Twinsburg senior Malina Howard will play under a national spotlight Wednesday night in the 2012 McDonald’s All-American Girls Basketball Game.

Howard, a 6-foot-4 center, is one of 24 girls from around the United States who will compete in the game, which will start at 7 p.m. and be televised live on ESPNU from the United Center in Chicago.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Howard said. “We got to visit the Ronald McDonald House and be with kids, which was very fun and eye-opening. I’m really excited for [Monday’s] Jam Fest and Wednesday’s All-Star Game.”

Howard guided Twinsburg to two consecutive Division I state titles as a junior and senior, and she has committed to play at the University of Maryland.

She will wear No. 14 for the East team, instead of her customary No. 5.

The McDonald’s All-American Boys Basketball Game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPN.

Howard is the only player, girl or boy, from Ohio in the field of 48 players.

Green fires AD Pfaff

The Green Local School Board elected not to renew Athletic Director Mark Pfaff’s one-year contract by unanimous decision Monday night.

Pfaff served as Green’s athletic director for 13 years and has been with the school for 23 years in all. His current contract expires in July.

A year ago, principal Cindy Brown recommended to the board a one-year renewal for Pfaff, which the board followed. This year, Brown had advocated a two-year renewal.

Many spoke on Pfaff’s behalf, including boys basketball coach Mark Kinsley, who didn’t understand why the board didn’t follow Brown’s counsel this time around.

“Last year she said [Pfaff] had some things to work on, and to my understanding he did that,” Kinsley said. “Now this year she recommends a two-year contract, and the board doesn’t listen. That was my question.”

Crusading on the diamond

The Canton Central Catholic baseball team returns three full-time starters from last season’s team, which won the Division III state championship and posted a 26-8 record.

The three players are senior right-handed pitcher Brad Frohman, senior catcher Anthony Paone and junior center fielder/right-handed pitcher Jake Krupar.

“We have been outside constantly,” Crusaders coach Doug Miller said. “We were outside the last four weeks on the field more than ever. This has been an absolutely amazing preseason.”

Central Catholic graduated 10 seniors off last year’s team. This is Miller’s 31st season as coach.

Hoban baseball reloads

Archbishop Hoban baseball coach Jim Diestel is reloading his team after 11 seniors — eight starters — graduated from last year’s team, which finished as the Division II state runner-up with a 20-9 record.

Seniors Nick Corbett (right-handed pitcher/first baseman), Tom Yakubowski (catcher/outfielder) and Colin Shaub (right-handed pitcher) return for the Knights, along with junior Aaron Cain (outfielder).

“They were all contributors down the stretch last season for us,” Diestel said.

Welcomed sunshine

Count Ellet baseball coach John Sarver among the many area coaches pleased with last week’s heat wave.

Sarver said the Orangemen got outside nine times over the past two weeks to compete in four scrimmages and hold five practices.

“It was like we took our team to Florida for a week and a half, and it didn’t cost us a dime,” Sarver said. “I can’t remember being out for more than just a few individual days in February or March. I recall individual days where we could get outside and throw long toss in the parking lot, but rarely were we able to get on the field.”

Ellet’s top returnees are seniors Aaron Male (center fielder), Tyler Simcox (third base), Nick Liston (left-handed pitcher/first base/designated hitter) and Bryan Staley (left-handed pitcher/first base) and junior Cory Campano (catcher).

Hoover aims for No. 6

Senior catcher Erika Warren and sophomore shortstop Jenna Lilley are among seven returning starters for the North Canton Hoover softball team, which will try to win its second Division I state title in a row and sixth overall.

Coach Jerry Goodpasture guided the Vikings to a 30-3 record last season and a state title. Warren has signed with Kent State University and Lilley has orally committed to the University of Oregon.

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. ?Sports correspondent Ryan Lewis contributed to this report.