SOUTH WEBSTER – South Webster’s Bri Claxon simply started as a substitute.
But, most of the time, it is indeed not about how you start, but rather how you end.
And, for the Gannon University and District 14 Coaches Association Division IV Player of the Year, her last high school basketball game — thanks to her stellar final quarter — s ended with the Most Valuable Player honor.
That’s because Claxon, competing for Team South as a participant in the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association’s prestigious North-South All-Star Game on April 22, won the Division III contest MVP- IV – after participating in a match. -high 26 points, including 16 in the decisive fourth quarter.
In other words, among the top Division III and IV players in the entire state, Claxon has more than well represented South Webster — and District 14 which spans the dozen schools in Scioto County.
Claxon’s claim of the District 14 Coaches Association’s Division IV POY was one of his few postseason plaques and trophies – which also included Ohio First Team honors from Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association.
She did this automatically by winning the Division IV Southeast District POY, awarded annually by OPSWA and no longer by the Associated Press.
The OPSWA All District Awards cover both District 14 AND District 13, which include Lawrence, Gallia and Meigs counties.
But back to the game, and how Claxon got there, is quite unique – or is it for a Jeep past and present?
That’s because Brett Roberts, the current SWHS manager and same-game substitute on the boys’ side in 1988, also won the MVP award.
For Claxon, she was the North-South alternative due to the selection of Allison Basye – the star of Huntington and District 14 Division III POY.
Bayse was also chosen as the OHSBCA Division III MVP, as only one senior from each district – whether Division III OR IV – can be nominated to play in the North-South game.
District 14 is also represented by a Division II winner.
However, Claxon said she soon discovered – despite her original alternate status – that efforts were underway to allow her to compete, although she ended up replacing another all-star selection.
“The (SWHS) coach (Ryan) Dutiel said even though I was a substitute they were going to try to let me play. So shortly after the award ceremony I was told I could play Claxon said “I don’t know who I replaced.”
In the end, it didn’t matter — because Claxon connected on jumps and three-point shots, and went for her 26 points.
All but 10 have come in the final eight minutes, and none of her scorers have come from the free throw line – where she rarely misses.
Truth be told, the now defunct Lady Jeep has one of the smoothest jumpers for ANY high school basketball player, female or male.
“I loved it. My thinking was just to go out and have fun and show people that I can play with the girls that are good,” Claxon said. “It was really fun to get the chance to play with a very talented group of players. I had a very good experience. In the first half, I wasn’t doing badly, but I just didn’t have as many chances to score. In the second half I just found ways to score and things really started going my way, especially in the fourth quarter. They were giving me some space in attack, so I just took advantage of that space. Honestly, once I felt comfortable playing, I just had fun and things went well.
Like her Lady Jeep career in a nutshell.
In her final game at South Webster, she broke her own single-game scoring record – amassing 44 points in the Lady Jeeps’ Ohio Southern Conference Division II makeup game against Waverly.
Those 44 gave her 665 points for her senior season – as she also set a new SWHS record for most points in a single campaign.
Claxon concluded her decorated South Webster career as the second-highest all-time scorer in Lady Jeeps history, finishing with 1,859 career points – behind the legendary Kayla Cook, who tallied 2,165 in her four years.
Claxon could score at will at times – and averaged 26.3 points per game, as his All-State (OPSWA) selection was his third and final.
She averaged 25.7 points per tilt as a junior, a jump of exactly seven from her 18.7 points per fight as a sophomore.
She was Ohio’s third team in 2020, a second team in 2021 and finally the first team of all states in her senior year.
“I feel very lucky to have a lot of God-given athletic ability, but I’m also proud because I worked so that I could do well on the court,” Claxon said. “Only a few girls in the state are chosen (the entire Ohio first team), so I’m just grateful to have been one of them.”
And, even fewer are awarded North-South Classic MVP honors, which is indeed exactly how Claxon ended his Jeep career.
Bri Claxon (12) of South Webster was the District 14 Coaches Association Division IV Player of the Year.
South Webster’s Bri Claxon earned Most Valuable Player honors at the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association’s annual North-South All-Star Game at Newark High School. Claxon participated in the Division III-IV match.
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