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High school boys basketball: Finalists for Clark Kellogg Award announced

Mar. 13—Five finalists are vying for the News-Herald's Clark Kellogg Award and its another talented bunch jockeying for the award.

The Clark Kellogg Award is presented annually to The News-Herald's boys basketball player of the year. Kellogg — the longtime college basketball commentator for CBS — played at St. Joseph and still holds the record for most points scored in a state final. He went on to play at Ohio State as well as in the NBA.

The award will be presented during a special edition of The Varsity ChalkTalk Show, hosted by Bill Tilton. The show starts at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 25 at Hooley Pub and Kitchen in Mentor. The Kaayla Chones Award, which is presented to The News-Herald's girls basketball player of the year, along with coach of the year for boys and girls basketball will also be presented.

The five finalists for the Kellogg Award, in alphabetical order, are Madison's JP Dragas, Mentor's Ian Ioppolo, Richmond Heights' Dorian Jones, Cornerstone's Quinn Kwasniak, and North's Sean Register.

Dragas, a four-year starter for the Blue Streaks, finished the season averaging 27.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 4.3 steals with 65 3-pointers. He guided Madison to a share of the CVC-Lake division title and a 16-7 record. He also added his name to the short list of players that have reached 2,000 career points.

Ioppolo is a three-year starter for the Cardinals and reached the 1,000 point mark. He's gone more inside this season with nine rebounds per game while averaging a team-high 26.8 points, both of which led Mentor. While he's 6-foot-7, Ioppolo is also a threat from beyond the arc with 65 shots from 3-pointer range made.

Jones and the Spartans played a national schedule, and while his stats were lower than his past two seasons, he still was the leader for Richmond Heights. He averaged a team high 14.1 points per game to go with 4.6 rebounds, and three steals for regional finalists Richmond Heights. Jones is also the defending Clark Kellogg Award winner.

Kwasniak,a junior, also surpassed the 2,000-point career scoring mark this season, while also setting a state record for most 3-pointers made in a season with 155. He led the coverage area with 33 points per game and a team that reached the district final as a 24 seed.

Register started the season breaking North's all-time scoring record and continued to lead the Rangers. He finished the season averaging 29 points and 11.1 rebounds, among the area leaders in both categories. Register also had a team high 3.8 assists and two blocks.

The three finalists for the boys basketball coach of the year are — in alphabetical order — Fairport's Dustin Ettinger, North's Clint Nicholson and VASJ's Ashen Ward.

Ettinger led Fairport to a 19-6 record, the best mark for the Skippers in more than 20 years. The Skippers had five of their losses by less than 10 points and three decided by one possession en route to a district semifinal appearance.

Nicholson guided the Rangers to a 16-8 record, along with a 9-1 mark in the conference, for their first conference title in a decade.

Ward helped VASJ recover from a 3-5 start to an 18-7 finish, with an eight-game win streak thrown in as well, en route to a regional round appearance.