Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame and West Chester Lakota West are again heading to Columbus for the Division I girls basketball state tournament. Versailles is representing the Southwest in D-III. As for boys basketball, the regionals hit high gear with several solid area match-ups.
Here we go again.
For the second consecutive year, Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame and West Chester Lakota West are in the Division I girls’ basketball final four in Columbus.
The storylines will be numerous Saturday if these two teams meet for the title for the second consecutive season.
Last year’s Division I title game was marked with controversy as MND won on a last-second shot by Kathryn Reynolds. It gave MND its third consecutive championship.
Regardless of last year’s outcome, both teams would certainly like another opportunity if it presented itself. MND won this season’s regular season matchup 49-38 in early January.
“We’ll worry about (the state final) if we get there,” MND forward Gabby Smith told the Enquirer.
A blizzard is not in the forecast, so here’s hoping all goes as planned this year. Last year’s surprise snow storm in Columbus forced the state final to be moved to Monday. The weather this week looks fine.
Lakota West (24-2), ranked fifth in the state poll, defeated Dublin Coffman 57-49 in the Westerville Regional final at Otterbein College Friday as senior forward Alexis Rogers, a Duke signee, had 25 points to lead the Firebirds.
MND, the top-ranked team in the state, defeated Kettering Fairmont 52-35 in the Fairborn regional at Wright State. Senior Kendall Hackney (Southern California) had 17 points to lead the Cougars.
Most of the attention will be squarely on MND this weekend. The Cougars going for their fourth consecutive state title – which would be a D-I record. South Euclid Regina, a D-III program, is the only other high school girls’ basketball team to win four straight titles.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Centerville Boys Basketball: The Elks captured their fourth district title in eight seasons with a 52-51 win over Trotwood-Madison on Saturday at UD Arena. Centerville senior Matt Kavanaugh, who led the team with 18 points, made a free throw with less than a second left to lift the Elks to their first district title since 2005. Centerville (21-3), which has won nine consecutive games, plays Cincinnati La Salle (22-2) in a Division I regional semifinal at the Cintas Center at 8 p.m. Wednesday. La Salle has won 14 consecutive games since a loss at Moeller Jan. 9.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Alexis Rogers, West Chester Lakota West: The senior forward had 25 points on 9 of 13 shooting to lead the Firebirds to a 57-49 win over Dublin Coffman in the Division I regional final last Friday at Otterbein College. Rogers was recently named a first-team all-Southwest District player. It is the second consecutive season she has been awarded that honor. Rogers, who averages about 14 points, is one of the top basketball players in the nation in the 2009 class. She has helped lead the Firebirds to 15 consecutive wins.
NEWS, NUGGETS AND NOTES
Nice season: Centerville lost to Toledo St. John’s 7-0 in a state semifinal ice hockey game on Saturday. The Elks had made their first Final Four appearance since 1997. “Obviously, we wanted this game to go differently but there’s no question the year was a huge success,” Centerville coach Adam Frank told the Dayton Daily News. “We won the North division of our league and we went 11-1 in the league.”
Versailles advances to state: The Versailles girls’ basketball team defeated Middletown Madison 43-31 in the Division III Vandalia Regional final last weekend. Versailles was led by Megan Campbell with 15 points.
Milford signing: Milford senior forward Mark Bryant has signed to play basketball at Shawnee State. Bryant, who is 6-6, averaged 18.2 points this season.
Bull market for Bearcats: The University of Cincinnati picked up two oral commitments from football players in the 2010 class last week. St. Bernard Roger Bacon junior linebacker Solomon Tentman (6-2, 220) became the latest to commit to the Bearcats when he gave a pledge on Tuesday. Tentman, who had seven sacks last season, also had an offer from Minnesota. Fairfield junior free safety Arryn Chenault (6-1, 180) committed March 8.
Hall of Fame induction: Cincinnati Wyoming coach Bernie Barre will be inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Friday, April 24 at 7 p.m. at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center. Barre has spent the past 18 years at Wyoming, where he is 154-47. He has coached 13 Ohio playoff teams, nine Cincinnati Hills League champions and had a team reach the state semifinals in 1998.
Getting ready for spring: Boys’ volleyball teams started practice last week around the state. There are 73 teams in Ohio. In the Southwest area, Monroe and Hamilton Badin have added teams this year. Cincinnati Elder (29-0 in 2008) is the reigning Division I state champion and an early favorite again. Elder opens at Cincinnati St. Xavier March 31.
Recruiting Updates: A look at who is headed where.
– Hughes basketball senior Jack Smith has given an oral commitment to play college ball at Findlay, Hughes coach Bryan Wyant said Thursday.
The 6-foot-4 Smith, a forward, averaged 21.9 points a game this season. Smith was a Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference first team all-star, and was third-team Associated Press Division I all-district.
-Wyoming senior RB Josh Boggan (5-8, 165) has committed to play at Wittenberg, according to Barre. Boggan, an Enquirer Divisions II-VI first-team selection, rushed for 1,156 yards and 23 touchdowns last season. He was the Cowboys’ second-leading receiver with 19 receptions for 248 yards.
– Princeton senior DE Colton Tygrett (6-2, 215) has committed to play at Mount St. Joseph, according to Princeton coach Bill Leach.
-Archbishop Moeller junior LB Marcus Rush (6-2, 225) picked up an offer from Michigan last weekend. He also has offers from Minnesota, North Carolina State, Cincinnati, Indiana and Virginia.
– Lakota West juniors Jordan Hicks (LB) and Alex Smith (TE) have been invited to the Under Armour All-American Game in January 2010, according to the Lakota West athletic department.
Smith, one of the state’s top tight ends, orally committed to play at the University of Cincinnati last month.
Hicks, who has offers from Texas, Southern California, Ohio State, Florida, Cincinnati and others, is rated the state’s top player by Ohio High Magazine.
Boys’ basketball, Division IV regional semifinals, Tuesday at Kettering Fairmont: Lockland plays Fort Loramie at 6:15 p.m., followed by Summit Country Day vs. Ada at 8 p.m. Lockland, Summit and Ada all pulled big upsets last week with wins over Jefferson, Lehman Catholic and New Knoxville, respectively.
Boys’ basketball, Division I regional semifinals, Wednesday at the Cintas Center: Aiken plays Princeton at 6:15 p.m. There is plenty of Division I college talent in this game. Aiken is coming off a 63-59 upset of Moeller last weekend. The Falcons (16-7) won the district for the first time since 1997. Ontiwon Primus and Nick McCoy combined for 28 points against Moeller. Sophomore forward Chane Behanan scored 13 points for Aiken. Princeton (22-1) defeated Mason 63-40 at UD Arena. Princeton is led by Orlando Williams (Miami University) and junior Jordan Sibert (Ohio State).
Boys’ basketball, Division I regional semifinal, Wednesday at the Cintas Center: Centerville plays La Salle at 8 p.m. Look for the Lancers to be led by senior guard Jordon Crawford (Ashland University) and senior forward Danny McElroy (Bowling Green). The Elks counter with Matt Kavanaugh (Dayton) and Tyler Replogle (Indiana football recruit).
Boys’ basketball, Division I regional semifinal, Wednesday at Columbus Fairgrounds Coliseum: Cincinnati St. Xavier plays Dublin Scioto (23-1) at 7 p.m. Dublin Scioto is ranked sixth in the state, but don’t count out St. X, which has a ton of confidence since its upset of Middletown. St. X senior forward Erik Stenger had 19 points and eight rebounds in the district final against Fairmont.
Boys’ basketball, Division II regional semifinal, Thursday at the Cintas Center: Wilmington plays Thurgood Marshall at 8 p.m. Wilmington (21-2) defeated Springfield Shawnee 57-43 in the district final. Wilmington junior guard Jordan Berlin averages 15.0 points and 5.0 rebounds to lead the Hurricanes. Junior guard Quinten Rollins averages 14 points and 4.8 rebounds.