Northwest Ohio Huddle: Four area teams are vying for boys state hoops titles


Northwest Ohio Huddle

The winter season is winding down while the spring season begins this
weekend and all eyes are on Columbus where four Northwest Ohio schools
are seeking a possible boys’ state basketball championship.

The winter season is winding down while the spring season begins this weekend and all eyes are on Columbus where four northwest Ohio schools are seeking a possible boys’ state basketball championship.

One of the most intriguing candidates is in Division IV where the Ada Bulldogs make their first appearance in the state semifinals since 1923. In 1923, the Bulldogs won it all by defeating Lockland High School, 54-53, in the finals but have not returned to the final four in the 86 years since.

Division IV action will also see another northwest Ohio school, Kalida, adding side show interest in that their head coach, Richard “Dick” Kortokrax, is under pressure by a certain segment of the Kalida community to step down as coach after this season.

Kortokrax, who is 75 years old and been head coach at Kalida for 34 years, was forced into agreeing to step down after this season but the fact that he has been able to guide another team to the state semifinals has caused many to question whether or not the decision to have Kortokrax step down is a wise one.

In Division III, the Tinora Rams are making their first visit to the big show and their Columbus visit is exciting the entire community. At every level of play the crowds have been increasing and the accompanying enthusiasm as well. Expect Tinora to draw as many fans as any team at the tournament this weekend.

Finally, Toledo St. John’s is again the area’s Division I representative. This will be the Titans’ fourth trip to the final four in the past seven years and their sixth overall. Head coach Ed Heintschel has been at the helm for all six of the Titan trips to Columbus and, as part of coach Heintschel’s activities this weekend, he will be awarded with a ring by the OHSAA honoring him for his 500 career coaching victories.


Heidi Schlegel , Wapakoneta: The candidates are limited by the fact that most of the teams have seen their seasons end but, even in a less limited field, Wapakoneta’s Heidi Schlegel, would have to be considered for weekly honors. In Wapakoneta’s two games last weekend in the state tournament, Schlegel scored a combined 26 points and 24 rebounds as she tried to lead her team to its first state title. The Lady Redskins fell short in their efforts, falling to Hathaway Brown in the title game, 52-46, but Schlegel was nevertheless impressive.


Tinora Boys Basketball: Many great possibilities but the Tinora Rams boys’ team has to be winner. The Rams have come out of nowhere to place themselves in position for a state title in Division III. In the process the Rams have ignited a community and should bring with them a large and enthusiastic contingent that should fill the Schottenstein this weekend with healthy exuberance.

Lacking any true superstar players, Tinora plays true team basketball and their defense should provide their opposition with many headaches.


State Honors: The Associated Press announced their all-state teams this past week and a number of northwest Ohio athletes were honored. In Division I, Findlay’s Luke Kraus was a first team honoree while Sylvania Southview’s Tim Hausfeld and Toledo Waite’s Darius Glover were named to the second team. Lima Senior’s Anton Hutchins was included on the third team.

Kenton’s Garrick Sherman was not only named to the Division II first team he was also designated as the co-player of the year.  Only one other northwest Ohio player, Upper Sandusky’s Alex Falk, made the all-state slate in Division II. Falk was placed on the second team.

Northwest Ohio’s representatives on the DIII all-state team were Liberty-Benton’s Aaron Craft (first team), Ottawa Hill’s Phillip Beans and Ottawa-Glandorf’s Taylor Kuhlman (both second team).  Those named to the DIV team were Brook Turson of Plymouth (first team), and Ethan Michael of Toledo Christian, and Brad Piehl of New Knoxville (second team).

SLL Changes: The news out of the Suburban Lakes League keeps bringing new surprises. Last week it appeared that the SLL would be continuing play as a seven team conference but now it appears that a new 12 team, 2-division alignment is in the offing.

Tom Peiffer, superintendent of the Gibsonburg school district, has announced that the SLL is intending to expand to a 12-school, two division alignment by the 2011-12 school year. No specifics as to who may be added to the existing seven league members but it was announced that alignment will be based upon school enrollments.

League Honors:  The Putnam County League and Western Buckeye League both released their all-league teams this past week. In the Putnam County League, Pandora-Gilboa’s Josh Lee was honored as the player of the year. Lee, who averaged 14.6 points and 8.3 rebounds captured player of the year honors in the league for the second straight season. Kalida’s Richard Kortokrax was named coach of the year.

Kenton’s Garrick Sherman was named player of the year in the Western Buckeye League.  Sherman, who is headed to Michigan State next season, was also named as player of the year on the Division II all-state team.  Ottawa-Glandorf’s Josh Leslie was named the league’s coach of the year.


Division I state boys basketball semifinal, Friday, 8:30 pm, Value City Arena: Toledo St. John’s vs. Cincinnati Princeton.

Division III state boys basketball semifinal, Thursday, 8:30 pm, Value City Arena: Dayton Christian v. Tinora.

Division III state boys basketball semifinal, Thursday, 10:45 am, Value City Arena: Kalida vs. Lutheran East.

Division IV state boys basketball semifinal, Thursday, 2:00 pm, Value City Arena: Ada vs. Oak Hill

Baseball and Softball seasons: Play begins all over the state on Monday, March 30th.

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