OVAC boys basketball finals set for Saturday


The second annual OVAC boys absketball tournament will conclude Saturday in St. Clairsville.

The Second Annual Wheeling Hospital–Ohio Valley Athletic Conference (OVAC) Boy’s Basketball Championships are set for this Saturday at Ohio University Eastern in St.Clairsville. Two teams are looking to defend titles, while several more are out for their first.

The Second Annual Wheeling Hospital- Ohio Valley Athletic Conference (OVAC) Boy’s Basketball Championships are set for this Saturday, February 21 at Ohio University Eastern in St.Clairsville, Ohio.

Last year, for the first time ever, the championships were settled on the floor. This year two of those squads will be back to repeat as champions, although one will be in a different class. The first game will get underway at 10:00 a.m. and three more will follow at 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.

The championship games are set as last night the semifinal contests were played on the higher seeds’ home floor. Ironically, all of the home teams came out victorious setting up a No. 1 versus a No. 2 in each class.

Semifinal results from Tuesday:

#1 Wheeling Park 93 #4 East Liverpool 61
#2 John Marshall 64 #3 Weir 63 (OT)

#1 Union Local 57 #4 Oak Glen 36
#2 St. Clairsville 60 #3 Magnolia 55

#1 Fort Frye 60 #4 Shenandoah 33
#2 Wheeling Central 66 #3 Shadyside 62 (2 OT)

#1 Bishop Donahue 60 #4 Cameron 53 (OT)
#2 Bridgeport 52 #3 Paden City 43

Class 2A will get championship Saturday started with Fort Frye (18-1) battling defending 3A champion, Wheeling Central (14-4). This game will start at 10:00 a.m.

This is a match up many have wanted for a long time, and now it has arrived. Many people, including myself, feel this could provide the best match up of the day.

The Cadets arrived in the finals via 60-33 triumph of an undermanned Shenandoah outfit. The Zeps were playing without PVC Player of the Year candidate Cody Johnson. However, this was the third time this season Fort Frye has handed Shenandoah a loss.

Senior guard Tyler Stevens, usually known for his defensive prowess, led the Cadets with 18 points including four triples. Also, another kid not known for his scoring in Garrett Legraen, added 16 points. The usual scoring suspects, Jarrod Arnold and Brandt Thieman, were held to eight and seven points respectively.

Wheeling Central, who endured a much stiffer test, needed two overtimes to get by the Shadyside Tigers. The Maroon Knights returned the favor from an earlier season comeback win by the Tigers. The Knights were led by junior guard Jordan Sorge with his 20 points. Juniors Jack Weishar and Zach Hood added 11 markers a piece. Inside players Daniel Gordon and Eli Joseph notched nine and eight tallies respectively.

What to look for: This should be a hard fought battle between two very good defensive clubs. The Cadets love to penetrate and kick out for the triple, so it will be key for the Maroon Knights to limit those attempts.

Watch for the Brandt Thieman and Cody Koehler match up. Those are two quality inside- out players.

This game will feature two outstanding guards in Arnold of Fort Frye and Sorge of Wheeling Central.

How will the Cadets handle the bigger floor at OUE? Most of the games they play are on smaller courts. It’s easier to go from a bigger floor to smaller floor than vice versa.

Look for the first team to 50 points and the one who controls the boards to win this game.

Class 3A
will feature two schools looking for their initial OVAC Championship. The St.Clairsville Red Devils (12-7) and Union Local Jets (17-2) will lock horns for the third time this season. The Devils are the Class 3A returning runner-up. The Jets won on the Red Devils home floor in late November (55-38), while the Devils handed UL its first setback of the year (47-41).

The Jets earned their way to the final with a 57-36 win over visiting Oak Glen. The Jets canned six bonus bombs in the first half including four by senior Jordan Barbina and two from sophomore Myron Jellison and never looked back.

Barbina finished with a game-high 24 points, while fellow classmate Joby Barr sliced his way to 13 points, while senior big man Kyle Blackman added eight lightings.

The Jets only committed seven turnovers in the contest, which is a good sign for a team that was struggling in that department of late.

Union Local Head Coach Ben Porter knows what this game will entail according to his comments in the Martins Ferry Times Leader.


“Obviously, we know a great deal about St. Clairsville and they know a great deal about us,” Porter indicated. “It should be a great environment Saturday. We’ll just let the kids go out and decide it. That’s the way it should be.”

The Red Devils will head to the final for a second straight season with a 60-55 triumph of Magnolia (WV).

The Red Devils were led by junior Daniel Slavik with his game-high 22 points including five treys. Senior Ryan Jarvie notched 16 points, while senior Phil Grossed added nine tallies. The Devils cashed in on nine triples for the game.

St.Clairsville head boss Kim Clifford realizes the magnitude of this game as stated in the Times Leader.

“It’s good for us to get the tournament feeling to help prepare for the sectional,” Clifford said. “We know (UL) is a quality team, and we’re going to need another quality effort like we had at UL when we beat them.”

What to look for: Look for the Red Devils to once again play a sagging man on everyone but Barbina and Barr. The Devils will force the other kids to make shots as in the last contest. Look for Jellison to be in the game early to try and shoot them out of this defense.

The Union Local defense, more specifically Darby Waller, has held Slavik to just one field in the two meetings.

The Jets will most likely hold an advantage on the bigger OUE floor with the end-to-end speed of Barbina and Barr. Both finish extremely well in the open floor. The Devils love to put heat on the basketball from end-to-end and jump anytime the handler turns his back. It will be a lot harder to do this at OUE with Barbina working with a lot of space.

The Devils really struggled from the perimeter against Wheeling Central last season at OUE. They never seemed to look comfortable with the background setting.

This game will likely hold the best atmosphere. Look for both teams to bring capacity crowds with overflowing student sections. The teams played twice in football, and this will be the third basketball encounter with a possible fourth looming in the sectional.

Class 4A
will see a pair of West Virginia schools in Wheeling Park (13-5) and rival John Marshall. The latter played for the championship last season, but come up short to the Indian Creek Redskins.

The Patriots handled East Liverpool, 93-61. The Patriots were led by junior Shaun Black and his 21 points and seven boards. Michael Griffin notched 16 markers and sophomore poured home a like amount. D’Jhae Jackson tallied 13 counters and seven caroms and Marqez O’Neal added 11 markers and seven rebounds. Junior Richard Hall supported with eight points and seven boards.

The Patriots haven’t won an OVAC 4A Championship since 2000.

The John Marshall Monarchs (14-4) certainly didn’t cruise into the finals needing overtime to defeat Weir (WV), 64-63. The Monarch were led by Andrew Montes’ 20 points, Justin Eikleberry’s 16 lightings, and Travis Whitfield’s 11 counters.

John Marshall Head Coach Bill Storm is excited to be back in the finals and to get his team ready for the West Virginia State Tournament.

”This is great for our program,” Storm said. ”Who would have thought two years ago that John Marshall was going to be in the championship two years in a row? Last year, I think we were happy to be there. This year, we are going over to win it. We are familiar with it, familiar with the hoopla that goes with it. This is a tournament week. We go to Morgantown Thursday and we play Park Saturday and in two weeks, that could be the scenario again.”

Class 1A
Final features defending champion Bridgeport (11-8) taking on No. 1 seed Bishop Donahue. The Bulldogs upset Weirton Madonna in last season’s final.

The Bulldogs advanced with a 52-43 victory over Paden City. Bridgeport was led by Timmy Tracey and Garrett Price who evenly divided 26 counters, while senior Kyle Cash supported with 10 tallies.

Bridgeport leading scorer Michael Carr was held to just seven points, but had 10 rebounds. Justin Gregocic, another leading point getter, was held to just one tally.

Donahue advanced with a 60-53 overtime victory against visiting Cameron.

The two split the season series with BD winning at Bridgeport in double overtime, 53-52. The second meeting the Dogs rolled by a 66-51 score.

What to look for:
The Bulldogs lost some key parts to the team just a few weeks ago, so for them to bounce back and win the championship would be a testament to Head Coach Donnie Cash Jr. and his squad.

The Dogs have finished a lot stronger down the stretch than Donahue, so they should be favored. Bridgeport just won on BD’s home floor by 15 on January 24th.

The ‘Port will certainly need more scoring from Carr and Gregorcic than they received on Tuesday. If those two get around 30 combine the Dogs will be looking good.

Cash and his crew will try to become the first two-time champion along with Wheeling Central.

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