SPRINGFIELD — Josh Tolliver will forever be remembered among the greats at Springfield High School.
The Wildcats senior boys basketball player was recently named the Dan Hoyt Mr. Basketball, given to the top player in Clark County by vote of coaches. The forward averaged 16.1 points per game for the Wildcats this season.
Tolliver is the second Springfield High player to win the award since North and South High School’s combined in 2009, joining former Wildcat Danny Davis.
“It feels great to carry it on and be a name that’s never going to be forgotten,” Tolliver said. “It feels great to carry on that legacy.”
Tolliver was joined on the 43rd annual All-Clark County team by senior Jamon Miller and sophomore Zion Crowe of Shawnee, Emmanuel Christian senior Jason Channels, Kenton Ridge senior Michael Severt, Northeastern senior Dale Bush, Northwestern senior Taliek Dennis, Greenon junior Jaden Journell, Catholic Central sophomore Tyler Galluch and Tecumseh sophomore Collin O’Connor.
Shawnee’s Chris McGuire won the All-Clark County Coach of the Year award for the fourth time in his career. He previously won the award in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Kenton Ridge senior Chase Younts and coach Kris Spriggs won Sportsmanship Awards given by the Southwest Ohio Officials Association.
Tolliver ranked fourth in scoring the Greater Western Ohio Conference this season at 16.5 points per game, shooting 56.1 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from behind the 3-point line.
“This is one of the biggest accomplishment’s I could’ve wished for,” Tolliver said. “I’m just thanking God, my coaches and my family for always pushing me to be great.”
Tolliver was the lone returning Wildcats starter this winter under new head coach Shawn McCullough. Springfield finished 10-11 and advanced to the district semifinals for the seventh straight season where it fell to GWOC rival Miamisburg.
The Wildcats beat two teams ranked in the top10 in the Associated Press Division I poll during the regular season, beating both Miamisburg and Wayne. They nearly knocked off eventual D-I state champion Centerville.
“A lot of the outsiders were doubting us, telling us we couldn’t do it and that we were too young,” Tolliver said. “We just kept working and progressing. We had a lot of ups-and-downs, but we stuck together. We didn’t get where we wanted to be, but I was proud to play with them and keep getting better and growing.”
Tolliver is eyeing prep school next year to continue working on his game in hopes of receiving a scholarship to play at the next level. Until then, he’ll celebrate the hard work he put in to earn the Mr. Basketball award over the last four years. He hopes to be a role model for younger players in Springfield, he said.
“This is something I told my coaches I always wanted to accomplish,” Tolliver said. “I put the hard work and dedication and that’s where I am today. I finally accomplished it and it feels great.”
McGuire and the Braves finished the season 17-5 and beat Cincinnati Summit Country to win their first district title in 44 years.
“We had a lot of good pieces and they complimented each other well,” McGuire said. “They came in and worked hard every day. As the season went along and the more we played together, the more comfortable the guys got with each other’s roles and what guys could do and it built to where we could go on that run.”
The Braves beat Versailles in the D-III regional semifinals, advanced to the OHSAA’s version of the Elite Eight for the first time since 1975. Shawnee fell to Cincinnati Taft in the regional finals.
“It was definitely a special run,” McGuire said. “When you’re in it, you’re just grinding through the next game. Looking back, it was a special group of guys that bought into the belief that we could play until we ran into a team that was just better than us. It was a fun run. We had a lot of guys make a lot of contributions for us during that stretch. It was something we’ll look back on the rest of our lives.”
The Braves graduate three seniors, including Miller, Drew Mitch and Wes Koelsch. They’ll return several underclassmen next season, including Crowe, Patrick Fultz, R.J. Griffin and Cooper Bair.
“This is going to be a group that’s going to be hungry after getting a taste of postseason success,” McGuire said. “I think they’re going to be hungry to get back at it and make us even better next year.”
2020-21 All-Clark County Boys Basketball Team
Dale Bush, Northeastern: The senior averaged 10.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game for the Jets.
Jason Channels, Emmanuel Christian: The senior averaged 18.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.5 assists per game.
Zion Crowe, Shawnee: The sophomore averaged 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
Taliek Dennis, Northwestern: The senior ranked fourth in the CBC in scoring at 17.2 points per game.
Tyler Galluch, Catholic Central: The sophomore averaged 15.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game and led the OHC in blocks (1.5 per game).
Jaden Journell, Greenon: The junior averaged 14.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.9 steals per game.
Jamon Miller, Shawnee: The senior led the Braves in scoring at 13.7 points per game and also averaged 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 2.1 assists per game.
Michael Severt, Kenton Ridge: The senior led the Cougars at 14.8 points per game this season and set Kenton Ridge’s single-game scoring record with 42 points against Mechanicsburg.
Collin O’Connor, Tecumseh: The sophomore ranked third in the CBC at 18.0 points per game and also averaged 3.8 assists per game for the Arrows.
Josh Tolliver, Springfield: The senior led the Wildcats in scoring at 16.5 points per game, shooting 56.1 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from the 3-point line.
Dan Hoyt Mr. Basketball Award: Josh Tolliver
Coach of the Year: Chris McGuire, Shawnee
Southwest Ohio Officials Association
Player: Chase Younts, Kenton Ridge
Coach: Kris Spriggs, Kenton Ridge
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