By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter
After Scott senior Jake Ohmer signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Western Kentucky University on Wednesday, he received a shadow box with his No. 2 jersey neatly folded inside it and found out the high school was retiring that number to honor his remarkable career.
“It was unexpected, I’ll tell you that,” Ohmer said. “It was cool that they did it. I don’t think anybody’s jersey has been retired at our school. It was just a good feeling.”
Ohmer set a team record by scoring 2,705 points during his four-year varsity career. He had one of the highest scoring averages in the state the last three seasons, but no one paid much attention to the 6-foot guard until his performance in the post-season playoffs last March.
It all started with him hitting a game-winning 3-point shot in the 10th Region championship game to put Scott in the state tournament for the first time since 1989.
He then scored 41, 32 and 33 points in three games at Rupp Arena to earn a spot on the state all-tournament team and catch the eye of Western Kentucky head basketball coach Rick Stansbury.
After Scott’s season-ending loss in the semifinals of the state tournament, Stansbury offered Ohmer a scholarship to play for the Hilltoppers, an NCAA Division I team that posted a 15-17 record last season after losing in the first round of the Conference USA tournament.
“Jake had an electrifying state tournament,” Stansbury told reporters after receiving the player’s letter of intent on Wednesday. “He was a young man that was flying under the radar that I think brings lots of different abilities to our program. We’re really excited about his future and what he can become.”
Ohmer decided not to play baseball this spring so he could prepare for the transition to major college basketball. He’s going to All Star Performance Training in Florence to work on improving his strength and agility. He also goes to the gym every day to work on shooting and ball handling.
“I love baseball, but I knew I had to give it up if I wanted to play D-1 basketball and be prepared when I went (to Western Kentucky),” he said.
Ohmer planned on playing small-college basketball for the University of Cumberlands, but his storybook performance at the state tournament changed all that. He became the first Scott boys’ basketball player to sign an NCAA Division I letter of intent on Wednesday.
“It still doesn’t feel real yet,” he said. “It was cool that everybody came out and got to see that I’m going to Western because not many (athletes) from our school have got to go D-1.”
Ohmer averaged 27.8 points and 8.4 rebounds during his senior season. He pulled down 294 records to set a school record in that category as well. He shot 52.7 percent (318 of 603) from the field overall, 41.6 percent (79 of 190) from 3-point range and 86 percent (257 of 299) from the free-throw line.
After his performance at the state tournament, Ohmer was voted first-team all-state in statewide coaches polls conducted by the Lexington Herald-Leader and Louisville Courier-Journal newspapers. On Sunday, he’ll attend the Kentucky All-Stars tryouts at Campbellsville University. The seniors selected to the team will play the Indiana All-Stars in a weekend series this June.
“That would be a great way to end my high school career,” Ohmer said
Eighth-grader wins medal at state high school archery tournament
Paige Robbins, an eighth-grader on the Simon Kenton archery team, tied for 11th place overall in the state high school tournament on Thursday at Kentucky Basketball Academy in Lexington.
Robbins totaled 294 points with 24 10-point shots and six nine-point shots to post the best score among Northern Kentucky state qualifiers in the combined boys’ and girls’ individual standings.
She received a medal for placing second in the girls’ division. Kristen Sedlatsche of Bardstown Bethlehem also finished with a 294 score, but she won the girls’ state title because she had one more 10-point shot than Robbins.
The best score of the tournament was a 298 by Josh Smith of Richmond Model. Beechwood senior Matt Morehead tied for 22nd place overall with a 292 score and Simon Kenton freshman Holly Snow tied for 29th place with a 291.
Madison Central won the state team championship with 3442 total points. Simon Kenton placed 11th with 3386 and Ryle placed 16th with 3355.
Cooper quarterback recruited by one of top small-college programs
Cooper senior Jarod Lonaker, the leading passer in Kentucky high school football season, will be joining one of the most successful NCAA Division III programs in the country next season.
Lonaker has made a commitment with Wittenberg University in Ohio. The Tigers have the second-highest victory total (736) among NCAA Division III teams with only one losing season since 1955.
Last year, Wittenberg lost in the second round of the small-college national playoffs and finished with a 10-2 record. In the first round, the Tigers edged Thomas More, 33-30, in a four-overtime game that was the longest in Division III playoff history.
Lonaker had to wait until his senior year to become the starting quarterback for Cooper. He made the most of it by passing for 269 passing yards per game, the highest average in the state last season.
He completed 203 of 352 passes for 3,222 yards and 32 touchdowns to set team single-season records with all of those numbers. He also set a team record with 344 passing yards in one game.
NewCath basketball player will continue career with Division III team
Trey Wurtz, a senior starter on the Newport Central Catholic boys’ basketball team last season, will play basketball and study engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana next season.
Wurtz averaged 8.1 points and a team-high 5.4 rebounds as a post player for the NewCath team that was runner-up in the Kentucky All “A” Classic small-school state tournament last January. In the post-season playoffs, the Thoroughbreds won the 36th District and made it to the semifinals of the 9th Region tournament.
In the first round of the regional playoffs, Wurtz had 25 points and eight rebounds in a win over Ryle. He made 11 of 12 field goal attempts in that game and finished the season shooting 64.6 percent (128 of 198) from the field.
Rose-Hulman competes on the NCAA Division III level as a member of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.