They game-planned for each other, they always guarded each other, they fought for rebounds and they kept track.
After the All-Clark County boys basketball banquet Thursday night at Wittenberg, Catholic Central’s Sabien Doolittle and Southeastern’s Charlie Bertemes stood next to each other and recalled the wins and losses through four years of high school.
Southeastern won twice when they were freshmen then three more times as sophomores, including a tournament game. Central won all four matchups the past two years. But on this night Doolittle and Bertemes tied. They were co-winners of the Dan Hoyt Mr. Basketball award as the best all-round players in Clark County.
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Then they tried to outdo each other in mutual respect.
“It’s not fun, to be honest with you,” Bertemes said of playing against Doolittle. “I got quite a bit of rebounds and led the league in rebounds, but if he was next to me he was going to get the rebound. And his little pull-up jumper — I could not stop that.”
Then it was Doolittle’s turn: “Little does Charlie know we spent weeks and weeks prepping for him before we played. Easily the most dynamic player in our conference. He was the perfect player. He did everything right — rebounding, scoring, passing, blocking. Defensively he was always on me, so it was always hard getting open.”
Neither will forget the last moment of their rivalry. Southeastern led Central by a point on the Trojans’ senior night. Doolittle was taking the last shot, and Bertemes knew it.
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“There’s a ball screen, we switch, but I double down on him and Sabien pulls up, and-one, makes it, a thousand points, game-winner,” Bertemes said.
Doolittle won Ohio Heritage Conference MVP with averages of 15 points and 9.8 rebounds, became the seventh 1,000-point scorer at Central, was second-team all-Ohio and led the Irish to two straight district titles. Bertemes averaged 18 points and 10.7 rebounds, was all-conference and honorable mention all-Ohio.
Bertemes joins his brother Jake as a Hoyt winner. He won the award in 2016.
“I have that trophy sitting up on my dresser, and when I saw him win that I said I was going to do the same thing,” Bertemes said. “With Sabien here I didn’t think it was going to happen.”
Joining the Hoyt winners on the all-county team are seniors RaHeim Moss and David Sanford of Springfield, Trey Dunn of Central, Adonis Davis of Emmanuel Christian and Evan Noffke of Northwestern, and juniors Tyler Eberhart of Kenton Ridge, Isaac Siemon of Shawnee and Easton Lewis of Tecumseh.
Emmanuel Christian coach Dan Moore was voted coach of the year and won the Southwest Ohio Officials Association sportsmanship award. Sanford won the player sportsmanship award.
Doolittle, who will play at Walsh and major in pre-med, remembers the losing seasons that preceded the district championships.
“After sophomore and freshman year I could’ve just given up, but my parents, my family wouldn’t allow me to,” he said. “I stayed in the gym and now I’m starting to reap what I sowed.”
Bertemes will join the Air National Guard then enroll in a four-year college. He has not decided which school or whether he will continue as an athlete.
“I feel like all my hard work now is being recognized,” he said. “It’s a great force to push me forward into what I’m going to do later in life.”
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