Rhyne puts the work in to earn Bowsher Memorial Trophy

By Brad Morris


Clayton Rhyne can still remember experiencing emotions he had never felt before.

The senior guard was inside a locker room at Zane Trace High School on Thanksgiving Eve, putting on his New Hope Christian Academy uniform for the first time in preparation for the season-opener in the Tip-Off Classic against Eastern Brown.

“I thought I was going to throw up before the game and I could barely stand in the locker room, because I was so nervous,” said Rhyne, who previously had played at Amanda-Clearcreek. “I never felt that way leading up to a game before, but as soon as the game started then I felt fine. I scored 38 points that night, shot the ball probably 25 times and it was so much fun and we got a big win to open the season against Eastern Brown (63-61 in overtime).

“After the game, I was thinking how could my teammates trust me so quickly? They were so happy for me and knew that’s how we were going to win this season. I felt so thankful to be playing with a group of guys like this, because they don’t care about stats and neither do I. All we care about is winning, because that’s the only stat that really matters.”

Rhyne has remained thankful for his teammates and showed that his performance in the Zane Trace Tip-Off Classic was just a preview of coming attractions.

New Hope senior Clayton Rhyne receives the Bob Bowsher Memorial Trophy from coach Shane Roese, who is a 1988 winner of the trophy.

The six-foot guard had a senior season to remember, averaging 26.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in helping to propel the Statesmen to a 19-win season and Ohio Christian School Athletic Association championship.

Rhyne was recently recognized for his outstanding season by earning the Bob Bowsher Memorial Trophy, presented to the top senior boys basketball player in Pickaway County.

“It’s an honor to win this award and I am very happy,” Rhyne said. “I hope this also continues to earn respect for our program here at New Hope, because we play some pretty good basketball.”

New Hope coach Shane Roese had coached against Rhyne twice when he previously played at Amanda-Clearcreek and knew he was adding a scorer to his program. Roese, a 1988 winner of the Bob Bowsher Memorial Trophy, came to have a high regard for the type of person and teammate that Rhyne was for the Statesmen.

“I knew Clayton could score the basketball, because he has a good first step and also has a good mid-range game, which has become a lost art at the high school level,” he said. “Getting to coach Clayton this season and spending a lot of time with him, I learned three things about him.

“First, he’s a worker, and he was intense all season long, whether if it was in a game or from practice-to-practice. There are players who work hard and there are players who compete hard, and Clayton competes hard every time he’s on a basketball court. Second, he’s a winner. He wants to win as much as any player I’ve had and he wants to win as much as I do, which I’ve always had a tremendous desire to win. We just give each other a look and day, ‘Let’s go’. Finally, he’s a great teammate. He came in with a humble spirit, worked extremely hard every day and he earned the respect of his teammates. He loves his teammates and his teammates love him and accepted him into our program.”

New Hope’s Clayton Rhyne made an impact from Day 1 when he suited up in the red, white and blue of the Statesmen, including dropping 38 points in a season-opening overtime win over Eastern Brown.

The Statesmen picked up steam after Christmas, going on a stretch where they won eight of their next 12 games and finishing the season by prevailing in 14 of their final 19 contests.

“I feel so blessed to have been able to play on this team and be part of this program,” Rhyne said. “This is the most unselfish basketball team that I’ve played on, where everyone has accepted their role and works hard to excel in that role so we could have the type of success that we did.

“Lane Bruning would rebound the basketball and score 13-to-15 points a night, Hunter Cavanaugh was our point guard and could really hit the three, especially from the corner. I’d score 20-to-25 points a game and then we had Andrew Swank and Adam Rink really getting after it on defense, harassing the teams we were playing and generating some turnovers for us to get into transition.”

Rhyne consistently scored 30 points or more nine times during that stretch, helping lead the Statesmen to wins over eventual district runner-up Northmor and Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division champion Vinton County.

He also scored his 1,000th career point during a 54-49 win over Pickaway County rival Westfall in mid-January.

New Hope’s Clayton Rhyne poses for a photo with the Bob Bowsher Memorial Trophy, presented to the top senior boys basketball player in Pickaway County.

One of the games that stood out to Rhyne during the run was bouncing back from a loss to Eastern Pike the previous night to go on the road and hand Cincinnati Christian its first loss of the season, 69-65.

“We had to travel two-and-a-half hours down there the following afternoon and they looked a lot better than us,” Rhyne said of the Cougars, who finished the season at 21-3. “They outsized us at every position, they were more athletic, but we found a way as a team to beat them. That was a special win.”

The Statesmen won four games during the OCSAA tournament, including finishing the state championship game on a run of 22 straight points to defeat Community Christian 65-36 on the campus of Ohio Christian University.

Rhyne scored 16 of his game-high 34 points during the decisive fourth quarter run.

“We breezed past the first three opponents we played during the tournament and figured the last game would probably one-sided, as well,” Rhyne said. “We really struggled shooting the basketball and it was a seven-point game early in the fourth, where we knew we needed to do something.

“We started attacking from the wing to get into the lane and had success with it. I knew that if I missed the shot, Lane was the tallest player on the court (at 6-foot-7), and he would grab the rebound and score.”

New Hope’s Clayton Rhyne cuts down his part of a championship net following a 65-36 win over Community Christian in the OCSAA state final. Rhyne scored 16 of his game-high 34 points during a 22-0 run to seal the win.

Rhyne finishes his high school career with 1,359 points, a statistic that comes as a byproduct of countless hours of hard work. The senior guard spends 90 minutes daily during the spring, an hour shooting the basketball late into the twilight of summer and two hours a day during the fall to hone his craft.

“When I go out and shoot the basketball, I take my time and work on scenarios on how I am going to score, anticipating what the defense is going to do and reacting to how they are going to try and defend me, especially if I am driving to the basket,” Rhyne said. “I watch a lot of basketball on television, and I try to pick up moves from different players and try to develop them into my game while knowing my limits as a player.

“I don’t try to have 15 different moves that I can do. I try to do between five-to-seven as well as I can, along with developing my left hand so I can score off either hand.”

Roese would often grab a couple of players at the end of practice and watch from the opposite end of the court how Rhyne went about his work.

“I wanted them to watch Clayton put his ear plugs in, visualize those shots, how the defense was going to play him and go through those end of game scenarios where he kept winning the game time and time again,” Roese said. “Clayton is the type of player who makes a coach look good with his ability and his ability comes from the work he puts into his craft. No one is going to outwork Clayton.

“If the game is on the line, I was going to put the basketball in Clayton’s hand time and time again. I don’t care if he had missed 20 shots in a game, he was going to get that 21st shot because he put the work in to prepare for that opportunity. We need another two-to-three guys to be like that moving forward and want to follow in Clayton’s steps, so that’s why I take guys aside to show them what he does, because his success comes from all that preparation.”

Rhyne had the opportunity to play six times this season inside the Maxwell Center and was so comfortable that he will play the next four seasons collegiately for Ohio Christian University.

New Hope senior Clayton Rhyne recently signed to play basketball for Ohio Christian University.

“I knew I wanted to stay close to home, so that was the best opportunity to play the game I love for four more years,” Rhyne said. “I’m also excited about getting a degree in sports business management and trying to become an athletic director, so I can be around sports my whole life.”

Roese presented Rhyne with the Bowsher last Monday at the season-end banquet for the Trailblazers and recently rewatched the senior speech that Rhyne gave to his teammates and general audience in attendance.

“Clayton was thanking everyone and was getting emotional and then he suddenly changes from emotional to passionate,” Roese said. “He said, ‘Listen guys, you have got to work so we can win five more of these’. Clayton has played his last game for us, but he’s still saying we and setting standards, because he cares about our program and his teammates who are coming back.

“It was so passionate that I had to watch it again. People in the crowd got to see what I saw every day from Clayton.”

Bob Bowsher Memorial Trophy winners

1948 — James Picklesimer, Williamsport

1949 — Robert Pontius, Walnut

1950 — William Rowley, Darby

1951 — Lester Sanders, Monroe

1952 — Harley Evans, Atlanta

1953 — William Evans, Pickaway

1954 — Kenneth Kirk, New Holland

1955 — Harold Gerhardt, Atlanta

1956 — Gene Stonerock, Williamsport

1957 — Dave Smith, Pickaway

1958 — Richard Hoover, Ashville

1959 — Gary Valentine, Saltcreek

1960 — Robert Hoover, Ashville

1961 — Robert Eitel, Jackson

1962 — Thomas Rathburn, Ashville

1963 — Rick Pond, Williamsport

1964 — Tom Seeley, Monroe

1965 — Bill Fortner, Teays Valley

1966 — Neil Coleman, Westfall

1967 — Russ Merrin, Logan Elm

1968 — Charles Palmer, Westfall

1969 — Tom Lightie, Westfall

1970 — Dale Lambert, Teays Valley

1971 — Mark Knece, Logan Elm

1972 — Terry Morrison, Circleville

1973 — Tom Sykes, Logan Elm

1974 — Craig Pontius, Teays Valley

1975 — Perry Hoskins, Circleville

1976 — Biff Bumgarner, Circleville

1977 — Chuck Cave, Logan Elm

1978 — Toren Bensonhaver, Circleville

1979 — Terry Wright, Logan Elm

1980 — John Sanders, Teays Valley

1981 — Jerry Mowery, Westfall

1982 — Brad Rivers, Westfall

1983 — Doug Hoover, Teays Valley

1984 — Luke McConnell, Circleville

1985 — Marc Gothard, Teays Valley

1986 — Kyle Wolfe, Westfall

1987 — Trond Smith, Logan Elm

1988 — Shane Roese, Teays Valley

1989 — Mike Miller, Teays Valley

1990 — Donn Rathburn, Teays Valley

1991 — Chris Strawser, Circleville

1992 — Ashley Hoskins, Circleville

1993 — Brian Dollison, Westfall

1994 — Brandon Lambert, Teays Valley

1995 — Tony Picklesimer, Westfall

1996 — Trevor Younkin, Teays Valley

1997 — Thom Patete, Westfall

1998 — Lee Gunn, Logan Elm

1999 — Brad Brooks, Logan Elm

2000 — Tyler Schleich, Westfall

2001 — Adam Stewart, Teays Valley

2002 — Matt Fosnaugh, Teays Valley

2003 — Craig Stewart, Circleville

2004 — Drew Shaw, Westfall

2005 — Tyler Evans, Logan Elm

2006 — Evan Blake, Logan Elm

2007 — Cory Cooper, Circleville

2008 — Steve Largent, Logan Elm

2009 — Tim Congrove, Logan Elm

2010 — Adam Blake, Logan Elm

2011 — Nate Anderson, Teays Valley

2012 — Nathan Moats, Circleville

2013 — Alek Stonerock, Westfall

2014 — Dillon Young, Logan Elm

2015 — Preston Gothard, Teays Valley

2016 — Michael Camp, Circleville

2017 — Ridge Young, Logan Elm

2018 — Isaac Roese, New Hope

2019 — Ryan Wolfe, Teays Valley

2020 — Jay Wyman, Westfall

2021 — Isaac Ward, Logan Elm

2022 — Cameron Dyas-Rogers, Teays Valley

2023 — Clayton Rhyne, New Hope

— Bob Bowsher was an outstanding student-athlete from Circleville who died in World War II serving his country.

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One thought on “Rhyne puts the work in to earn Bowsher Memorial Trophy

  1. Thank you Mr. Morris for the article on our Clayton. For as good as a player and teammate he is, he’s even a better son. Thank you for writing these articles so we can forever remember his accomplishments and this special New Hope family that we forever have. So excited to see how GOD will continue to work in his life.

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