Fort Frye Cadet makes first-team all-state

BEVERLY – Shon Smith is an early riser when it comes to polishing his basketball skills on the hardwood.

Just ask Eric Henniger.

“Shon loves the game,” said the first-year Fort Frye head basketball coach. “He often came in at 6:30 a.m. before school started for a shootaround.

“He works at it, and he’s a tough player.”

All of that hard work has paid off as the 5-foot-10 Smith was honored as an Ohio Division III first-team selection by the Associated Press Tuesday night.

“It’s pretty crazy, pretty cool,” said Smith on learning of his selection to the first team. “It’s been one of my goals to be first team before I graduate.

“I’d like to give a lot of credit to my teammates and coaches.”

Last year, Smith averaged 18.6 points per game and was a third-team all-state honoree.

This winter, the Cadet senior standout improved his ppg to 20, and led the Beverly-based high school to a 15-8 overall record and a share of the Pioneer Valley Conference title. During one game against Warren, which is scheduled to play Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in a D-II state tournament semifinal game at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, he poured in a career-high 37 points, including 23 in the fourth quarter.

Smith also had a 31-point game against Shenandoah. Last year, he tallied 35 in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championship game against Magnolia (W.Va.).

During his prep career, Smith scored a career 1,277 points, including 459 in his senior season.

This winter, he averaged 4.3 rebounds per game, 3.4 assists per game, and had a total of 61 steals in 23 games.

Form the foul line, Smith was a deadeye, converting 88 of 116 (75.9 percent).

“Shon has always had the ability to step up whenever we needed a bucket,” Henniger said.

Smith said he’s planning to play in the North-South All-Star basketball game and the BACF (Battle Against Cystics Fibrosis) All-Star hoops contest.

He’s also hoping to compete at the collegiate level next season.

Currently, Smith is a student and employed at Lakeside Golf Course.

Last fall, he was a standout golfer for the Cadets.

Smith is the son of Steve and Stephanie Smith of Beverly.

Joining Smith as an All-Ohio honoree was Fort Frye teammate Chandler Lang, who was selected honorable mention.

Lang, a senior, averaged 9.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, and 2.4 apg. He also had 40 steals, and from 3-point range, he was 24 of 70 (34.3 percent).

“Chandler was a stud defensive player for us,” Henniger said.

Last fall, Lang was a standout quarterback on the Fort Frye football team that made the playoffs.

Belpre’s Dakota Hoffman was also honorable mention all-state.