Upsets, upsets, upsets. Watching the scores come in last weekend was
particularly interesting as seeded team after seeded team failed to
advance. There were however four favorites that stood out – and now meet. You ready? Better be.
Upsets, upsets, upsets. Watching the scores come in last weekend was particularly interesting as seeded team after seeded team failed to advance. Who would have guessed that Lima Bath would lose so convincingly to Wapakoneta? Or, that Lake and Genoa would both lose? It was indeed an interesting week.
All season long there has been a raging debate relative to which Northwest Ohio Division I girls’ basketball team, Toledo Start or Perrysburg, was the better team. Well, the stage has now been set for the debate to be answered as both teams have defeated all comers and will be meeting Saturday, March 14, in the Regional finals in Norwalk. The winner will, obviously, advance to the big dance in Columbus next weekend but will also silence many detractors.
When Lima Bath left the floor last spring after their state semifinal loss, many had them penciled in as favorites to return to Columbus this year. After all, the Mauk twins and their cousin, Emily, were all back plus a great supporting cast and there was no reason to expect anything less than a regional title. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the Wapakoneta Lady Redskins. The Lady Redskins, who lost earlier in the season to the Ladycats, 53-48, turned the tables in the District Finals, defeating Bath, 64-48, and now it is Wapakoneta, who also defeated previously undefeated Tiffin Columbian, 56-43 in the regional semifinal, who is waiting to take the floor at the Schottenstein.
In Division III, Liberty-Benton defeated previously undefeated Lake, 45-41, and Western Reserve downed Genoa, 57-51, before losing itself to Margaretta, 43-37. The final entry in the D-III regional comes in the form of Tinora who defeated Green Meadows Conference rival, Wayne Trace, 31-29.
In D-IV, the northwestern Ohio representative will be Bucyrus Wynford, Carey, New Riegel or Kalida.
The boys’ playoffs are a week behind the girls’. The boys are still at the district stage so the picture there isn’t as clear because the remaining candidates are more numerous. In the Toledo district, the hot topic is the showdown between Sylvania Southview and Toledo St. John’s. Historically, the Toledo City League teams have dominated this district but the Southview Cougars are looking to change that. On the bottom of the bracket, another Northern Lakes League member, Perrysburg, is also still alive and looking toward a semifinal date at the University of Toledo’s Savage Hall. Standing in its way is a talented Lima Senior squad and the winner of the all-Mansfield affair, either Mansfield Senior or Mansfield Madison.
D-II is full of Cinderella stories. Who will wear the glass slipper? Will it be Toledo Libbey who finished the regular season in the middle of the pack in the Toledo City League and was considered to be in the re-building stage? Maybe an Elida team that stood at 5-4 at mid-season? How about a Napoleon team that has been up and down all year?
The eastern end of the bracket features its own Cinderella in Kenton who must face a tough Eastwood team that went 18-2 in the regular season while Northern Ohio League members, Galion and Tiffin Columbian meet in the other district match-up. Columbian won both of their regular season contests, 74-69 and 66-51.
The game that everyone is looking forward to in Division III – the possible match-up between Ottawa-Glandorf and Liberty-Benton – won’t happen. Coldwater shocked L-B 44-43 in the district semis on Wednesday.
Finally, in D-IV, the field is full of outstanding candidates. Any of the remaining teams could win it all. One of the most intriguing match-ups, however, is the district final between Toledo Christian and Van Buren. Van Buren eliminated Toledo Christian from the playoffs two years ago and the Eagles will certainly be primed to avenge that loss. Unfortunately, the Eagles loss the services of their talented post player, Ethan Michaels, in their 55-45 district semifinal victory over Carey and his status for Friday’s district final is unknown.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Toledo Start, Girls Basketball: The Monroeville wrestling team must be afforded recognition for their second place finish in D-III at last weekend’s state championship but it is the District Champion, Start Lady Spartans, who are the area’s team of the week. In defeating league rival, Waite, 65-50, the Spartans captured their school’s first district title in girls’ basketball and are poised to add to their list of firsts by preparing to play in the regional finals this Saturday against Perrysburg.
In the three years since coach Rob Brown took over the Start program, the Lady Spartans have risen from the middle of the pack in the Toledo City League to be knocking on the door of becoming one of the state’s premier programs.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Yolanda Richardson, Toledo Start: Not coincidently, the player of the week is a member of the team of the week. Senior Yolanda Richardson, who has signed to play for the University of Toledo next year, has had a sensational week. In the district finals against Toledo Waite, Richardson scored 13 points in her team’s 65-50 victory but it was her performance in the regional semifinals that earned her the honor.
Against Westlake, Richardson led her team to a 52-34 victory by scoring 26 points, pulling down 13 rebounds and blocking nine shots.
NEWS, NOTES & NUGGETS
District 6 Basketball Honors: The District 6 Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association announced their special awards for the 2008-09 season. In Division I, Shawn Dyer of Marion Harding was named Player of the Year while Doug Rickert of Mansfield Madison was named Coach of the Year. In Division II, the Player of the Year was Alex Falk of Upper Sandusky while his coach, Keith Diebler was again honored. In both Division III and IV, the winners came from the same schools. In Division III, Austin Smith of Colonel Crawford won the Player of the Year and Davis Sheldon was named as coach. In Division IV, Plymouth’s Tursons were honored as Brook was named as the Player of the Year and Brad was named as Coach of the Year.
The girls’ honorees were Marion Harding’s Shawnta Dyer, in Division I, as player while co-winners were named as coaches, Marion Harding’s Greg Noftz and Mansfield Senior’s Todd Krill. Division II winners were Bethany Caudill of Sandusky Perkins and Larry Kisabeth of Tiffin Columbian. In Division III, Brittany Morris was named the district’s Player of the Year. Coaches Tim Tucker of Margaretta and Brenda Friend of Western Reserve were named co-Coaches of the Year. Finally, DIV winners were Lauren Hutton of New Riegel and Phil Vaughn of Carey.
1,000 Point Club: Last week, Mohawk senior guard, Keith Zeigler, was omitted from the list of individuals reaching that 1,000 point milestone. Zeigler, did so against Bluffton in the sectional semifinals. Carey’s Michael Dennis also joined the 1,000 point club this week as he scored 16 points in Carey’s 57-28 sectional final win over St. Wendelin. Dennis is only the second Blue Devil player to reach that honor in the school’s history.
State Champions: Northwest Ohio did not enjoy one its better showings this past weekend at the state wrestling championships but the following individuals were crowned as state champions:
Division II: 152 – Jonathan McGookey (Sandusky Perkins)
Division III: 103 – Nick Goebel (Elmwood); 119 – Hunter Stieber (Monroeville); 125 – Hunter Stieber (Monroeville); 130 – Cam Tessari (Monroeville); 171 – Chris Phillips (Monroeville); 215 – Stuart Miller (Delphos Jefferson)
Gymnastic Honors: Karla Dixon of Ottawa Hills finished as runner-up in the vault at this past weekend’s state gymnastics championships.
St. John’s vs. Sylvania Southview. Boys Basketball, D-I District Final, Saturday: Dominates the local sports radio airwaves. Perennial power, St. John’s playing the upstart Sylvania Southview Cougars. Can the Cougars match their state championship football march?
Toledo Start vs. Perrysburg, Girls Basketball, D-I Regional Final, Saturday: This match-up has been long awaited. It pits the slow, deliberate style of the undefeated Perrysburg Yellow Jackets against the full court pressure, up-tempo game of the Toledo Start Spartans. The winner will advance to the state semis and be crowned Northwest Ohio’s best D-I girls’ team.
Coldwater vs. Ottawa-Glandorf, Boys Basketball, D-III District Final, Saturday: Defending state champion Ottawa-Glandorf has been the darling of the area but can Coldwater continue its upset specials. This would be a good football game too.
St. John’s Hockey, State Semifinals, Saturday: St. John’s narrowly avoided being upset last Saturday as they blew a 3-0 lead to win in double overtime against Sylvania Northview, 4-3. The question now is whether or not the Titans can capture their second state title in two years as they play this weekend in the state semifinals at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.