The 2020-2021 basketball season for the Vinton County Lady Vikings officially came to an end when head coach Rod Bentley and the staff recently held an Awards Program at the high school gym.

The official hosts for the program were Head Coach Rod Bentley, Assistant Coach Bob Grillo, Assistant Coach Brett Jones, and Assistant Coach Makayla Puckett. The coaching staff also took time to introduce this historic group for the final time.

The varsity roster was as follows: #00 Chloe Haybron, #2 Lakin Williams, #4 Myriah Davis, #5 Lydia Nichols, #10 Allison Riddle, #12 Tegan Bartoe, #21 Morgan Bentley, #22 Lydia Lenegar, #23 Lacie Williams, #24 Ashley Bentley, #25 Karis Caudill, #32 Cameron Zinn, and #33 Rylee Ousley. 

The Lady Vikings made history by becoming the first basketball team in school history to appear in the State Tournament and also winning the semi-final game, 53-51 over Shaker Heights Laurel. The Lady Vikings were defeated by Napoleon in the State Championship game and finished the season with a 26-2 overall record.

Coach Bentley called up each player and said a little about her and the contribution she made to the team’s success. He noted the players were very dedicated and did what they needed to do to be successful and that the staff was very proud of them. Bentley acknowledged the seniors for their important leadership roles: Morgan Bentley, Myriah Davis, Allison Riddle, Lydia Nichols, and Lydia Lenegar.

The state-level individual awards were also announced. Morgan Bentley was a First-Team All-District and First-Team All-Ohio selection. Cameron Zinn was a Second-Team All-Ohio selection while Myriah Davis also was an All- Ohio Team Special Mention selection.  Bentley received the ultimate coaching honor when he was named as the sole recipient of the Division II Coach of the Year award.

As he looked back, Bentley noted there were many special moments during the year. Morgan Bentley established a new career scoring record, surpassing the past record-holder, Erica Hayes Zinn. This season’s team also captured its first-ever Regional Tournament and District Tournament titles.

Bentley expressed pride in what the program has accomplished at Vinton County High School – and added that he hopes the high standard will be upheld in the future.

“We have set a standard here and want it to continue into the future,” Bentley stated. 

During his comments, Assistant Coach Grillo commented this historic run was not accomplished without other forms of support. He extended thanks to Athletic Director Matt Combs, all the parents who made the sacrifices for their daughters, and the Vinton County National Bank for its contribution to cover State Tournament expenses in Dayton.

 Grillo also thanked the local media including Telegram Sports Editor Todd Compston, Telegram Staff Writer and Photographer Red Thompson, Jr. along with media representatives from the Vinton-Jackson Courier and Athens Messenger. On the electronic side, he also thanked BMG Media and Total Media radio broadcasters Jeff Thacker and Brian Radabaugh. 

Grillo also extended kudos to public-address announcers Bruce Knox and Roger Hauck for all they did this season. Thanks also went out to the Vinton County Athletic Boosters as well as all others who gave any kind of contributions. This included volunteer time and services and/or financial donations. He also expressed appreciation for the support and services of the McArthur Police Department, and the Vinton County Sheriff's Office.

Assistant Coaches Jones and Puckett also thanked their players for their hard work and contributions.

Bentley also noted the great experience of the past season touched him in many ways.

He thanked Total Media's Main Street TV for the exposure he and the team received when they were featured on one of the shows during the State Tournament week. Bentley also gave a personal testimonial to his wife, Rhonda, and his family members for their help in making all of this possible. 

“A head-basketball coach is not always home in the winter,” Bentley observed. “I am not always around when needed as much as I would like. I want to thank Rhonda and my sons for letting me do what I love.”

 Bentley also expressed excitement and optimism about next season’s team. Many players that got him to the State Tournament will be returning such as starters -- Cameron Zinn, Lacie Williams, and Tegan Bartoe. He said he anticipates that all players in the program “will go the extra mile” to maintain that high standard. He said the players are committed and hopefully the team can achieve more outstanding results.

All in all, the 2021 season is a true storybook ending for the Lady Vikings Program.