You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Catholic Central senior proving unstoppable

Will Johnson insists his pricey, metallic, gold shoes have nothing to do with his recent hot shooting.

“Nah. I ordered them online. I didn’t think they’d be that shiny,” he said with a laugh. “I thought they’d go with the uniform.”

Coincidence or not, the Catholic Central High School senior is unstoppable since stepping into his custom-designed, $188 high-tops — his “41” jersey number stitched into their sides.

A 6-foot-2 former point guard who moved to the No. 2 spot this season, Johnson is averaging 20 points, nine rebounds and three assists for the Irish (5-2 overall, 3-1 in the Ohio Heritage Conference).

“He’s definitely one of the best kids that not a lot of people know about. He goes about his business that way,” said Central coach Dan Shay, whose Irish are tied with Mechanicsburg atop the OHC and seeking their first league championship in his eight seasons.

“Last year Will was more of a point guard — getting everyone involved and taking over when needed. This year, as a No. 2 or 3 guard, he’s more of a slasher but will shoot the open shot. He’s worked a lot in the off-season on squaring his shoulders, squaring his feet.”

Johnson’s take-notice numbers have come despite a late start. The center-midfielder played soccer through early November, helping Central to a Division-III regional final appearance.

“I missed the opening two weeks, but I shot as much as I could until the first game,” he said.

In back-to-back wins over Miami Trace and Northwestern, Johnson erupted for a combined 65 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists, helping the Irish overcome the two-game absence of fellow starters Casey Burns and Tate Robertson.

The third-year starter netted 29 points, 10 rebounds and five assists against visiting Northwestern, then followed 24 hours later with a career-high 36 points, 11 boards and five assists in an overtime victory at Miami Trace.

“He had a heck of a weekend there,” Shay said. “People knew about Will about halfway through the season last year and were keying on him. Now we’re finding scoring in other areas and that opens it up for him.”

On Friday, Johnson’s 15 points proved key in handing Mechanicsburg its first OHC loss, 46-44.

Trailing from the outset until two seconds remained, Central stole the league-tying win on a four-foot floater from junior guard Tate Robertson as time expired.

“My hair got a little grayer,” Shay joked.

Working off a set play and a pair of screens, Johnson attracted heavy attention on the left side of the lane, creating Robertson’s open shot on the right.

“That was just a huge win,” Johnson said. “We thought they’d be the best team in the conference, by far. They came to our house and we played the big game.

“Winning the OHC was a goal for us to achieve and now we know we can actually do it. Knowing we can beat the best team — it’s a huge win for us.”

Just 3-18 a year ago, the Irish have recovered behind six seniors, three of whom are returning starters: Johnson, Ryan Fain, and Casey Burns.

“The OHC is so much up in the air,” Shay said. “We can’t take a night off. We’ve got to play. We can’t take anybody lightly. We have to prepare and challenge ourselves every single night.”

“We know now that we can win,” Johnson added, “and it’s great to have that confidence.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap picked to replace Clowney at Pro Bowl
Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap picked to replace Clowney at Pro Bowl

Carlos Dunlap has been named to his second Pro Bowl. The Bengals defensive end was chosen Tuesday as a replacement for Jadeveon Clowney, who is out because of an injury. Dunlap, who had eight sacks and led the Bengals with three forced fumbles in 2016, led the team in passes defended (15), something no defensive lineman had ever done. “Being...
Taylor Decker, Joe Thuney represent Dayton area on PFW all-rookie team
Taylor Decker, Joe Thuney represent Dayton area on PFW all-rookie team

A pair of Pro Football Weekly’s top-rated NFL rookies played their high school football in the Miami Valley. Taylor Decker of the Lions and Joe Thuney of the Patriots both made PFW’s All-Rookie team. The offensive linemen prepped at Vandalia Butler and Alter, respectively. Decker is among four Ohio State players to make the team, joining...
Ohio State AD Gene Smith joining College Football Playoff committee
Ohio State AD Gene Smith joining College Football Playoff committee

Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith will be part of the College Football Playoff committee for the next three years. Also joining the group tasked with picking the four teams that play for the national championship are former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer and Robert Morris president Chris Howard. “This is a tremendous honor and privilege...
Which Ohio State Buckeyes made’s early draft top 50?
Which Ohio State Buckeyes made’s early draft top 50?

Prior to the post-college all-star games and the NFL combine, released its top 50 prospects for the NFL draft. The list includes four Ohio State players: Safety Malik Hooker is the No. 2 overall prospect while cornerback Marshon Lattimore is No. 3. The Buckeyes’ other starting cornerback, Gareon Conley, is rated No. 29 while receiver...
Steelers still threatening to ruin another NFL postseason
Steelers still threatening to ruin another NFL postseason

Bengals and Browns fans can be forgiven if they are annoyed to see Pittsburgh getting ready to play in another AFC Championship Game. The Steelers are moving on in the playoffs despite not being able to score touchdowns, avoid illegal hits or keep their locker room to themselves.  1. The foot of Chris Boswell supplied all their points last week...
More Stories