Northeast Ohio Huddle: Bay’s Craft defends her state diving title; Perry pins the competition


Northeast Ohio Huddle

Bay High’s Nikki Craft masters the repeat by winning her second-straight state championship in girls’ diving, while Massillon Perry continues its dominance of sectional wrestling with 11 champions. There are 3-pointers flying from Newton Falls to Struthers to New Philadelphia and undefeated regular seasons in Berlin, McDonald and Smithville.

Three-pointers were raining from all over Northeast Ohio this week. From teams to individuals, the ball was traveling long and far to reach the bottom of the nets in area gyms.

The heat started when Newton Falls crushed Warren JFK 89-61 behind a blistering 17 of 32 performance from behind the arc. The makes were a school record while freshman Cody Dillon set the individual record with eight triples on his way to 24 points. Newton Falls hit its first six 3-pointers to take an 18-6 first-quarter lead. The team also has 18 wins against two losses which is a new school record for wins as well.

Struthers also got hot from 3-point land as it hit 14 in a 91-80 win over Champion. Nate Jacubec sank four triples on his way to 30 points to lead Struthers while teammate Matt Durkin chipped in three 3-pointers for 23 points.

At New Philadelphia, the Quakers were led by junior Cody Cox in a 90-53 win over Uhrichsville Claymont. Cox nailed 8 of 13 triples on his way to 30 points. The eight trifectas were a school record, breaking the previous mark of seven hit several years earlier.


Nikki Craft, Bay High School, Diving: Craft won her second-straight state diving championship Wednesday at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton. Already setting the state record with her score of 509.75 at the district meet the previous week, Craft scored a state meet record mark of 475.4 this week to earn her repeat title. The junior dominated action, beating second place by more than 50 points (424.1).


Massillon Perry Wrestling: For the second-straight week, our top team is full of grapplers. Perry dominated the North Canton Hoover Division I sectional by advancing all 14 of its wrestlers to this week’s district at home. With 11 champions, the Panthers scored an incredible 334 points for coach Brent McBurney.

Leading the way were the team’s 11 title holders in 103-pound Mitch Newhouse, 119-pounder Nick Hannan and 125-pounder Sam White.

Zach Dailey (130), Seth Horner (145), Shane Foster (140), Courtland Harrison (160), Andrew Phillips (189), Anthony Wise (215) and Doug Mayes (285) rounded out the gold medal winners.


Lipkins Leads: Canton McKinley scored a 70-56 upset of 17-2 Cleveland Heights last week and Terrell Lipkins was a key reason why. He hit for 31 points for the Pups who stand at 13-5 on the season. Reggie Keely stepped up for Heights with 20 points and nine boards.

More Perfection:
Despite a rich basketball tradition that started with former head coach Perry Reese Jr., Hiland’s boys had never had an undefeated regular season in its school’s history. That is, until now. The Hawks improved to 20-0 (16-0 in the ultra-competitive Inter-Valley Conference that includes solid teams in Garaway and Malvern) after an 87-60 win over Ridgewood. Freshman Dylan Kaufman, a 6-foot-4 guard, scored 24 points in the win while 6-foot-7 sophomore guard Noah Boyd had 16 and senior Colten Hostetler 13. Josh Miller added 12.

Just down the road in Wayne County, Smithville’s boys concluded its undefeated season to join its girls as undefeated Smithies. The team that finished with the No. 1 ranking in Division III in the final AP poll, beat 1-18 Chippewa 78-39. Tyler Bates scored 24 points to lead the way while 6-foot-8 Kenny Kornowski had 15 points and 14 rebounds. The Smithies finished 14-0 in yet another competitive small-school affiliation, the Wayne County Athletic League.

Not to be outdone was McDonald’s boys, who had their second undefeated season in the last three years after beating Springfield 71-35. Jeff Rasile’s crew was led by Todd Kibby with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Brush’s Nate Tait not only hit the game-winning layup to help his team beat Stow 70-68, he also dominated the game offensively with 35 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks.

A Little Upset:
As an early warning to teams in the Northeast, Hillsdale took down No. 3 seeded Northwestern 62-58 in a Division III sectional game at Triway High in Wooster. The Falcons were led by Erin Ebert with 26 points in the upset while Brittany Funk tossed in a double-double of 13 points and 10 boards.

Not a One-Girl Show:
While River View’s girls’ basketball team has been dominated by Daughertys over the last several seasons, the Black Bears showed John Glenn that it was more than its star player in its opening sectional victory. Sure senior Dayton signee Kari Daugherty finished with 23 points, six rebounds and six assists, but she only had four points in her team’s 19-3 opening quarter (the final was 71-32).

Teammate Karly Jones led the way with five points and Olivia Neace and K.J. Todd chipped in four each. Daugherty’s mom Caroline is the coach and her big sister Kristin is a sophomore star at Dayton already. Dad Bill is an assistant. The team won back-to-back state titles in 2006 and 2007.


State Swimming Championships, Canton, Ohio: Northeast Ohio is home to the State Swimming Championships this weekend as Stark County hosts the event. The best swimmers from around Ohio will descend on the Football Hall of Fame city for some action in the pools. Division II preliminaries start at 9 a.m. today with Division I starting at 5 p.m. The same times and divisions take place Saturday but all races are finals.

Division I district wrestling at Perry and Mentor, starting tonight:
At Massillon Perry, the action will be dominated by five of the Brakeman Report’s top 10 teams in Division I. Perry, ranked No. 2 by Brakeman, will obviously be there, along with No. 3 Wadsworth, No. 5 Mayfield, No. 8 Brecksville-Broadview Heights and No. 10 Austintown-Fitch.
At Mentor, top-ranked St. Edward’s will face off with No. 4 St. Ignatius and No. 7 Elyria, among others. Action starts today and runs through the weekend.

West Holmes vs. Maysville, girls’ basketball at Coshocton High, 6 p.m., tonight:
In a sectional championship that’s a rematch of a regional semifinal from a year ago, 15-6 West Holmes, which beat Maysville last year, faces off against the 18-3 Panthers. The Holmes County Knights beat Dover 45-35 to reach the game as 6-foot-1 center Sarah Hammond had 15 points and an amazing 17 rebounds. Kayla Rodhe added 14 points. Maysville beat New Philadelphia 59-52 to reach the game as Katie Sidwell had 17 points.

Division IV district at Gnadenhutten, March 3 and 4, 7 p.m.:
In the only Northeast Ohio district that features a pair of top 10 teams from the final AP poll, little Indian Valley High School will feature No. 2 ranked Hiland and No. 8 ranked Shadyside in Division IV district action. Hiland, the defending state champions, features a 10-deep roster for veteran coach Dave Schlabach. The Hawks are 20-1 and face Newcomerstown, a team they have already beaten by considerable margins, in the sectional championship at Claymont High tonight. Hiland would face the winner of the early game at Claymont between Strasburg and Tuscarawas Central Catholic (two teams the Hawks also handled well during the season), at 7 p.m. on March 4.
Shadyside last made the state tournament six years ago. Laken Gibson had 18 points in the Tigers’ win over Frontier in the sectional championship. The Tigers face the winner of tonight’s game between Beallsville and Hannibal River, at 7 p.m. on March 3. The district championship will be 7 p.m. on March 7.

Division I boys’ sectional at Canton’s Memorial Civic Center:
Division teams in action include Canton Timken on March 4 against either Perry or Akron East at 8:30 p.m. or a potential Canton McKinley North Canton Hoover matchup on March 7 at 7:30 p.m. Hoover faces Fitch at 7 p.m. on March 4 and McKinley plays Canfield on March 3 at 8:30 p.m.

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