Twinsburg senior Malina Howard and Canton McKinley senior Ameryst Alston have led their respective teams to Division I state championships.


The duo could be paired up on the same team in the 2012 McDonald’s All American Girls Basketball Game on March 28 in Chicago.


Howard and Alston are among 600 boys and girls nationally who were nominated for the event by high school coaches, athletic directors and principals, McDonald’s announced.


“It is really exciting to know that people regard me that high and will give me a chance to be a part of that,” Howard said.


Howard guided Twinsburg to the 2011 state title and played with USA Basketball youth teams internationally during the summers of 2011 and 2010.


Alston, the 2011 Ms. Ohio Basketball, led McKinley to the 2010 state title and the 2011 Associated Press regular season poll title.


“It is an amazing feeling,” Alston said. “Just to be able to get nominated is a blessing in itself. I am happy about that.


“It is one of my goals. I always wanted to be a part of that.”


Five players from Northeast Ohio are on the nomination list. The other three are Medina senior Kenny Kaminski, Shaker Heights senior Terry Rozier and Middleburg Heights Midpark senior Rachel Theriot, who played her first two years of high school basketball at Walsh Jesuit.


Kaminski, a Michigan State recruit, is out this basketball season after a football injury. The complete list of 2012 McDonald’s All American Games nominees is available at www.mcdaag.com. The final roster of 24 boys and 24 girls selected for the 2012 games will be announced during the McDonald’s All American Games Selection Show on ESPNU at 5 p.m. Feb. 9.


“Most definitely it is quite an honor,” McKinley coach Pam Davis said. “These are the elite girls in the country and I definitely think Ameryst is worthy of the nomination. It will depend on the selection committee and what they are looking for as far as guards, forwards and post players.”


Alston, a 5-foot-10 guard and Ohio State recruit, is averaging around 27 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals this season.


Howard, a 6-foot-4 center and Maryland recruit, is averaging around 16 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks this season.


“I think this is something that Malina deserves and has worked her entire career for,” Twinsburg coach Julie Solis said. “She is very excited for the opportunity. She is definitely a very worthy nominee and would definitely represent Ohio very well if chosen.”


The 11th annual McDonald’s All American Girls Game will tip off at 7 p.m. March 28 at the United Center and will be broadcast live on ESPNU.


The 35th annual McDonald’s All American Boys Game will tip off after the girls game at about 9:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.


Howard said she attended the 2010 McDonald’s All American Games in Columbus during her sophomore year.


“It was very exiting,” Howard said. “It was just a fun atmosphere to be around. There were a lot of great players there playing unselfish basketball and having fun.”


Walsh wins swim meets


The Walsh Jesuit boys and girls swim teams continued their mastery of the Barberton Invitational on Saturday at the University of Akron’s Ocasek Natatorium.


Warriors coach Wally Lutkus said the boys team won its sixth consecutive title at the event and the girls team won its third crown in a row.


Walsh junior Danielle Margheret set a meet record in the 100 breast stroke in a time of 1 minute and 6.56 seconds.


Margheret was also on the Warriors’ 200 medley relay that set a new standard (1:53.31) and included juniors Kassandra Pawuk and Lauren Tullis and freshman Alyssa Heller.


Walsh’s boys had three individual winners: junior Michael Petras (100 freestyle), sophomore Ben Boshkos (200 individual medley) and freshman Joey Reilman (100 backstroke).


Petras, Boshkos and Reilman also contributed on two winning relays with senior Michael Hudock and junior Tanner Schodowski.


Pawuk won the girls 100 backstroke.


Additional swim records set


Cuyahoga Falls junior Andrew Appleby (50 freestyle, 21.73 seconds) and Revere junior Emma Gresser (100 butterfly, 1:00.69) also set meet records Saturday at UA in addition to winning the boys 500 freestyle and the girls 200 individual medley, respectively.


Revere senior girls Alex Poitinger (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle) and Maggie Harris (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle) also won two individual events. They joined Gresser and senior Kayla Shockey on two winning relays.


Copley seniors Henry Signore (200 freestyle) and Chris Lane (100 breast stroke) won individual events and were on the victorious 200 freestyle relay that included juniors Kory Braman and Cooper Comstock. Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy senior Graham Burnell rounded out the boys champs in the 100 butterfly.


Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the high school blog at www.ohiomm.com/blogs/varsity_letters/. Also follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ. and ABJ sports on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.