By Wade Linville –
Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington High School welcomed four new members to its Athletic Hall of Fame on Jan. 20 as it hosted the 2017 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony during halftime of the RULH Blue Jays vs. Peebles Indians varsity boys basketball game.
The newest members to join the RULH Hall of Fame are Jill Brookbank-Benintendi, Jerry Davis, Samantha Germann, and Milt Thompson.
Brookbank-Benintendi is regarded by many as one of the best female basketball players Brown County has ever seen. She is Ripley’s most prolific female scorer, amassing 1018 points in her first three years of high school basketball and reaching the 1,000-point milestone during her junior year on the court.
She returned in her senior year to average 20.2 points per game, while also hammering the boards to average 13.2 rebounds per contest.
Brookbank-Benintendi was a member of one of the most successful Ripley-Union-Lewis High School varsity girls basketball teams in the school district’s history, aiding her Lady Jays to a Southern Hills League championship and a sectional championship during the 1984-84 season, finishing the season as a district runner-up.
Brookbank-Benintendi was selected as a Southern Hills League basketball all-star three years, while also receiving honors as an All-Metro selection during her junior and senior seasons, as well as a multi-time All-Ohio selection.
Germann, a 1993 RULH graduate, was a three-year varsity starter in basketball who became known as one of the most well-rounded players to take the court for the Lady Jays. Germann received basketball honors such as All-Southern Hills League, all-district, and All-Ohio during her high school career. She was also awarded a certificate for being selected as one of the top high school female basketball players in the nation, chosen as an honorary McDonald’s All-American.
She would lead the Lady Jays to a sectional title during her senior year on the court. Germann scored 412 points during her junior year and racked up a total of 457 points during her senior season, finishing her high school career with 1,171 points.
She was also a great passer and rebounder, dishing out 77 assists and pulling down 150 boards during her senior season.
Milt Thompson, a 1976 Ripley High School graduate, became known as one of the most fierce competitors to put on a Blue Jay basketball uniform.
During his high school basketball career, Thompson was a three-year varsity starter who was known for his strong leadership abilities.
He averaged 17 points per game and more than 10 rebounds per contest during his senior season of hoops.
He also captained Ripley’s first ever team to win a district title. He would receive basketball honors such as All-Southern Hills League, All-Metro, all-district, and All-Ohio during his high school career, while also being presented with an Honorable Mention McDonald’s All-American Certificate.
He finished his high school career with 1,069 career points. Thompson went on to graduate from Xavier University and currently works at Central State University.
Davis is the second longest tenured head coach in Ripley High School basketball history.
He first came to Ripley High School in 1973 as a business and physical science educator. In his first year at Ripley, he was the junior varsity boys basketball coach and varsity assistant under varsity head coach Harry Smittle. The Jays won a sectional title that year.
In 1976, Davis was a key component to Ripley’s first ever district championship team as an assistance coach to Fred Hester. Three years later, the Jays returned to Dayton to compete in district tournament play.
In 1979, the RUL varsity boys basketball team brought home a district title and earned a berth in the regional tournament.
Davis began his career as the RUL High School varsity boys basketball coach in the early 1980’s, coaching the basketball program to fourth trip to University of Dayton Arena in nine years to compete in district tournament play.
Davis retired in the early 1990’s, leaving behind a trail of league, sectional, and district basketball titles.
Davis was an educator at RUL High School for 35 years. Even when retiring as the Ripley High School head basketball coach, he still volunteered his assistance when asked.
Davis is still highly respected by his former players, students, and colleagues.
He has coached many many of the RULH Athletic Hall of Fame members including inductees such as Randy Fulton, Dan Paeltz, Cliff Washington, Joe Huff, Mike Germann, Ray “Sleepy” Grant, and Ben Washington.
Davis was always known for getting the most out of his players.
One of Davis’ goals as a coach was to make it to a state tournament, and as an assistance coach to his son, Jeff, who heads the South Laurel basketball program in London, KY, he was finally able to fulfill that goal.