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Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2019

Sheila Fox (614) 547-2160;
Doc Daugherty (216) 409-9466,

COLUMBUS – Eight former NCAA Division I men's players and three who played at the women's highest level are among those who will become members of the Ohio Basketball Fame next year.

All told there will be 20 inductees, including a pair of high school teams that won two championships in the 1950s – Middletown and Lockland Wayne.

Middletown High School won back-to-back state Class A championships under legendary coach Paul Walker in 1952 and 1953, and Lockland Wayne won Class B titles in 1952 and 1955 for Coach Joe Martin. Wayne is believed to be the first all-black team to win a state crown.

They will be joined by five coaches, a referee and an extraordinary female athlete who scored only one basket as a collegian.

The induction ceremony will be held on May 18, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus.

Lauren Hill of Greendale, Ind., drew the admiration of people all over the United States in 2014 when she was a freshman at Mount St. Joseph's University. Although she knew she didn't have long to live, Hill made a courageous appearance in a basketball game that triggered a strong fund-raising campaign for victims of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a rare and fatal pediatric brain tumor that took her life five months later.

In the season-opener between Mt. St. Joseph and Hiram College that drew 10,250 spectators on Nov. 2, 2014 at Xavier University's Cintas Center, Hill realized a dream by playing in a college basketball game and then scored two layups that were seen over and over on television throughout the nation. Hill played in three more games before declining health forced her to end her brief playing career. When she died on April 10, 2015, more than $1.5 million had been raised for research into the specific cancer that took her life. The Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame committee decided to honor her posthumously with a position among the state's basketball greats.

The other 2019 honorees include the University of Dayton's John Horan, a four-year starter for the Flyers from 1952-56, and Charlie Slack, who was an outstanding rebounder for Marshall University during the same period.

Ohio State University will be represented by three former players – Dave Sorenson, Scoonie Penn and Jodi Roth Korbas. Sorenson is remembered for scoring the winning basket in a 1968 Regional tournament victory over Kentucky that sent OSU to the Final Four. Penn led the Buckeyes to the Final Four in 1999 and Roth played four years on the OSU women's team after leading Shelby High School to the state Class AAA crown.

Mike Pratt, a Dayton native, was also selected. He was a starter on the 1970 University of Kentucky squad that was rated No. 1 in the country.

Others include Larry Baker, who was named to the Little All-America squad while playing for Wittenberg; Roosevelt Chapman, the University of Dayton's all-time leading scorer; and Kaayla Chones, who was Ohio's Ms. Basketball while playing at Eastlake North High School in 1998 and 1999.

Beavercreek's Alison Bales will be honored after winning two state championships and playing four years at Duke University, and former Clemson University star Larry Nance is being recognized for his six-year contribution to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The coaches in the 2019 class are: Steve Moore, whose Division III teams at The College of Wooster have won more than 700 games; Gary Walters, who coached at Newark High School and won 407 games from 1972-1999; Dr. James Houdeshell, who had 21 winning records in 30 seasons at Findlay College, now known as the University of Findlay; Reginald Lee, whose Brookhaven High School squads won 434 games; and Donna Newberry of Muskingum College, who is the fifth-winningest among active Division III women's coaches.

The official in the 2019 class is Mike Sanzere of Cincinnati who received many tributes for his work over 35 years. He officiated in the Big Ten, Big 12, Mid-American, Missouri Valley, Atlantic 10, Summit, Horizon and Sunbelt conferences.

The 6-foot-8 Sorenson, a product of Findlay High School, was a three-year starter for Ohio State from 1968 to 1970 and was the team's most valuable player as a junior and senior. He scored 1,622 points, averaging 21.3 per game, which remains fifth in career scoring at OSU. He grabbed 761 rebounds for an average of 9.9 per game.

Penn, a point guard, also led Ohio State to the Final Four (in 1999) after transferring from Boston College where he made the All-Big East squad twice. At OSU he was All-Big Ten Conference twice and the league's Player of the Year in 1998-99. In only two seasons he became the Buckeyes' all-time leader in 3-point field goals.

Roth Korbas had a storybook basketball career. At Shelby High School she led the team to the 1983 Class AAA state championship and was voted most valuable player in the event. Then she played on four straight Big Ten championship teams at Ohio State as the Buckeyes won 99 and lost 22. After graduation, she was head coach at her high school alma mater for 11 years (2002-2012).

Baker, who grew up in St. Paris and attended Graham Local High School, was named to the Little All-America squad of United Press International in 1971 when he averaged 26.2 points per game for Wittenberg University. He scored 1,627 points, and his 48 points against West Liberty State is still a school record.

Pratt, a product of Meadowdale High School in Dayton, played four years (1967-70) for Coach Adolph Rupp at the University of Kentucky. The 6-foot-4 guard was a three-year starter on UK teams that had records of 26-2, 23-5 and 22-5 and made the NCAA Tournament all three years. He averaged 14.1, 16.9 and 19.3 points while scoring a total of 1,359.

Roosevelt Chapman, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., had a sensational career at the University of Dayton. He is the all-time leading scorer for the men's team with 2,233 points. He averaged 18.9 points per game and led the Flyers to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament in 1984 when they upset LSU, Oklahoma and Washington before losing to eventual champion Georgetown.

Kaayla Chones was voted Ms. Basketball in Ohio when she played at East Lake North High School from 1995-1999. A three-time All-Ohio Division I selection, she scored more than 2,000 points and gathered 1,600 rebounds. She led her North Carolina State University team in scoring and rebounding three straight years before playing two years in the WNBA.

Alison Bales, a 6-foot-7 center, led Beavercreek High School to Division I championships in 2001 and 2003. She averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds as a senior when she shared the Ohio Player of the Year award. She was a three- time USA Today All-American. At Duke University she was one of the top shot blockers in the nation. Then she played for three WNBA teams.

Larry Nance scored 15,687 points in the National Basketball Association, but he may be best remembered as the winner of the NBA's first slam-dunk contest in 1984 when he earned the nickname “The High-Ayatolla of Slamola.” A first round draft choice of the Phoenix Suns in 1981, the 6-foot-10 Nance was traded to Cleveland on  Feb. 25, 1988. He was with the Cavaliers through the 1994 season and had his number (22) retired by the Cavs.

Steve Moore was head coach at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., for six years before taking over the program at The College of Wooster where he has coached the Fighting Scots for 31 years, posting a 735-174 record. His teams have earned 26 NCAA Tournament berths and 17 North Coast Athletic Conference championships. He was named North Coast Athletic Association coach of the year eight times.

Gary Walters was head coach at Newark High School from 1972-1999, winning 407 games and losing 199. His teams won 12 league championships. 17 sectionals, seven districts and one regional. He was named Ohio coach of the year in 1991 and 1999.

A native of Rawson, Dr. Jim Houdeshell is a 1953 graduate of Findlay College who returned to the school and served in many administrative capacities including two stints as director of athletics. He was head basketball coach for 30 years, beginning in 1955. His teams had 21 winning seasons. He also coached track, cross-country, baseball and football.

Reginald Lee, a graduate of Columbus East High School and Central State University, was head girls basketball coach at Brookhaven High School from 1981 to 2011. His teams compiled a 515-157 record. They won 11 City League championships, seven district titles and two regionals. The highlight came in 1996 when they won the state Division I championship, finishing 28-0 with a 56-46 victory over Wooster in the title game.

Donna Newberry coached the Muskingum College women's basketball team for 26 seasons, starting in 1974-75 and ending in 1999-2000. Her teams won 403 games and lost 219. She took six teams to the NCAA Tournament. In 1991, when Muskingum advanced to the championship game, she was named NCAA Coach of the Year by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. She was named Ohio coach of the year in 1991 and 1999.

Middletown High School won back-to-back Class A state championships in 1951 and 1952 after Coach Paul Walker switched from a deliberate style to a running, pressing, up tempo style. Both teams were short and scrappy. The 1951-52 Middies, featuring seniors Dick Vice (6-1) and Don Barnett (5-11) , had a 25-1 record and defeated previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Steubenville, 63-53 in the championship game.

Three starters from the 1952 champions – 6-4 Cliff Hafer, 6-2 Tom Dillman and 6-foot Owen Lawson – were joined in the 1952-53 lineup by 6-1 Eric Back and 5-10 Ed Payne and made another title run by averaging an amazing 79.8 points in the regular season while posting a 24-2 record.

The Middies crushed 21-4 Newark, 73-35, in the championship game at Cincinnati Gardens. As of 2018, the 38 points remains the largest victory margin in the big school championship game.

Lockland Wayne, coached by Joe Martin, made four appearances at the state Class B tournament between 1949 and 1955 and won championships in 1952 and 1955.

In 1952, the Panthers became the first team from Hamilton County and perhaps the first African-American team to win a state title when they defeated Nelsonville, 56-46, in the title game. Seniors Robert Ellison, Ray Tomlin, and Carl Bolds started along with juniors Roy Willliams and Fletcher Yates, older brother of former University of Cincinnati player and coach Tony Yates. Bolds scored a game-high 16 points in a 54-39 victory over Mariemont in Wayne's sixth straight district championship.

Tomlin, recovering from a broken arm, scored 12 points to lead the Panthers to a 38-30 win over Marysville in the Dayton Region final and Yates scored 17 in a 56-43 state semifinal victory over Minster. Williams' 19 points led Lockland Wayne to its victory over Nelsonville in the state final.

In 1955, Wayne won its second state crown by defeating previously unbeaten Willshire and its 6-foot-8 center Gary Kesler, 64-56 in the title game at Cincinnati Gardens. Both teams finished with 27-1 records.

Coach Martin said Virgil Thompson “is the best all-around players I've ever coached” after Thompson and top rebounder Dennie Ballew made the all-tournament first team. The other starters were Rollie Bolds, Earl Frederick and Alton Smith.

Prior to the tournament, Wayne played six Class A teams, defeating five and losing only to the powerful Hamilton Big Blue.     

Mike Sanzere, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, began officiating in 1969 while in his junior year at Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati. He worked high school games for 10 years before moving into Division I collegiate basketball in 1979 when he was hired for Midwestern City Conference games.

Sanzere spent 35 years officiating Division I college games. He worked 25 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, 14 Regionals, three Final Fours and five NCAA Division III national championship games. He received the 2015 Naismith Official of the Year award.

Sanzere worked in industrial sales for eight years, ran a family wholesale apparel business for 24 years and retired.  Then he worked 10 years as manager of special events and catering for Graeters Ice Cream before joining the Collegiate Officiating Consortium, LLC. He is now responsible for scheduling, evaluating and training officials.

About the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame
Founded in 2006, the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame recognizes the achievements of both male and female basketball players in high school, college and professional basketball; successful coaches on all levels; and those who have impacted the game along the way. The induction ceremony is a celebration of basketball, its rich history, and those who have contributed to the game in Ohio. Learn more at


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