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Congratulations to the Norton Panthers and Windham Bombers for clinching Portage Trail Conference division championships last week. Both teams were largely considered the early season favorites and proved to follow through on those predictions.
Windham (19-2, 13-0 PTC County) will conclude its season Friday when they host rival Garfield in the 3rd annual Rivals for a Cause game on Marty Hill Court. The contest will also mark the departure of Windham in their final PTC game.
Friday's game between the Bombers and G-Men will act as a benefit for Devon Regan, who has cerebral palsy. Proceeds and donations will assist in making the family van more accessible for Regan by adding a wheelchair lift.
Additionally, prior to the big game, the Stanley family will host its 3rd annual spaghetti dinner benefitting the Jeff Stanley Memorial Scholarship Fund. The dinner will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at Windham High School's cafeteria.
Meanwhile, Norton (18-3, 12-1 PTC Metro) will wrap up its season when they travel to Kent Roosevelt on Friday.
PLAYER OF YEAR CANDIDATES
On Sunday, the league's coaches will get together and vote on the All-League team, which will include the Player of the Year for each division. I don't count the number of games I cover during the season, but I am sure not many other basketball fans can say they attended more games.
Therefore, I will give you my opinion of who I rank as the best players in each division through observation and with the help and evaluation of my fellow reporters.
I believe Tyler Sherman of Norton will get the vote in the Metro Division. He has the numbers and he is the leader of the championship team.
Sherman played through some adversity this season and assumed more responsibility for the Panthers, according to coach Rod Swartz. Sherman and teammate Aaron Vanbuskirk were both First-Team selections last season. Vanbuskirk might have been the favorite to gain the POY award this year, but he has been sidelined for most of the season.
I think four other players in the Metro deserve recognition: Jordan Matusik of Streetsboro, Jermaine Justice of Ravenna, Victor Dorsey of Springfield and Bryce Hargrove of Coventry.
I think the Player of the Year in the County Division is almost too close to call. Matt Knight and teammate Cameron Pozsgai of Windham have been a part of the Bombers' program since they were in grade school when they were team managers. The stat sheet after 21 games sees these two leaders side by side in almost every category. I really don't think POY awards mean much to these two players, they only want to win games.
I can remember Pozsgai as a skinny freshman kid who loved to shoot 3s. He has matured into a real complete player. Knight is now in control of his game and is truly a floor general. I believe Hunter Van Camp of Mogadore earns the third spot of this group, but it will be interesting to see who the coaches award the top spot, because I can't make this call.
When the Southeast girls won the PTC County Division title I reported that coach Bob Dunn was the first coach in Portage County history to win both boys and girls championships. I stand corrected by the Rootstown faithful.
Rovers head coach Bob Halliwell turned the trick with the Rootstown boys and girls. The 1980-81 Rovers, led by 6-foot-7 center Brian McClure won the Portage County League title. McClure went on to have a spectacular football career at Bowling Green before spending a couple years in the NFL.
The Rovers' girls team of 1986-87 won the PCL championship and finished the season 20-4 before losing in the district finals. That team was led by Margaret McClure, the younger sister of Brian.