N orthwest Ohio has long been considered a talent mine for high school sports.
Over the last 25 years, one could compile a long list of players who had both successful high school and college careers.
With a veteran sports staff, two members have worked at The Lima News for over 25 years — 1987-88 through 2011-12 — the idea was to come up with a list of the top 25 basketball players from the region over the last 25 years.
No present-day players were considered for the list. And, we realize that cutting it off at 25 years, eliminates some of the best players ever.
Going back 25 years made it a Silver Anniversary Team and not an all-time team.
The staff also factored how the players later played in college.
Here’s The Lima News’ list of the top 25 girls
basketball players over the last 25 years.
1 CAITY MATTER
Her career total of 2,274 points ranks first all-time in the area and 15th in state history. She was a two-time Division III state Player of the Year. She was runner-up for Ms. Basketball as a senior. She led her team to a state runner-up finish in 2000. She scored 32 points in the state semifinals against Eastern Brown. Her career 3-point percentage of 43.1 percent ranks second in Ohio history. Played at Ohio State and scored 1,523 career points.
2 JENNIFER PHILLIPS
She’s a member of the Elida and Xavier University Hall of Fame. She led Elida to the 1997 Division II state title and was named the state Division II Player of the Year that season. She finished with 1,328 points at Elida. As a senior, she averaged 19.6 points. She scored 1,607 points and had 968 rebounds at Xavier.
3 LYNN BIHN
(Fort Recovery, 1988-1991)
Her power inside game led the Indians to back-to-back state titles in 1990 and 1991. She holds the record for most points (43) in a championship game for any division (1991 against McDonald). She was a two-time Division IV state co-Player of the Year. She scored 1,592 points at Fort Recovery and 1,607 points at Xavier.
4 NIKKI MIARS
(St. Marys, 1992-1995)
Miars was a scoring machine, who scored 2,006 points at St. Marys. She was a three-time Division II first team all-Ohio player. She went on to South Carolina where she scored 1,263 points.
5 TAMMY WILLIAMS
(Lima Senior, 1986-1989)
First team all-Ohio as senior (23.3); second team all-state as a junior (21.6). Scored 1,453 career points. Lima Senior’s only trip to state in 1989. Played at DePaul.
6 LAUREN SHENK
She led Minster to the 1998 state championship, including making 15 free throws in the state championship game against Hopewell Loudon. She scored 1,671 points at Minster and was first team all-Ohio twice. She went on to score 1,155 points at Ohio State.
7 GWEN HURLEY
(Upper Scioto Valley, 1991-1994)
Hurley was the driving force for the Rams to win back-to-back state titles in 1993 and ’94. She scored 1,700 career
points at USV. She was first team all-state and the co-Player of the Year as a senior. She was second team all-Ohio as a junior. She played at Kent State before a knee injury ended her career.
8 LINDSEY KENTNER
The point guard scored 1,267 for the Redskins. She was named second team all-Ohio as a senior. She went on to score 1,576 points at the University of Charleston.
9 CHRISSY BILLITER
She helped Elida to state runner-up in 1995. She was named first team all-Ohio as a senior. She finished her career with 1,875 points to stand atop the all-time scoring list at Elida. The high-scoring guard averaged 22.9 points as a senior and 21.7 as a junior.
10 CAREY POOR
Carey Poor and her entire state championship Celina team of 1991 were inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. Poor was first team all-Ohio that year and averaged 19.5 points. She’s the all-time leading scorer at Celina with 1,333 points. She went on to play at Notre Dame and was a two-time captain for the Irish.
11. SHERRY KAHLE
She scored 1,414 career points (fifth all-time) and helped Bath to a state runner-up finish in 1996. She was the Division II Ohio Player of the Year. She scored 886 points at Bowling Green State.
12 FRANCINE MILLER
She tossed in 1,249 points at Kalida and was named first team all-Ohio. She then was a scoring machine at Bowling Green State with 1,574 points.
13 KARLA WENZLICK
She was first team all-Ohio twice and was the co-Player of the Year in Ohio as a senior. She is Ottoville’s girls all-time leading scorer with 1,851 points.
14 ALLIE CLIFTON
(Van Wert, 2003-2006)
She is the girls all-time leading scorer at Van Wert with 1,330 points. She was first team all-Ohio as a senior. She started four years at Toledo.
15 JENNY RAUH
She scored 1,814 points at Coldwater for her career. She went on to play at Xavier and scored 1,105 points. She was first team all-Ohio as a senior.
16 MADINAH SLAISE
(Lima Senior, 1992-1995)
She scored 1,047 points at Lima Senior and was special mention all-Ohio. Then, at the University of Cincinnati she scored 1,849 points. She was a second-round pick in the WNBA.
17 MELANIE HALKER
She scored 1,204 points at O-G, then went on to Siena. She’s the second all-time scorer at Siena with 2,021 points. She’s the Siena all-time leading rebounder with 1,122 (10-rebound average). She’s in the Siena Hall of Fame.
18 MARIA MOELLER
(Marion Local, 2003-2006)
The Flyers point guard scored 1,509 points and was a two-time first team all-Ohio selection. She went on to play at Ohio State.
19 COBIE CARLISLE
(Lima Senior, 1999-2002)
She was Division I first team all-Ohio when she averaged 23.7 points. She ranks second all-time in girls scoring at Lima Senior with 1,377 points. She played at Jacksonville State.
She scored 1,059 points at O-G and is the career leader in rebounds and steals. She’s Captial’s career leader in points (2,248) and rebounds.
21 SARA PUTHOFF
(Marion Local, 1991-1994)
She scored 1,591 points for the Flyers. She then scored 1,678 points at Bowling Green State.
22. LAUREN SLUSSER
(Columbus Grove, 1999-2002)
She scored 1,500 points at Columbus Grove and was third team all-Ohio when she scored 25.1 points. She played volleyball at Miami.
23 CARIN HORNE
(Lima Senior, 2003-2006)
She was second team all-Ohio as a senior when she averaged 19.5 points. She scored 1,020 points at Lima Senior. She then scored 1,341 points at Bowling Green State.
24. TERESA KAHLE
She scored 1,028 points at Bath and was first team all-Ohio in 1999 when she averaged 19 points and 9 rebounds. She played on the state runner-up teams of 1996 and 1999. She went on to score 849 points at the University of Toledo.
25 LINDA HORNER
She was the first girls basketball player to score 1,000 points at Perry and finished with 1,189 points, which ranks second all-time. She played at Findlay.