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: 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: 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: 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: 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.