Basketball’s second season is rapidly approaching and many in northwest
Ohio are waiting eagerly for them to begin. But there are others who
are equally excited about the playoffs beginning in another sport: ice
hockey. Below we talk both – hoops and hockey – and more.
Basketball’s second season is rapidly approaching and many in northwest Ohio are waiting eagerly for them to begin. But there are others who are equally excited about the playoffs beginning in another sport: ice hockey. Northwest Ohio’s hockey teams are enjoying a stellar year with no less than five teams – Toledo St. Francis, Sylvania Northview, Toledo St. John’s, Findlay and Bowling Green – all being considered among the state’s best. Toledo St. Francis has been ranked No. 1 or near it all season long and with a 26-2-2 record entering the final week of the regular season the Knights have to be afforded the favorite tag. Escaping the Toledo district, though, may prove to be their greatest challenge.
Just this week the Knights were forced to go into overtime to defeat league rival, Toledo St. John’s, 4-3, and similar challenges can be expected from several other local teams. The state tournament begins February 15 and only one team will advance to the state semifinals in Nationwide Arena (March 5-6). Toledo St. John’s was the last Northwest Ohio team to capture a state title in hockey (2007), but this year might just be the year for another area team to hoist the state championship trophy.
Returning to the hard court, in a game that everyone has been waiting for, the Toledo Start Lady Spartans and the Toledo Waite Lady Indians met on Wednesday, February 3 to determine supremacy in the Toledo City League. Start came into the contest ranked number 2 in the latest state polls while Waite came in ranked number six. Start, last year’s Division I runner-up, had won the last three meetings between the two schools and was riding a 27 game consecutive win streak against northwest Ohio schools.
Waite, meanwhile, was out to prove that they were as good, if not better, than Start. In the end it was Waite that made their point taking a surprisingly easy 66-46 victory before a crowd of over 2,800 fans that is, reportedly, the largest crowd to ever attend a Toledo City League girls’ basketball game.
The Indians (15-1) are led by 6’3” senior Natasha Howard who may be the best woman to ever take the court in City League history but Wednesday night it was not Howard that caused the most damage to the visiting Spartans. Sure, Howard had 21 points and 17 rebounds but that was expected. What made the difference in the game was the play of Waite point guard, Brooke Hunt. Hunt, playing all year in ths shadow of the much more heralded Maleeka Kynard of Start, contributed 16 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists to provide the extra boost that the Indians needed to defeat the Spartans.
Waite’s win virtually assures them an uncontested City League regular season title and a number one seed in the league’s season ending tournament. It also sets up a probable rematch with Start in the City League championship game and a potential rematch in the district title game as well.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Andrew Donnel, Whitehouse Anthony Wayne: Football season is long over but the player of the week is Donnal, who has signed to play next season at the University of Iowa. He’s also been selected to play for the Team USA football squad that will play against a World team this week on the campus of Florida Atlantic University. Donnal is one of 45 players selected from graduating seniors throughout the entire United States to compete against players from eight different countries.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Toledo St. Francis Hockey: The hockey season is an endurance test and the Knights have, so far, proven to be equal to the task. Entering the season the Knights had a target on their chests as they were considered the preseason favorite for not only a Northwest Ohio Hockey League title but also a possible state title. Nevertheless, the Knights have kept on winning and entering the regular season’s final week sport an impressive 26-2-2 record.
NEWS, NOTES & NUGGETS
1,000 Point Milestone: Perrysburg High School senior Charlie Hughes scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to help his team defeat Cleveland East Shaw, 62-57, and, in the process, eclipsed the 1,000 career points barrier. With his 20 points against Cleveland Shaw, Hughes has scored a total of 1,1016 career points.
Strange but True: After 32 minutes of regulation play, the Eastwood Lady Eagles and Elmwood Lady Royals played to 54-54 tie but in the overtime it was all Eastwood as the Lady Eagles completely overwhelmed the Lady Royals and scored 17 unanswered points to take home a 71-54 league victory.
Perfect Regular Season Record: For the past two seasons the Lake Lady Flyers have been invincible in the regular season. Entering this week the Lady Flyers have been undefeated in the regular season over the past two years and are riding a 37 game winning streak.
College Signings: Northview cross country standout Meredith Wagner has announced that she will sign a national letter of intent to compete at Ohio State next fall. Wagner captured the 2009 Division I state title.
Wapakoneta’s Kimi Kentner has verbally committed to swim at Akron University.
Lima Shawnee’s Chelsea Lucas has verbally committed to pole vault for the University of Louisville.
National Honors: Defiance High School’s Dace Kime has been named to the 2010 Louisville Slugger Pre-season All-American First team. Kime is listed as pitcher.
Bowling Green (9-4, 8-1) v. Perrysburg (14-1, 10-0), boys’ basketball, Friday, Feb. 5, 7:30 pm: Perrysburg’s last big test before the state playoffs. A win secures another NLL title for the Yellow Jackets and coach Boyce. Bowling Green needs a win to stay in the race. Perrysburg won the first meeting this season, 63-45.
Ottawa Hills (13-1) v. Toledo Christian (8-4), boys basketball, Friday, Feb. 5, 7:30 pm: Ottawa Hills has virtually clinched the league title but this is always a closely played contest. Toledo Christian enjoys a huge home court advantage on their tiny band box floor.
Toledo St. Francis (8-4) v. Toledo Whitmer (10-2), boys basketball, Friday, Feb 5. 7:30 pm: Match-up between two teams fighting for a league playoff spot. Four teams currently tied for second in the league race with only three spots available as Toledo St. John’s has virtually locked up the top seed. Winner stays in the running. Loser loses ground to the field.
Toledo Central Catholic (11-2) v. Toledo Libbey (7-3), boys’ basketball, Friday, Feb. 5, 7:30 pm: The other two teams tied for second in the City League. Some scoreboard watching will be taking place at both locations.