Trumbull County honors
Brian Force, Alli Pavlik and Peyton Aldridge never take things for granted.
The three saw their teams had respective success this season. Individually, the three were honored on this year’s Northeast Ohio All-Inland District team announced Wednesday. The team was voted on by area newspaper representatives from the Inland District area.
Force, the first-year Lordstown High School boys basketball coach, saw the Red Devils go 13-9 this season and spilt the Northeastern Athletic Conference, Stripes Division title with Bristol. It was the first year Lordstown has won a regular-season title since claiming back-to-back Trumbull A league titles in the mid 1970s.
“What it means to our community…” said Force, who was named Division IV Inland Coach of the Year. “I’ve lived here for the better part of 11 years. It means so much to our community, the pride and excitement that we have had here in the last year. To provide our kids with something successful. I’m proud of bringing something like that with that kind of energy this year.”
Force took the year off of coaching after being the head coach at Aurora for four years and at Berkshire two years prior to that.
He spent the offseason building a youth program in Lordstown, something his son and others like him could benefit from for years to come.
“We’re really trying to get a program established from top to bottom,”Force said. “We really do not want to be one of those flash in the pan kind of thing.”
No one saw Pavlik, a 5-foot-7 senior guard from Lakeview, as a one-hit wonder. She’s already committed to play soccer next year at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, but she will always have a soft spot for basketball.
“I’m still going to be able to shoot around and touch the ball. That’s my No. 1 sport. It’s going to be hard, though,” Pavlik said.
It wasn’t hard for Pavlik to see 2012 graduate Ali Gagne set the school’s scoring record, dropping the occasional 30-, 40-point game. Gagne even scored 46 against Conneaut in December of 2011. It motivated Pavlik in her quest to become the best.
“I was a sophomore when Ali Gagne got that single-game scoring record,” said Pavlik, who was named Division II District Player of the Year. “When I saw her do that, I said I was going to do this. I had 47 against Campbell last year. I was going to try to do that.”
This year, Pavlik, who averaged 26.2 points per game, had 56 against Campbell in late December. She scored 48 a month later against a stingy Girard team.
“When we played Girard, I didn’t go into the game thinking I was going to score 48 points,” Pavlik said. “They’re a good team. It was great I was able to do this against a good team. I played to win that game. That kind of game I didn’t know I had that many.”
And when she won this year’s district award, Pavlik didn’t expect it either.
“It just a reflection of my team and my coaches,” she said.
There was no surprise Aldridge, a 6-foot-8 forward, was named Division III District Player of the Year for the third straight season. The LaBrae senior, who averaged 21.4 points, 14.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists and four blocks per game, is heading to Davidson College, a perennial NCAA Tournament qualifier, next season.
“It’s a really nice honor for all the work I’ve been putting in,” Aldridge said. “I’d like to thank my teammates for that. They’ve helped me throughout the years.”
Aldridge, who has remained humble throughout the years, said he never takes any of these awards for granite.
“I’ve been always told by my parents to always be humble. I thank God for the ability to be able to play. I have to remember there’s more out there than just playing basketball,” Aldridge said.
Other area honors went to:
Windham’s Jessica Isler, Division IV girls Player of the Year;
Western Reserve coach Steve Miller, Division IV girls Coach of the Year;
Ursuline’s Tanaya Beachum, Division III girls Player of the Year;
South Range coach Tony Matisi, Division III girls Coach of the Year.