Boy’s basketball in the Eastern District and around Ohio tipped
off this past Friday and Saturday night. It was a long time coming, but
the season finally arrived.
Contributor Kurt Stubbs II was on hand for the Sugarcreek Garaway-Navarre Fairless contest this weekend and has a full recap of that contest along with recaps of other Eastern District and statewide games.
Boy’s basketball in the Eastern District and around the state tipped off this past Friday and Saturday night. It was a long time coming, but the season finally arrived.
Basketball is a lengthy season, which means some teams will start slow while others are hitting on all cylinders right out of the gate. History shows us that teams playing well at the beginning of the year aren’t always the ones playing deep into the tournament. For example, the Tuscarawas Valley Trojans were up and down last year but got hot at the right time and reached the Division III Athens Regional Final.
Throughout the year, as I did in football, Guru will be recapping each week in the Eastern District along with taking a look around the state. As always, I will toss in a few opinions, make a few bold statements, and administer a plethora of predictions. It should be a great season, and hopefully I can be the rhyme behind the reason. So, come on, buckle up and let us get on the ride. I’ve been waiting for this since the final buzzer of last year’s Division I final (Moeller and St. Xavier).
Garaway off and running
The Pirates played like it was early March in a convincing 89-63 triumph of Navarre Fairless. Why was this win impressive? Fairless made the Division II regional a year ago and returned quite a few regulars including leading scorers Jordan Jennings and Josh Penland. The game was never close. Guru traveled to Sugarcreek to witness the debut of prized freshman Paul Honingford and take in a competitive game. However, it turned out to be a blowout and it was four-year mainstay Tyler Gerber who stole the show.
Gerber, a returning 2nd Team All-Ohioan, scored 19 first half points including five triples en route to pouring in a game-high 36 points, 10 assists, and seven boards. The slick senior delivered six treys in all. Gerber reminds me a lot of Jay Burson and Geno Ford at 5-foot-10 (that may be stretching it) in the way he has mastered a variety of shots. Gerber can shoot the 22-foot pull up three, make the 15 footer with consistency, and take the ball to the hole. He finishes very well in traffic with great body control. The four-year regular is as quick as anybody in the district and has good bounce for a little guy to combine with a great basketball IQ.
Gerber’s backcourt teammate Chase Stingel was also very impressive. The senior finished with 20 points including a pair of three balls.
The frontcourt played well when they weren’t in foul trouble. The freshman Honigford went to the bench with two fouls with 4:30 seconds to go in the first stanza, while 6-foot-3 junior David Gerber followed him just 15 seconds later with his second. The two along with junior Heath Myers (6’5) battled foul trouble for most of the night. The 6-foot-7 frosh finished with seven points and a team leading eight boards. Gerber closed out his night with 12 markers and Myers finished with six lightings.
Honigford’s first varsity action was cut short by foul trouble, but the potential for something special is definitely obvious. This kid is going to only get better, and by mid-season the Pirates should be one of the most complete teams in the district. The frosh finished just 1 of 4 from the charity stripe. As a team, the Sugarcreek-based school was just 13 of 27 from the foul line.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the outstanding job junior Devin Schie did defensively on Jennings. The lefty was flustered all night by Schie forcing him into a lot of uncomfortable shots. Jennings made one field goal the entire night and it came with 3:10 seconds to go in the third quarter as he finished with just eight points. Juniors Caleb Hostetler and Brennan Mullet spelled Schie and did a great job as well.
Fairless, who starts five seniors, was led by senior Zach Baer who turned in an outstanding night with 27 markers. The 6-foot-3 post made several foul line jumpers and displayed an array of moves in the paint. This kid was very impressive. Penland was detained to just seven points and Josh Brinley was held to just six points.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with the Pirates especially for an opening night contest. The performance assured me that Garaway is a clear front runner for the district crown.
Interesting to note, Gerber’s AAU teammates Zanesville’s Logan Aronhalt and Dover’s Eric Dummermuth were in the building.
Fort Frye 52 Belpre 36
Junior Jarrod Arnold scored 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting for the Cadets. The 6-foot-5 senior, Derek Thompson, added nine markers. The Cadets shot 53% from the floor.
Cambridge 53 Marietta 46
Trevor Markley tossed in 23 points including five treys on 9 of 13 shooting, while Zach McVicker aided with 10 lightings for the Bobcats.
Coshocton 70 Ridgewood 39
Senior Rydell Chrisman was as good as advertised in the opener with 28 points including five triples in the third quarter alone. Chrisman also delivered a crowd-pleasing two-handed flush and a team-leading six boards. Sophomore David Brown added 17. The Generals were paced by Tyler McCullough and Jared Kreitzer (nine boards) with 11 points a piece. Coshocton outscored the Generals 22-4 in the third quarter. Eric Pitcher led Ridgewood with 10 boards, while Ryan Gress added nine.
Malvern 88 East Canton 57
Senior Zak Kapron led the Hornets with 27 points, while senior Trevor Halter tossed in 20. Junior Tyler Tucci added 12 points and seven boards, while sophomore Adam Wackerly and senior Jamar Stephens scored 11 points each. The Green and White shot 52.5% from the floor and turned it over just seven times.
John Glenn 53 River View 35
Junior Haven Holdcroft scored 20 points on a perfect 7 of 7 shooting from the low block. The Little Muskies, who had five new starters and no one over 6-foot-1, received 11 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals from Charlie Karling, while freshman Jake Heagen added 10 with four rebounds.
Frontier 71 Beallsville 30
Junior big man Ben Huntsman led the Cougars with 17 points and 13 boards and Ethan Morris contributed with 13 markers and six steals. Frontier, who returns all five starters from last year, amassed 21 steals and the Blue Devils turned it over 34 times for the night. Aaron Lucas scored 13 for Beallsville.
Salem 82 Beaver Local 68
Senior Ethan Russel poured in 29 points and dished out six assists in the Beavers loss. Zach Zelinsky added 17 points, six boards, four steals, and three assists, and D.J. Taylor netted 10 markers.
Tusky CC 67 Heritage Christian 47
Zach Ross scored 23 points including three treys to lead the Saints. Ryan Fondriest added 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Jimmy Fickes netted 11.
Claymont 78 Carrollton 61
Mustang inside ace Zach Golec (6’2) opened up his senior campaign with 33 ponts and 15 boards. Josh Brindley had eight points and five boards and sophomore point guard Aaron Cox had six markers, eight assists and nine rebounds. Tyler Haugh led the Warriors with 14 points and Pierce Oaks added 13.
Maysville 60 Heath 54
Eastin Lewellen led Maysville with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Kody Fulkerson added 12 points. The win gave new head coach Jesse Rupe his first career victory.
Rosecrans 72 Conotton Valley 70
Kyle Colopy hit the game-winner for the Bishops, while Jared Lewis led Rosecrans with 24 points and Josh Agin scored 17 markers and added eight boards. Tyler Yosick finished with 26 points including five three-point goals, and Tyler Carrothers scored 19 and added seven rebounds in defeat.
Leetonia 100 East Liverpool Christian 33
Justin White led Christian with 22 points.
Upper Arlington 63 Indian Creek 49
Michael Smith scored 22 points for the Redskins in a game that was much closer than the final score. Coach Joe Dunlevy’s bunch trailed by just four points heading into the fourth quarter against 2007 Division regional semi-finalist Upper Arlington.
Coshocton 89 Newcomerstown 50
Sophomore David Brown led the Redskins (2-0) with 14 markers, while fellow classmate Christian Taylor (6’6) scored 13 points. Senior standout Rydell Chrisman scored 10 and handed out four assists to go along with four blocks, four steals and six rebounds. Sophomore Dom McCluskey added 10 markers along with seven dimes. J.C. Rine led the Trojans (who have no seniors on the rosters) with 21 points.
Heath 42 John Glenn 40
The Little Muskies fell to (1-1) on the year.
Strasburg 54 Rittman 53 OT
Jonathan Shaw scored 19 points and hit his sixth three-point goal in overtime to lift the Tigers over 2007 regional finalist Rittman. Justin Miller had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Craig Sewell added 11 points.
Monroe Central 70 Caldwell 41
Junior guard Ryan Kuhn who scored 20 points including five triples led Monroe. Senior Ethan Rose dropped 14 markers and seven dimes, while Ryan Highman and Mikey Habig evenly split 24 lightings. Kyle Jorris added eight points and nine boards. Aaron Lucas and Ryan McKee split 24 points for the Redskins in a losing effort.
Vincent Warren 60 Morgan 39
Tyler Hickerson scored 10 points and Brady Bowman added eight in a loss to Warren this past Saturday night. The Warriors were led in victory by Craig Call (17points and 10 boards), Sam Majoy (15points and nine boards), and Cory Hooper (11).
Tuscarawas Valley 83 Sandy Valley 47
“Downtown” Jacob Brown led the Trojans with 27 points and snared seven boards, while senior Kurt Elsasser added 15 and seven caroms and senior Steven Spillman notched 14 points. TV shot 60% from the floor on a night they honored the 1988 state runner-up squad. Jordan Tozzi led Sandy Valley with 13 markers.
-Ohio State commit B.J. Mullens tossed in 22 points and Harvest Prep transfer Remon Nelson scored 15 points in Canal Winchester’s 70-45 win over Pickerington North.
-Xavier commit Kenny Frease tossed in 15 points in Massillon Perry’s 58-54 loss to Reynoldsburg. The Panthers led almost the entire game for letting the win slip away late in the fourth quarter.
-Senior Robbie Taylor scorched the nets for 38 points to lead Gahanna Lincoln over Columbus Whetstone, 93-78. His brother, the nationally touted Stevie Taylor, enjoyed a fantastic debut with 20 markers.
-Ohio State commit William Buford scored 18 points in Toledo Libbey’s 77-49 triumph of Columbus Africentric.
-Senior Greg Avery tossed in 26 markers and 6-foot-9 junior Dane Kopp scored 19 points in Newark’s 68-63 victory over Columbus Briggs.
-Ohio State verbal sophomore Jared Sullinger netted 15 lightings in Columbus Northland’s victory over Cincinnati Withrow. Cincinnati commit Yancy Gates scored 23 points in a losing effort.
-Junior Brian Hecker led Worthington Christian in its 87-58 victory over Bloom-Carroll with 18 points.
-Division I Cincinnati Woodward, a team under the radar, knocked off three-time defending Division III state champion Cincinnati North College Hill, 76-70. Senior guard Andre Sherman led the way with 17 points, while senior Te’Allen Price added 16 and Cameron Keesee tossed in 15. NCH was led by all-everything guard Damon Butler with his game-high 26 points and sophomore Barry Cobb’s 20 lightings.
-Defending Division I state champion Cincinnati Moeller got out of the gates with an 85-58 triumph of Dayton Thurgood Marshall. Senior Quinn McDowell scored 20 points and had nine caroms for Moeller, while senior forward Daniel Wulker added 17 points.
-Ultra-talented Garfield Heights (2-2), who is coached by former Mr. Basketball Sonny Johnson, knocked off Cleveland Benedictine (1-1) in the Bengal-Bulldog Tip-Off Classic by the score of 76-58. Senior forward Robert Wilson (Wisconsin commit) made five triples en route to scoring 29 points and junior guard Carl “Tay Tay” Jones netted 18 points. Wilson transferred in from Cleveland Rhodes. Sensational sophomore guard Derek Jackson led the Bengals with 23 points.
-Division I state tournament hopeful Warren Harding opened up the regular season with a 74-64 win over Akron SVSM. Junior guard Sheldon Brogdon led the way with 20 points, while ballyhooed junior Desmar Jackson made his Raider basketball debut with 18 points. Jackson transferred in from Warren JFK. Also, Elijah Jordan equaled Jackson’s amount and added 15 boards. The Raiders held a 50-28 advantage on the boards. Throw in Damien Eargle (UNC-Greensboro commit), Chris Henderson, and Fred Williams and this may be the most talented team in the state. Interesting to note, keep an eye on Akron SVSM freshman sensation Richard Johnson Jr., who burst onto the scene in his debut with a game-high 28 points including six bonus goals.
-Canton Glen Oak junior C.J. McCollum had a huge night to say the least in the Eagles 92-78 win over Akron North. The sweet-shooting guard scored 54 points making 18 field goals including eight treys and making all 10 of his free-throw attempts. McCollum poured in 39 of his team’s 51 first half points and finished the game 18 of 23 from the field including 8 of 11 from down town.
-North Canton Hoover rolled over Cleveland East 83-35 behind J.D. Elder’s 19 points and Massillon Washington transfer Jarod Porrini’s added 16.