Central Ohio Huddle: Newark Catholic wins first boys basketball district title in 33 years


Central Ohio Huddle

Dreams are alive in Central Ohio in the boys basketball regional tournament as multiple teams are still alive. Potential regional champions include Northland, Dublin Scioto, Grove City, Logan Elm, DeSales, Grandview Heights, Harvest Prep and yes – Newark Catholic. No this isn’t football, but the Green Wave are good.

Dreams are alive in Central Ohio in the boys basketball regional tournament as multiple teams are still alive.

The easiest road to the Schottenstein Center for the state tournament – on paper – comes for Columbus DeSales, which plays in a Division II Bowling Green regional that features three teams with at least seven losses. The Stallions are led by junior guard Nick Kellogg, the son of Ohio State great Clark Kellogg.

The Central District could also have success in Division IV, and surprisingly in Division
I. In Division IV, the Newark Catholic-Columbus Harvest Prep winner will take either Oak Hill or Southern from the Southeast District this weekend. In Division I, Cincinnati St. Xavier, an upstart 14-9 team from the powerhouse Greater Catholic League, joins Dublin Scioto, Grove City and Columbus Northland in a Division I regional at the Ohio Expo Center’s Fairgrounds Coliseum. Southwest Ohio powers Cincinnati Moeller, Cincinnati Princeton, Trotwood-Madison, Cincinnati LaSalle, Centerville and Middletown either chose to stay closer to home for regional play or have been knocked out of the tournament.

In Division III, Grandview Heights plays an 11-13 Buckeye Trail team in the Athens regional. If they win, Heights would then take on a Southeast District school – either Piketon or North Adams.

Southeast District champion Circleville Logan Elm goes against defending Division II state champion Chillicothe, the only standing state winner from a year ago, Thursday.


Columbus Africentric Girls Basketball: The Africentric girls basketball team displayed a simple philosophy in the Elite Eight – no drama.

Africentric, 21-4, scored the first 20 points of a Division IV regional championship game en route to a convincing 61-35 win over Columbus Harvest Prep.

The Lady Nubians, the only Central District school to qualify for the state tournament in any division, clinched its third consecutive appearance at the Schottenstein Center with Shardai Morrison-Fountain tallying 18 points.


Jon Smith, Grove City, Boys Basketball: A 6-foot-7 Saint Louis University commitment, Smith had a dominating performance against Dublin Coffman, posting 26 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks in a 81-52 Division I Central District championship game. The effort by Smith helped Grove City to its first district crown in a decade.


Wave on the rise: The Newark Catholic boys basketball team won its first district championship in 33 years, topping Tree of Life 55-37 in a Division IV match-up. The
Green Wave, a program that went 2-19 two seasons ago, but started this season at 10-0, gained control of the game with a 16-6 run in the second quarter. Matt Dawson led Newark Catholic, now 20-4, with 17 points. Andy Vernau scored eight of his 11 points during the second period.

Luck of the Irish:
Dublin Scioto ended Newark’s Division I state title defense with a 68-52 win in a Division I Central District championship game. The Irish, 23-1, shot 69 percent from the field, led by a handy 29 points from Bradley McDougald.

Getting by:
No. 1 seed Columbus Northland had a hard time getting the Cinderella slippers off the feet of Westerville North in a 59-56 win for a Division I Central District championship. Northland, which shot a brutal 16-for-36 from the free throw line, received a boost from freshman Jordan Potts making 4-of-6 free throws in the closing 1:46for the Vikings, now 23-1. North, unseeded to begin the tournament, finishes the year at 13-11.

Two for regionals:
The Central Catholic league (Columbus DeSales, Columbus Bishop Watterson), Mid-State League Cardinal Division (Grandview Heights, Columbus Harvest
Prep) and Mid-State League Buckeye Division (Bloom-Carroll, Circleville Logan Elm) were among the most successful area leagues in qualifying two teams each to the regional tournament.

More Harvest:
Despite having its projected starting lineup for only three games this season, Columbus Harvest Prep has won when it counted most, posting a 11-game winning streak to claim a spot in the Division IV regional team. The Warriors scored 40 of their 68 points off the bench in a Central District championship victory over Worthington Christian.

Good roots:
Tree of Life boys basketball qualified for its first-ever Central District championship game in the 25-year history of the school, claiming a 46-42 win over Columbus Africentric.


Division I boys basketball regional semifinals, Ohio Expo Center Coliseum, Wednesday and Thursday: Dublin Scioto vs. Cincinnati St. Xavier, Wednesday; Grove City vs. Columbus Northland, Thursday

Division III boys basketball regional semifinal, Ohio U. Convocation Center, Wednesday:
  Grandview Heights vs. Buckeye Trail

Division IV girls basketball state semifinal, Ohio State Schottenstein Center, Thursday:
Columbus Africentric vs. Convoy Crestview

Division II boys basketball regional semifinal, Ohio U. Convocation Center, Thursday:
Logan Elm vs. Chillicothe

Division II boys basketball regional semifinal, Bowling Green, Thursday:
Columbus DeSales vs. Elida

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