Going into last weekend’s state semifinals, four northwest Ohio teams – Ada, Kalida, Tinora and Toledo St. John’s – were in contention for a state championship. But in the end northwest Ohio was shutout. Nevertheless, all four teams performed admirably and provided fans with exciting games.
Going into last weekend’s state semifinals, four northwest Ohio teams – Ada, Kalida, Tinora and Toledo St. John’s – were in contention for a state championship. But in the end northwest Ohio was shutout.
Nevertheless, all four teams performed admirably and provided fans with exciting games.
Of particular interest were the Tinora Rams, whose tough, aggressive defense and never-say-die attitude exhilarated Ohio State’s Value City Arena. Time after time over the weekend the Rams appeared to be done only to come back. Even in the finals where they were considered badly over-matched athletically by Cleveland Central Catholic, the Rams battled to the bitter end and were still in contention in the game’s final minutes to win it all.
Defiance County should be quite proud of their team’s first visit to the big show. They did you proud.
Under the radar, the track, boys tennis and baseball, and girls softball all began play this past week. Due to the excitement of the state basketball playoffs, these openings have not received much attention.
What does the spring have in store for fans of these sports?
In softball, Holland Springfield coach Rob Gwodcz has a powerhouse. Graduation was kind to the Blue Devils and, as a result, they must be considered the area’s best candidate for state honors. The Blue Devils made a serious run last season and they gained valuable experience that should serve them well in this year’s event.
Other serious contenders in Division I are Clay and St. Ursula in the Toledo City League and Anthony Wayne, Perrysburg and Southview in the Northern Lakes League. These historically strong programs all have holes to fill but by playoff time will be among the mix.
The picture is less clear on the baseball side but most experts, when pushed to pick one team, are picking the Anthony Wayne Generals. The Generals return a good core but so do the Clay Eagles and Clay has the one weapon that everyone would like to have: Drew Kuns. Anthony Wayne and Clay play in different districts so it may not be until the regionals that the top dog is known.
Outside D-I, the top softball teams appear to be Archbold of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League and Eastwood and Elmwood of the Suburban Lakes League. In baseball, coach Hartman always puts a quality product on the field at Ottawa Hills.
Player of the Week
With only four teams in action it would seem like an easy task to pick this week’s top athlete but there were a number of fine candidates. Tinora’s Treg Lymanstall and Greg Gerken both had good performances in the state basketball tournament as did Kalida’s Jordan Basinger.
But it was St. John’s senior Michael Taylor, playing his final game for the Titans, that was the most impressive.
On a night when his guard teammates, Jay Springs and Cheatham Norrils struggled, Taylor almost single-handedly kept his team in the contest against Cincinnati Princeton by scoring 17 points and leading the Titans offense. It was while Taylor was on the bench late in the third quarter that the Vikings took control of the game and, even though Taylor battled hard in the fourth quarter to bring his Titans back, Princeton proved to be too formidable.
Team of the Week
It would have been nice to name a state champion from northwest Ohio as the team of the week but it was not meant to be. All four teams played well on the Value City Arena stage but came up short. The northwest sector of the state will have to wait another year to crown one of their own as a state champion in boys basketball.
Of the four teams competing from this area in the state semifinals, the Tinora Rams were the most impressive. Playing as many as ten players, Tinora demonstrated to the rest of the state the true meaning of team basketball and the Defiance County community demonstrated the importance of fan support. Observing all that green and white was truly inspirational.
News, Notes and Nuggets
Guerrero Resigns Eagle Perch: Clay;s Joe Guerrero has decided that 15 years at the helm of the Eagles’ basketball program is enough. In tendering his resignation, Guerrero was complimentary of the Clay administration and community but acknowledged that the past few years had taken their toll and that it was time to give someone else a chance to build a program.
During his tenure, the Eagles posted a 159-156 record. Guerrero previously coached at Toledo Waite (1987-1994) where his teams were 79-70. Guerrero was recently inducted into the Waite Athletic Hall of Fame.
Coaching Turnstile Continues In Norwalk: Since 1981, the Norwalk Truckers football team has seen a steady procession of coaching changes. Nine different men have headed the Truckers’ program and this past Monday, Chris McFarland, assumed the mantle.
But for how long?
Stability has not been the stong suit of the Norwalk football program
The good news is that McFarland appears to come into the Norwalk program with impressive credentials. He is familiar with the Northern Ohio League having graduated from Tiffin Columbian in 1987. He coached six playoff teams during his tenure in South Carolina and has spent the last two years coaching at Cincinnati’s Western Hills.
Elida’s Mathias Wins Three-Point Contest: Everyone in the Western Buckeye League knows what a terrific shooter Bo Mathias is but now the rest of the state knows as well.
This past weekend at the boys state tournament, Mathias won the Ohio High School Association’s three-point shooting contest besting Middletown’s Tony Peters 10-8. Mathias and Peters outlasted nine other contestants from throughout the state in order to face each other in the finals which took place at halftime of the D-I finals on Saturday night.