The Wildcats avenged two previous losses to Hunting Valley University
School during the regular season by beating them when it counted – in
the state semifinals, 5-1. The Wildcats then went on to easily beat out Sylvania Northview 4-1 in the state championship match.
When life throws you a lemon, make lemonade. Smithville’s girls took that adage all the way to the Division III State Final Four. Led by 6-foot senior Jenna Pew, the Smithies reached the state tournament after a strange regional that found the state favorite, South Euclid Regina, losing its regional final appearance due to an ineligible player used even before the Sweet 16.
Due to that fact, Regina had to forfeit its last game, a win over Elyria Catholic, putting Catholic up against Smithville. The Smithies took care of business, dispensing with Elyria 58-30 to advance to the Final Four.
Pew had 31 points and 15 rebounds in the finals win as she helped her team win its 25th-straight game after a season-opening loss to Loudonville that was played after many of the players had just six days of practice after the Smithies’ volleyball team reached the state tournament as well (Pew included).
In the semifinals, Smithville beat Youngstown Ursuline 57-45. Pew had 18 points (10 of 10 free throws) with 12 rebounds and four assists.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Paddy Spellacy and Josh Potts, St. Ignatius Ice Hockey: Spellacy provided an offensive boost and Potts the defensive presence their Wildcats needed to outscore its two state opponents 9-1 in winning the state hockey championship.
Spellacy turned in a goal and two assists in his team’s 5-1 semifinal win over Hunting Valley University. He then added another goal and two more assists in the finals in a 4-1 victory over Sylvania Northview.
All Potts did was face 31 shots in the semifinals, stopping 30 of them. Then, in the finals, he stopped 16 of 17 shots by Northview.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Cleveland St. Ignatius Ice Hockey: The Wildcats avenged two previous losses to Hunting Valley University School during the regular season by beating them when it counted – in the state semifinals, 5-1.
The Wildcats then went on to easily beat out Sylvania Northview 4-1 in the state championship match.
The Wildcats finish the year 31-7-3. They trailed 1-0 to University School but rallied with five unanswered goals by Jacob Riemenschneider, Paddy Spellacy, Asa Frebes, John Jeziorowski and Michael Wells. Assisting on those goals were Andy Gerow, Sam Nader (two), Spellacy (two), Wells, Nolan Schade and Liam Geither (two).
In the finals win over Northview, the Wildcats led 2-0 before giving up just its second goal at state. Scoring for St. Ignatius were Colton Reimenschneider, Chris Knoth, Spellacy and Nader. Assists went to Jeziorowski, Pete Bobulsky, Spellacy (two) and Riemenschneider.
Goalkeeper Josh Potts stopped 36 of 38 shots over the two games.
NEWS, NOTES & NUGGETS
Happy Hiland: Berlin Hiland’s girls had a reverse of competition in its Division IV regional at Massillon Perry. The reigning state runners-up had to earn its regional final berth with a tough 57-52 overtime win over Cleveland Lutheran East in the semifinals and then routed Cuyahoga Heights in the finals.
Against Lutheran East, Noelle Yoder hit the game-tying 3-pointer with one second left in the game and scored 21 for the game. Runningmate Hilary Weaver hit for 10 points in the overtime as she scored 22 points. Her teammates totaled 11 of 13 free throws in the extra session.
In the win over Cuyahoga Heights, post player Katelyn Stuckey led the way with 14 points and Yoder and Weaver combined for just 11 points.
Heights senior Heidi Mervar did end her career as the second-leading scorer in school history at 1,279 points, just eight shy of the record.
Clearly Clearview: After playing in Division III last year, Lorain Clearview is loving Division II after beating Bay 61-29 in the district finals this year.
In the finals, Iowa football recruit Anthony Hitchens had 19 points as his team finished off a sectional/district run where they won by an average of 24 points per game.
In the semifinals, Clearview dominated Vermilion 76-59 as Hitchens had 28 points (11 of 1 free throws).
Nick Fraley had 24 points for Vermilion.
Undefeated and Awesome: McDonald in Division IV and East Canton in Division III continued their undefeated ways in their respective districts. McDonald won 46-44 over Youngstown Christian as Matthias Tayala had 15 points and six boards.
East Canton beat Campbell Memorial in its district final 69-56 as Zell Bradley had 22 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Ryan Burfield added 23 points and Josh Smith had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Jerah’me Williams had 17 for Campbell Memorial.
Nasty Newton: Newton Falls hit it big in its Division III district, starting in the semifinals with a 60-44 win over Middlefield Cardinal. Cody Dillon had 24 points and nine rebounds while Brian Sole added 11 points.
In the district finals, Falls beat LaBrae 50-45 as Mitchell Czerniak led a balanced attack with 12 points. Sole and Dillon both added 10.
Battle of Akron: It took an 11-2 run in overtime but Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary was able to hold on and defeat rival and undefeated Akron Buchtel 68-59 in a huge Division II district championship.
The 15-6 Irish got four points in overtime from Khristian Taylor (16 points total) in his first career start. Lorenzo Cugini added 14 points and eight rebounds. Jakarr Sampson tallied 12 points (after a scoreless first half) with nine boards.
Jason Pitts was a double-double standout for the Griffins with 16 points and 12 boards. Buchtel is 0-4 since 2004 against the Irish.
Perfect Paige: Mantua Crestwood wrestler Paige Nemec, the first girl to make the state wrestling championships this year, won her eighth Ohio State Girls’ Wrestling Tournament title since the age of 8.
Nemec won the 108-pound weight class.
Jammin’ Jackson: Massillon Jackson beat out rival North Canton Hoover 55-52 in a tough Division I District final that had more than 4,000 attendees in Stark County. Kent State recruit Mark Henniger tallied 21 points, eight rebounds and four blocks and Akron recruit Josh Egner tossed in 16 points, grabbed five boards and blocked three shots.
In the same game, Nyles Evans of Hoover had 25 points, including 21 in the second half, along with four 3-pointers (including a 4-point play on one).
Amazing Mentor: Mentor cruised through its Division I sectional, beating Lyndhurst Brush in the finals and toppling Ashtabula Lakeside 75-66 in the semifinals.
In the finals win over Brush, it was the fifth time in six years the Cardinals knocked Brush out of the tourney. They were 27 of 30 from the free throw line in the game and they held Brush’s all-time leading scorer, Nate Tait, to just 15 points.
Cole Krizancic again led the winners with 27 points (12 in the fourth quarter) while Jaron Crowe added 25 points, including 5 of 10 from 3-point range. Justin Fritts doubled his scoring average with 20 points.
Against Lakeside, Krizancic had 2 points and Crowe went over 1,000 points for his career with 22 points.
Emilio Parks had 27 points to lead Lakeside after reaching the 1,000-point mark late in the year.
Lovin’ D-2: Akron East went from a district title in Division II and stayed consistent, winning a Division I district 63-62 over Kent Roosevelt.
Deshon Hudson had 19 points to lead East while Marcus Wright had 21 for Roosevelt.
Super St. Ed’s: Playing the underdog Revere team in its Division I district final, Lakewood St. Edward’s stepped up with an impressive 67-46 win. In a balanced attack, Myles Hamilton had 17 points. Kyle Pisco added 13 points while Matt Stainbrook chipped in 11 and Louisville signee James Price with 10.
Bad Bad Hathaway Brown: Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown easily defeated Struthers 63-35 in a Division II Regional Final. Alanna Guy had 11 of her 13 points in the second half while Tanisha Lawler had 12 points. Mylan Woods added nine points, four rebounds and four steals while Molly Crosby had 10 points and five boards.
Absolutely Avon: Avon Lake shot a scorching 77 percent in the first half and 66 percent for the game in a 52-46 boys’ Division I district final win over Medina.
Eric Stuczynski had a solid 14 points to lead Avon while Ronnie Willoughby added 13 and Dom Whitfield 10.
Big Four For Ignatius: Cleveland St. Ignatius got all of its scoring from four players in a 79-66 Division I district title win over Warren G. Harding.
Ignatius was led by Tom Parker with 21 points while Shonn Miller added 20 points and 15 boards. Rich Austin tallied 20 points and Tyler Hammond 18.
For Harding, returnees Fred Williams (discipline) and Angel Gonzalez (torn knee ligament) from last year’s state championship runner-up team, were both out but Tre’ Brown and Kennis White both added 25 points.
Warren G. Harding beat the Wildcats 66-34 in the regular season.
Get Goins: In Cleveland Collinwood’s big Division II district final win over rival Cleveland East Tech, Tiran Goins had 19 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and four assists to lead the winners.
Balanced Benedictine: With leading scorer Cameron Wright going just 1 for 8 from the field, 6-foot-7 Nick Harney had 14 points and Derek Jackson had 11 in Cleveland Benedictine’s 46-35 deliberate win over Hunting Valley University in a Division III district final.
Massive McKinley: For the second-straight year, Canton McKinley knocked Twinsburg out of the regional finals. This year, it was 53-43 as Ameryst Alston had 20 points and Sydnee Penn 10.
Twinsburg had won 23-straight games after losing to Hathaway Brown in its opener. They were led by super sophomore Malina Howard with 17 points.
Makin’ History Maplewood: Cortland Maplewood won its first district title in 25 years as it beat Mathews 50-46 in a Division IV district. Ben Moser had 11 and Tom Bottorff and Alex Doneyko both had 10 for the winners.
Poundin’ Poland: Poland continued to dominate Division II district at Youngstown as it beat Mooney 75-65. Niko Fatimus had 19 points with Ben Donlow adding 21 points, 15 rebounds and Luke Wollet 13 points and four assists.
Poland hit 10 of 28 three-pointers with Fatimus nailing three.
Jeff Chahine had 27 points for Mooney.
Mooney Madness: Youngstown Cardinal Mooney picked up a win over No. 2 seed Struthers at the highly-competitive Boardman Division II District. Mooney won 60-51 as Chuck Gruber had 18 points and Jeff Chahine added 14 points and eight boards.
Struthers was held to 7 of 24 shooting on 3-pointers as junior Nate Jacubec had 20 points on the strength of four 3-pointers.
Back Next Year: While Sugarcreek Garaway suffered a tough 52-51 loss at a Division III Regional Final against Chesapeake, the Pirates will go into next year with its three leading scorers back from that loss.
Freshman Duane Troyer led the team with 13 points while 6-foot-8 junior Paul Honigford added 11 points and 11 boards. Sophomore Ryan Troyer tallied 10 points. Also featured back is junior point guard Hunter Shaw and sophomore post player Tanner Klein.
Bedford St. Peter Chanel vs. Shadyside, Boys’ Division IV Regional Final at Canton Memorial Field House, Tonight, 7:30 p.m.: Chanel, just 13-11, toppled Cortland Maplewood in the regional semifinals as Anthony DeBaltzo hit on three triples and 17 of his 20 points in the second half. Zarell Patton hit a pair of key 3-pointers in the second half and had 11 points and Devonta Brooks had 13 points and seven boards.
Shadyside is now 25-0 and beat also previously-undefeated McDonald 65-49, starting the second half with a 10-0 run for separation. Justin Andes hit five 3-pointers en route to 21 points while Heath Brooks tallied four points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
Mentor vs. Lakewood St. Edward’s, Boys’ Division I Regional Final at Cleveland State University, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.: These two teams hooked up in the regular season, only to have the Eagles win. Now they are meeting for a trip to the state Final Four.
Mentor, as usual, was electric in its 64-58 win over Avon Lake. Sophomore Justin Fritts scored 24 points and Cole Krizancic added 18 as the Cardinals broke a regional semifinal curse that found them lose the last two years in this game.
Dom Whitfield led Avon Lake with 15 points.
St. Ed’s won another rivalry matchup with St. Ignatius 53-49 in overtime. Six-foot-nine, 280-pound banger Matt Stainbrook was the lone St. Ed’s player in double figures as he had a monster double-double night with 24 points and 16 rebounds.
Shonn Miller led Ignatius with 16 points and eight boards.
Massillon Jackson vs. Toledo St. John’s, Boys’ Division I Regional Final at The University of Akron, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.: Jackson edged Akron East and features a pair of Division I signees in Josh Egner and Mark Henniger.
Cleveland Benedictine vs. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Boys’ Division II Regional Final at Canton Memorial Civic Center, Saturday, 3 p.m.: Nick Harney, at 6-foot-7, had 19 points and 19 rebounds in Benedictine’s 75-47 win over Cleveland Collinwood in the regional semis.
SVSM toppled a solid Poland Seminary team 74-60 as Lorenzo Cugini had 18 points.
Orrville vs. Newton Falls, Boys’ Division III at Canton Memorial Field House, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.: Orrville knocked off streaking and defending state champs Cleveland Central Catholic 65-59 as Zach Wasson had 24 points and Jacob Bolyard added 20. The Red Riders are 19-5.
Newton Falls toppled East Canton 60-48 to end East Canton’s undefeated season after 23-straight wins. Falls held the Hornets to 6 of 30 shooting from 3-point range as Brian Sole hit for 22 points to lead the winners and Cody Dillon had 15.
East Canton was led by Josh Smith with 13 points but leading scorers Ryan Burfield and Zell Bradley were held in check below double figures.