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Area players named to all-region team

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By Ryan Naus

Hard work and dedication to the sport of basketball has paid off for several players who were named to the all-region team.

Williamstown Lady Demons Jaclyn Stith and Tori Wilhoit were named to the girls’ team, while Grant County Braves Caleb Kinmon and Kody Thompson were named to the boys’ team. Grant County coach Ron Kinmon was named all-region coach.

Stith was named to the team for the second year in a row.

“I’m really happy, but a little disappointed on where I was on the scale,” Stith said. “This year I really focused on my defense and hopefully they saw that. I wanted people to know that I could share with my teammates and we could still win.”

Stith had to deal with an injured ankle in the middle of the season, but appreciates the award because it showed her that the work she put in was worth it.

“I struggled emotionally, questioning myself a lot,” Stith said. “I haven’t really felt the same this year. I was struggling, but I was working to get myself back to where I want to be. It’s getting better.”

Wilhoit was happy to be named to the team as a sophomore after stepping up her game this year.

“I got really excited,” Wilhoit said. “It’s a really great honor to be on the team along with juniors and seniors. I hope the coach’s noticed my rebounding. They might have noticed me because I’ve started to shoot the ball more.”

“It’s nice to know my hard work is being recognized,” Wilhoit said. “I want to make it my junior and senior year. It’s nice because Jaclyn and I have played together for a while and it’s nice to make it with her.”

Their coach, Mark Wilhoit, believes the two players made the team because of their work ethic and dedication.

“It’s an honor for both of them,” coach Wilhoit said. “It’s a testament to how hard they work. It’s nice to have two players on the team. They’ve both played well and continue to improve.”

Caleb Kinmon and Thompson both made the team for the first time, earning their spots with their effort on both offense and defense.

“It’s an honor to be recognized,” Thompson said. “I made the all-district team last year, but to be put on a list with some of the best players from our whole region is shocking. You work on your skills growing up and to finally be recognized makes you feel like what you’ve done is worth it. I think the type of offense I like to run by getting to the basket and finishing around the rim is what coaches saw.”

Both players found out they had made the team on their senior night.

“It’s a nice accomplishment,” Caleb Kinmon said. “From what I was last year to this year, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I think improving everything is what helped, especially taking care of the ball. I didn’t know it when they announced it at first and I was surprised. I didn’t think I would have made it.”

Coach Kinmon believes his players earned the honors and helped him earn his own all-region recognition. It is the second time in his career he has been named all-region coach.

“In all my years as a coach, it’s the first time we’ve had two players make the team in the same year. We knew Kody had the ability after how he played last year. Caleb is probably the most improved player in the region. It shows that if you want something bad enough and work hard enough, you can be successful. We’ve had a good year as a team and I told the players I couldn’t have earned the award without my team playing well,” coach Kinmon said. “I’m fortunate to have the players I have. It feels really good to be selected by your peers.”