A national TV audience will be able to see Ohio’s finest tomorrow as ESPN and its camera crews invade Otterbein College on Thursday for a meeting between defending Ohio big school champion Columbus Northland and reigning national champion Findlay (Nev.) Prep. Big schools, big time talent, big opportunity for the Vikings. Here’s who else cashed in this week…
There has to be a beginning.
We started to learn more about central Ohio boys and girls basketball and wrestling last week. In girls basketball, Pickerington North has an early leg up against crosstown rival Pickerington Central and Canal Winchester is the early season Cinderella story. In boys basketball, Marion Harding had a strong finish to remain undefeated against Findlay and Gahanna opened conference play with two impressive wins. A Final Four team from last season, Logan Elm, looks to be just as good or even better on defense than a year ago with early season wins over Waverly and Chillicothe.
In wrestling, West Jefferson is proving to be one of the teams to watch in Division III after winning its second tournament of the season and landing an impressive win over Division I Teays Valley.
And even more is on tap this week as the defending state champion Northland boys basketball team has a game catered by ESPN.
For all this and more, read on.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Canal Winchester, girls basketball: The Indians struggled to a 2-18 mark during the regular-season last season, including finishing 0-14 in the Mid-State League Buckeye. 2009 has brought a complete change, thus far. Canal Winchester is off to a 5-0 start, including a 53-48 win over defending league champion Amanda-Clearcreek. Tykia Savage scored 21 points in the game for the Indians, which outscored the Aces 16-10 in the third quarter to take a 40-31 lead. Ashley Dexter added 17 points for Canal Winchester.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kenny Moore, Canal Winchester boys basketball: Moore had a career-high 32 points and added five steals as the Indians rallied from a 37-33 halftime deficit to knock off Hamilton Township 70-62 in a Mid-State League Buckeye Division game. Moore shot 13 of 22 from the field and is taking a bigger role this season for the Indians, which improved to 2-1 on the season.
NEWS, NOTES & NUGGETS
Hot start for West Jeff: The West Jefferson wrestling team won its second tournament of the season, topping host Teays Valley, a strong Division I program, 40-30, in the championship round.
Winning in the match for the Roughriders were: Genner Feucht (forfeit, 103 pounds; Aaron Branham pin in 3:13, 125); Tyler Reichle (11-1 decision, 130); Marco Guiltieri(10-4 decision, 140); Sean Prather (3-1 decision, 152); T.J. Langemeier(14-8 decision, 160); Jake Cochran (1-0 decision, 171); Ryan Fultz (pin in 2:25, 190) and Tyler Fabry (pin in 5:12, 215).
Two routs for Gahanna: The Lions are off to a 2-0 start in Ohio Capital Conference Ohio Division after defeating Newark 61-31 and Lancaster 73-34. Gahanna, which is expected to be one of the top teams in Division I play in the Central District this season, was led in the two wins by Rob Brandenberg with 20 points against Lancaster and 18 points from Stevie Taylor. Brandenberg and Taylor teamed with Anthony Jackson in the win against Newark for a combined 37 points and 10 steals.
Grove City boys land win: Jake Green scored 19 points and Mike Mayers added 17 points as the Greyhounds used a 22-13 fourth quarter to take a 73-65 boys basketball win over Groveport in a Ohio Capital Conference Ohio Division game. The Greyhounds have three players returning from last season’s 22-3 district championship squad that lost to eventual state champion Northland.
Height pays off for North Union: The North Union boys basketball team remained unbeaten in the early season with a 58-39 win over River Valley. NU started the game on a 13-4 run and was led for the game by Evan Jamison contributing 14 points and four rebounds and forward Warren Shields with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. NU scored 36 points in the paint.
Big finish for Marion: Harding put together a 20-10 final frame and topped Findlay 57-51 in a Greater Buckeye Conference boys basketball game to improve to 3-0. Shawn Dyer poured in 24 points, including 12 in the pivotal final quarter for the Presidents. Marvin Owens and Shaquille Smith each added nine points for Harding.
North wins Pickerington battle: The Pickerington North girls basketball team used 12 points by Taylor Jones and 10 points and eight rebounds by Kayunaa Edwards to beat crosstown rival Pickerington Central 59-32. A strong pressure defense from North forced Central into 10 turnovers and powered a 19-2 second quarter for the Panthers.
Braves hold serve: Logan Elm held Chillicothe to 15 of 45 shooting from the field to win a boys basketball rematch of last season’s regional semifinal game 49-34 over the visiting Cavaliers. The Braves are off to a 3-0 start, thanks mostly to its defense that is allowing just 32.3 points per game. Logan Hauserman had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds for Logan Elm and Adam Blake had a game-high 16 points.
Big double-double: There are double-doubles. Then there was the double-double Zak Smith posted for the Westfall Mustangs. Smith scored 20 points and pulled down 33 rebounds as the Mustangs defeated Paint Valley 55-44 in a Scioto Valley Conference game. Westfall, which was a district runner-up last season and won 18 games, has an entire new lineup thanks to graduation. The win was also the first for new head coach Roger Mink.
Hall of Fame time: Lancaster’s Jack Greathouse was recently selected to enter the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Greathouse won 224 games in 15 seasons on the boys basketball bench for Lancaster, including leading the Gales to the state Final Four in 1991 and a regional championship game appearance in 2003.
Northland boys basketball vs. Findlay (Nev.) Prep at Otterbein, Thursday at 7 p.m.: This is an ESPN made contest featuring an out-of-state test for defending state champion Northland in its second game of the season.
Olentangy Liberty at Olentangy boys basketball, Friday at 7:30 p.m.: Both Delaware County rivals are off to 2-0 starts in the Ohio Capital Conference Cardinal Division. There is currently a four-way tie for first, so this game will help sort the division out and find a competitor with Westerville North and South, the favorites for the crown.
Logan Elm at Bloom-Carroll boys basketball, Friday at 7:30 p.m.: A pair of 3-0 undefeated teams that opened Mid-State League Buckeye play with wins last week. The Braves and Bloom-Carroll were considered preseason favorites.
Harvest Prep at Liberty Union girls basketball, Saturday at 2:30 p.m.: Harvest Prep is off to a 3-0 start in the Mid-State League Cardinal as the clear favorite to win the division, but Liberty Union will try to pull the upset and is off to a 4-1 start and is 3-0 in MSL-Cardinal play.
Delaware at Big Walnut girls basketball, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.: Big Walnut is off to a 4-1 start and 3-0 record in the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division while Delaware is 3-1 and 2-1 in division play.