Three area boys basketball players have been selected to the all-state team by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association.
Tipton senior point guard Ethan Koechner and Cole Camp junior center Tanner Oelrichs were selected in Class 2. Otterville senior guard Ryan Benny was named to the all-state team in Class 1.
“To have a special player like Ryan makes the coach’s job easier,” said Otterville coach Jonathan Tester. “He was like a coach on the floor. You just lean on him. If I needed him to handle the ball, he’d handle the ball. If I needed him to shoot, he’d shoot. Most of the time I had him attack the basket and very few teams could stop that.”
Benny is Otterville’s all-time leader in assists and steals and second all-time in points.
“He actually led the team this year in defensive rebounds,” Tester said. “They talk about a nose for the ball. It’s innate. He had that instinct to be around the basketball. He also boxed out well.”
Oelrichs led Cole Camp to Kaysinger Conference regular-season and tournament titles.
“He had a height and physical advantage and athletic advantage over a lot of kids in our area,” said Bluebirds coach Tom Ward. “I thought our kids did a very good job of spacing the floor. We always seem to have a shooter so they couldn’t double up on him.”
Defensively, Oelrichs racked up 67 blocks on the season after altering his game to avoid foul trouble.
“I thought he had a tendency to jump early and contest stuff early in the season and that got him in foul trouble,” Ward said. “We talked to him later in the season. He had good timing. He knew when to contest and be big and when to go after a shot. A lot of times he would just outrebound people.”
Oelrichs is the first Cole Camp player selected all-state since Tyler Rusk in 2011.
Koechner is the first Tipton Cardinal selected to the coaches’ all-state team since Cameron Backes in 2011. Koechner was also named
all-state in football in the fall and in golf last spring after shooting a 73 on the second day of the state meet at Nixa.
“He’s a great athlete,” said Tipton basketball coach Billy Jeffries. “In the summer he puts a lot of time in and in the regular season he’s the first one in the gym and the last one out. To do that and keep almost a 4.0 GPA is the definition of student-athlete.”
Koechner led the Cardinals in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and free-throw percentage.
“It’s hard to find that and have great team success but the kids have taken to him and rallied around that,” Jeffries said.
Benny, Koechner and Oelrichs were also named to the all-Central district teams selected by the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
Benny is joined by teammate senior forward Jake Gaskell on the Class 1 first team.
Northwest’s Cortlen Austin was selected second-team all-district in Class 1.
Otterville senior center Hannah Stone was selected for the girls Class 1 second-team.
In Class 2, Koechner and Oelrichs are joined on the first team by Sacred Heart sophomore guard Malik Hackett, Smithton junior guard Dane Apsher and Sweet Springs junior guard Jacob Schowengerdt.
On the second team are Sacred Heart’s Garrett Strange, Green Ridge’s Austin Story, La Monte’s Seth Johnson, Stover’s Garrett Goetze and Cole Camp’s Timothy Ward.
Tipton’s Loryn Hirst and Stover’s Amy Schroder were named to the girls first-team all-district team in Class 2.
Recognized on the second team in Class 2 were Nicole Bright, of Sweet Springs; Mariah Cairer, of Smithton; Clare Chamberlin, of Green Ridge; Cole Camp’s Emily Pritzel and Kaleena Logan; Stover’s Carley Nolting; Sacred Heart’s Sydney Smith; and Tipton’s Caroline Combs.
In Class 3, Warsaw sophomore Randall Sherman was named to the boys all-district first team.
In Class 5, Smith-Cotton senior Dalton Christian was named to the boys all-district team.
Smith-Cotton’s Jack Greer was named to the girls Class 5 all-district team.