WARTBURG — For the third time in four years, Oneida's Marv West was named the District 4-A coach of the year in a vote of his peers here Wednesday, Feb. 8, while Lady Indian senior Baylee Thomas shared the district's player of the year award with Coalfield's Kaylea Foster.
West was named the district's coach of the year after guiding his team to the regular season District 4-A championship. He also won the award in 2016 and in 2014. Oliver Springs' Michelle Christopher won the award in 2015. With each team boasting just one district loss, Oneida found itself trailing by 22 points in the second half of Tuesday's game at Wartburg. However, the Lady Indians rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to force overtime and defeat the Bulldogs, 57-54, to earn the regular season championship, the top seed in the district tournament and an automatic berth into the Region 2-A Tournament.
With Oneida taking the top spot in the district, Thomas received a share of the district's player of the year honor, becoming the third Oneida player in four years to win the award. Baylee Newport was District 4-A's player of the year in 2016, while Micah Stephens won the award in 2014.
This year marked the third time in seven years that the player of the year honor has been shared. In 2015, Oliver Springs' Griffith twins, Emily and Rachel, shared the award. In 2011, Oneida's Alex Bond shared the award with Oakdale's Lindsey Kilby.
Two other Oneida seniors, Sidney Dishman and Emily Brooks, were named to the All-District 4-A team, while junior Emily Bertram received honorable mention.
Also named to the all-district team were Sunbright's Hannah Bowling, Coalfield's Taylor Bird, Oakdale's Hannah Coffey, Oliver Springs' Alina Baker, Alyssa Suttles and Rachel Crass, and Wartburg's Hannah Hurtt, Sydney Kidd and Makayla Poland.
On the boys' side, Wartburg's Joe Layne was named the district's coach of the year. The Bulldogs are tied with Oakdale for the top spot in District 4-A, heading into Friday's regular season finale between the two teams. However, the Bulldogs won the first meeting.
The player of the year on the boys' side was Coalfield junior Parker McKinney, who became the first Yellow Jacket to win the award in 18 years, and just the third all-time. Other Coalfield players to win were Brian Conlon in 1999 and Brad Jones — who is currently an assistant coach at the school — in 1987.
Oneida seniors JD Thomas and Zak Kazee were named All-District 4-A second team, while senior Logan Marlow and freshman Dalton Yancey received honorable mention.
The all-district first team consisted of Oakdale's Maverick Smith, Wartburg's Thomas Carroll and Dillon Fountain, Jellico's Gage Hyssop and Oakdale's Jackson Hicks. Also named to the second team were Jellico's Tony Smith, Oliver Springs' Tyler Melton and Sunbright's Luke Daniel.
Oneida girls will face the winner of Oliver Springs and Sunbright, the district's No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, in the District 4-A semifinals at Wartburg on Friday, Feb. 17. Should the Lady Indians win that game, the district championship game will be played Monday, Feb. 20, at 8 p.m. Wartburg will be favored to rematch Oneida on its home court.
On the boys' side, Oneida will travel to either Jellico or Coalfield in the first round of the district tournament. If the Indians beat Oliver Springs in Friday's regular season finale, they will finish as the district's fifth seed and travel to No. 4 Jellico for the first round of the tournament. If they lose to Oliver Springs, they will be the sixth seed and will travel to No. 3 Coalfield in the first round for a third consecutive season. Either way, the game will be played on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m.