sports

Crestview 74 Leipsic 44

CONVOY — Crestview wrapped up the regular season with an impressive 74-44 NWC win over Leipsic on Friday.

Tommy Hefner and Jaret Harting combined for nine points in the opening quarter and the Knights (15-7, 6-2 NWC) led 16-13 at the end of the period. An 18-7 second quarter scoring advantage put Crestview ahead 34-20 at halftime, then 52-36 after three quarters.

Wren Sheets led the Knights with 16 points, followed by Harting, who finished with 14. Heffner scored 13 points and Kellin Putman added 10. Jayce Brecht and Tavis Bejarano each scored nine points for Leipsic (10-12, 4-4 NWC).

The Knights will host Continental in the Division IV sectional semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Lincolnview 54 Ada 43

ADA — Led by Cal Evans, Lincolnview defeated Ada 54-43 in the regular season finale on Friday. The victory snapped a 13-game losing streak.

Evans scored 16 points in the win and Bennett Kill added 12 points and nine rebounds. Kreston Tow chipped in with eight points and three assists. Lincolnview led 16-12 after the first quarter and 28-16 at halftime. The lead increased to 39-25 after three quarters.

The Lancers (5-17, 1-7 NWC) will travel to Cory-Rawson for the Division IV sectional semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

POSTED: 02/24/24 at 12:07 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

VW independent sports

99.7 WKSD will broadcast tonight’s girls Division III sectional championship basketball game between Wayne Trace and Parkway live from Parkway High School. Pregame coverage will begin at 6:40 p.m., with tipoff at 7 p.m.

Sister station WERT 1220AM/104.3FM will carry tonight’s girls Division IV sectional championship game between Lincolnview and Kalida at Kalida High School. Live pregame coverage will begin at 6:40, followed by the tipoff at 7 p.m.

POSTED: 02/24/24 at 12:07 am. FILED UNDER: Sports