MERCERVILLE, Ohio — Joseph Ehman had his number called.
He answered by accepting to play — even at the 11th hour — in the prestigious Ohio North-South boys basketball all-star game on Friday evening.
Ehman — the South Gallia High School senior standout — was contacted on Thursday about playing in the annual all-star bout, as he was actually a first alternate.
He was a member of the Division III-IV boys South squad, which took on its North counterparts — on the campus of Otterbein University.
The Ohio North-South senior all-star basketball games are sponsored by the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association.
The OHSBCA is broken down into districts, as District 13 is the district which Ehman represented — and includes Gallia, Meigs, Lawrence, Athens, Vinton, Jackson, Washington and Hocking counties.
Ehman replaced Chesapeake’s Gage Rhoades, who was originally selected as the District 13 Division III-IV representative — after being named the district’s Division III Player of the Year.
Ehman was the District 13 Division IV Player of the Year, but Rhoades was chosen by the district’s coaches as the North-South rep.
Rhoades, however, was unable to play — and Ehman and South Gallia received word on Thursday that he was the next man up.
In the North’s 97-84 win, he scored nine points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out one assist.
The five-foot, 10-inch senior shooting guard Ehman averaged 20. 1 points per game this season, as the Rebels went 17-5 in the regular campaign — and captured the Division IV sectional championship.
Ehman was also the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division Player of the Year, becoming the first player from Gallia County to win a POY award from the TVC.
South Gallia’s first season in the TVC was in 2010, as River Valley is completing its second academic year in the conference.
Gallia Academy, a charter member of the soon-to-be defunct Southeastern Ohio Athletic League, is in the Ohio Valley Conference now.
In addition to being named first-team all-district by the coaches, Ehman also made first-team Division IV all-Southeast District from the Associated Press.
Ehman joined Jordan Albright of Vinton County as the District 13 Division I-II representative, as Albright played for that South club following the D-III/IV tilt.
The senior Albright and Athens junior Griffin Lutz shared the District 13 Division I-II Player of the Year honors.
This marks the third consecutive season that the Ohio Valley Publishing area has had a representative in the North-South classic.
Last season, Southern’s Tristan Wolfe was the Division III-IV boys participant, and was academic all-Ohio.
Two years ago, Eastern’s Jenna Burdette of the Division IV state champion Lady Eagles was the D-III & IV girls choice.
In addition to Ehman, Meigs High School senior Colton Lilly was named to the OHSBCA all-Ohio academic team for Division II boys.
Lilly’s grade-point average — on a 4.0 scale — was a stellar 3.95, as he averaged 14.3 points per game for Ed Fry’s 18-5 Marauders.
Albright also made the Division II boys all-Ohio academic squad, as his coach was Matt Combs — who is also the District 13 Coaches Association Director.
Combs also shared the OHSBCA’s Division II state Coach of the Year honor, as he led the Vikings to the Division II district championship.
On Saturday night, Oak Hill boys basketball coach Norm Persin — who coached at Chesapeake for 21 years before his second and ongoing stint at Oak Hill — was formally inducted into the OHSBCA Hall of Fame.
Persin has coached the Oaks for the past decade, winning the Division IV state championship in 2009.
He has 685 career victories, which is fourth on Ohio’s all-time career wins list.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106