Bailey Walter

Shelby's Bailey Walter drives past Lexington's Gabby Stover during the Division II sectional championship game at Bucyrus.

SHELBY— Bailey Walter was rarely the biggest post player on the floor, but what the Shelby senior lacked in size she made up for in strength and physicality.

The newly-minted Richland Source Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Walter averaged a career-best 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds a game as the Whippets stormed to the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference title.

“She’s just such a powerful athlete,” Shelby coach Natalie Lantz said. “I feel like she’s a little underrated because of her size. We’ve been playing her at center for years and she’s a little overlooked because she’s only about 5-foot-8.”

During Walter’s stellar four-year career, Shelby won 72 percent of its games (71-27) and captured three sectional crowns. The Whippets shared the final Northern Ohio League championship with Bellevue in 2017 and won the MOAC title outright this year. Shelby was 22-3 on the year, its only losses coming to district champ Bellevue and district runner-up Willard (twice).

Walter was selected the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference first team and was a District 6 first team pick in Division II. She was an All-Northwest District second team pick and was an All-Ohio honorable mention selection.

“Bailey is extremely strong. She has good speed and athleticism and she moves really well,” Lantz said. “She is a complete player.”

Walter is joined on the All-Richland Source first team by four other All-Ohioans. Combined, the five first-team picks averaged 83.7 points and 31.7 rebounds a game.

Celeste Ryman, Loudonville

Loudonville point guard Celeste Ryman passes out of a double-team against Clear Fork.

Celeste Ryman, Loudonville: A senior, Ryman was an All-Ohio first team pick in Division III after earning a spot on the second team last year. She led the Redbirds to a district runner-up finish, averaging 18.5 points and 3.6 rebounds a game. She ranked among area leaders with 4.4 steals and 4.2 assists a game.

Jessie Grover, Lucas

Lucas' Jessie Grover shoots over a pair of Hillsdale defenders.

Jessie Grover, Lucas: A junior, Grover became just the fourth player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau and is on pace to become the career scoring leader. She averaged 18.6 points and 8.7 rebounds a game and earned a spot on the All-Ohio second team in Division IV. Grover was an All-Ohio special mention selection last year.

Alyssa Steury, Ashland

Ashland's Alyssa Steury drives against Lexington's Gabby Stover during an Ohio Cardinal Conference game at Lexington.

Alyssa Steury, Ashland: The senior broke Ashland’s single-game scoring record with 44 points in a game early in the season and became the fourth 1,000-point scorer in Ashland girls history in February. The undersized guard averaged 19 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. She was selected the District 6 Player of the Year in Division I and was an All-Ohio special mention selection.

Courtney Pifher

Buckeye Central's Courtney Pifher goes up for a shot during last year's Division IV state semifinal game against Ottoville.

Courtney Pifher, Buckeye Central: A senior, Pifher helped the Buckettes reach the regional tournament again this year after winning a regional title and advancing to the Final Four last year. Pifher averaged 14.3 points and 7.7 rebounds a game. She was an All-Ohio honorable mention selection as a junior and moved up to the second team this year. In addition, she was a District 6 and Northwest District first team selection in Division IV.

Second Team: Nikki Weber, Loudonville; Emma Randall, Shelby; Claudia Pifher, Buckeye Central; Kathleen Leeper, Crestview; Talayzha Catchings, Mansfield Senior.

Third Team: Gabby Stover, Lexington; Carleigh Pearson, Ontario; Brooklynn Arnold, Madison; Olivia Grove, Wynford; Avery Coleman, Lexington.

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I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at curt@richlandsource.com or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.

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