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Ironton basketball officials name first annual scholarship winners

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

Making a call on a close play at the end of a basketball game might be tough for an official, but it wasn’t as tough as the call a panel of officials had to make regarding a scholarship award.

The Ironton Chapter of Ohio High School Basketball Officials made their selection for the first recipients of their inaugural student/athlete scholarship.

The Ironton officials held a youth basketball tournament in February with officials donating their time to raise money for two scholarships to be presented to students from schools in Lawrence County as well as Ohio Valley Conference members Portsmouth and Gallipolis.

“It was a grueling process. We have five veteran officials on the committee and they spent five hours trying to select one boy and one girl,” said official Chris Meenach.

“They were all very deserving. It was satisfying but very heartbreaking as well. I wish we could give each one of them a scholarship.”

The winners were Rock Hill senior Brian French and South Point senior Haley Rawlins.

French played four years of football, two years of basketball and also served as an assistant coach for the youth football team, the youth basketball team and the summer travel basketball team. He is also a member of the volunteer fire department.

Rawlins is a four-year starter in softball who signed with Shawnee State University. She was also a four-year starter in basketball and played three years of volleyball.

“It is very gratifying and humbling to be able to help the local youth. We just wanted to give something back to the community,” said Meenach.

Each winner will receive a $750 scholarship. Meenach said the officials are hopeful that the award will grow in the future.

Meenach said the officials expressed their gratitude for the students time and interest in the process.

“We want to do more for the kids. They all took their time to write their essay and is was very heart warming to see the quality of students we have in our area,” said Meenach.