DARKE COUNTY – Darke County basketball players had a tremendous season, as evidenced by the numerous conference, district and state recognition they have received this year.
Few players played as well this season as those from Tri-Village, which earned a pair of the Patriots the title of Darke County basketball MVPs for the 2011-12 season.
The 2011-12 Darke County boys basketball MVP is Tri-Village’s Kyle Pipenger and the Darke County girls basketball MVP is Tri-Village’s Kayla Linkous.
Pipenger was one of the top basketball players in the area throughout the season and earned the title of Cross County Conference boys basketball player of the year.
“Kyle had an exceptional year,” Tri-Village boys basketball coach Josh Sagester said. “He was probably the most efficient player in southwest Ohio.”
The junior guard also was named first team District 9 by the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association, third team all-Southwest District by The Associated Press and to the top 100 underclassmen game.
“Kyle’s versatility is what makes him so special,” Sagester said. “He can score from the perimeter, attack the rim and make others better all the while guarding the opposing team’s best player.”
Pipenger led all Darke County boys basketball players with 20.5 points per game this season. He also was in the top 10 in rebounds and assists, with 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
His 20.5 points per game rank second in school history, as do his 493 points on the season and his 185 field goals on the season.
“His statistics are staggering, but the most important statistic is the number of wins he helped accumulate this year,” Sagester said.
With a lot of players returning to the Patriots next year, including Pipenger, Sagester said he’s excited about the future of Tri-Village basketball.
“With the nucleus we have returning and the addition of few younger players, we have extremely high expectations for next year, but it is a good feeling as a coach to know that you have the league and county player of the year returning,” Sagester said.
Linkous showed she was one of the best basketball players in Ohio her senior season, earning Division IV co-player of the year honors from the AP. She also was the CCC girls basketball player of the year among a plethora of awards she received.
“I am going to sound like a broken record here, but Kayla is very deserving of everything she gets because she has earned it with all the time and effort she has put in,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said. “It is very rewarding to see her get recognized for that hard work.”
Linkous led all Darke County basketball players with 25.6 points per game and 11.8 rebounds per game this season.
“Her consistency through her four years here has been astonishing,” Gray said. “Evidence of that is her career numbers that she has put up and the numerous post season awards she has achieved.”
The senior also helped lead Tri-Village to the state final four for the first time in school history this season.
“I am proud of what Kayla has done, not only individually, but as a teammate as well,” Gray said. “Her individual success has led to a high level of team success for the Lady Patriot basketball program. She has been an example that our young kids can look up to, and I certainly hope that our young kids have recognized her hard work and choose to follow the same path that Kayla has.”