Who wins this weekend? Here’s who history says takes home the titles


Boys Basketball State Tournament

History is a fabulous subject and can tell us a lot about what to expect
in certain areas of life. Surely, no man knows precisely what will
happen in the future but when it comes to high school basketball in Ohio, history tends to repeat itself. Here’s who it says wins this weekend.

History is a fabulous subject and can tell us a lot about what to expect in certain areas of life. Surely, no man knows precisely what will happen in the future but when it comes to high school basketball in Ohio history tends to repeat itself.

We are going to take a brief trip down memory lane in hopes of becoming more insightful to pick the correct winners of the 2010 tournament. Eras are all different and the game has developed, so we won’t extend too far back into the record books but just enough to get us a good idea as to what might happen in Columbus this weekend.

In 1988, Ohio went to a four-division system crowing champions in each of the four, so our history lesson will start there.

The state of Ohio is broken down into six districts including the Central, East, Northeast (Inland and Lakes), Northwest, Southeast and Southwest.

The Northeast will has five teams in the tournament (Massillon Jackson, Orrville, Mentor, Cleveland Benedictine, and Bedford Chanel), while the Southwest (Cincinnati Moeller, Dayton Dunbar, and Dayton Jefferson), Central (Gahanna Lincoln, Bishop Ready, and Newark Catholic) and Northwest (Port Clinton, Lima Central Catholic, and Toledo Ottawa Hills) each have three. The East (Zanesville) and Southeast (Chesapeake) each have one team in.

Obviously, over the years, the teams close to metropolitan areas have dominated which is why the East and Southeast Districts rarely bring home state titles in boy’s basketball. Zanesville, the only team out of the East, has enjoyed a respectable amount of success over the years but is only 45 miles outside of Columbus.

Chesapeake and Lima Central Catholic are two teams this year not near any major metropolitan area.

Since 1988:
Northeast (27)
Southwest (26)
Northwest (20)
Central (9)
Southeast (4)
East (2)

*The East District has the longest drought of not winning a state championship. Zanesville was the last team to do so in 1995.

For the third year in a row there will be zero chance of a repeat winner.  In 2008, 2009 and 2010 all of the previous state champions were knocked out before the final four.
People were stunned after Columbus Northland was upset by Gahanna Lincoln last week, but history told us the Vikings would not repeat. Canton McKinley is the only team to repeat in Division I since 1988 doing it in 2005 and 2006. Before McKinley, the last big school to win back-to-back state titles was Cincinnati Elder in 1973 and 1974.

The last repeat winners were Dayton Dunbar (D-II) in 2006 and 2007, Cincinnati North College Hill (D-III) in 2005, 2006 and 2007, Canton McKinley (D-I) in 2005 and 2006 and Columbus Wehrle (D-IV) in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Wehrle no longer exists.

The 2010 state tournament has five first-time participants in Mentor, Gahanna Lincoln, Port Clinton, Chesapeake and Newark Catholic. It would even be acceptable to toss in Toledo Ottawa Hills since they have never made a final four. The Green Bears lone trip in 1942 was in an era when 16 teams made the tournament. Ottawa Hills reached the elite eight.

Being the new guy in town isn’t a bad thing considering five schools in the past five years have won state championships in their first appearance (Columbus Northland, Oak Hill, Georgetown, Upper Sandusky and Lutheran East).  Officially, Lutheran East won the state in 2005 but Columbus Africentric won the game on the court.

This year there are five head coaches with previous state titles in the field, including: Carl Kremer (3) with Cincinnat Moeller, Peter Pullen (2) with Dayton Dunbar, Art Winston (1) with Dayton Jefferson, Scott Aronhalt (1) with Zanesville and Bob Krizancic (1) with Mentor, who won his title at Girard.

Now that we have let you digest some appetizers it is time for the main course. We want to pick the winners,  so in order to we will have to take a long, hard look at the past 22 years. As Edmund Burke said in the 1700’s, “those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Meaning, if we don’t take a look at past results we are doomed to pick the wrong winners.

Obviously, when there is a player the caliber of LeBron James or O.J. Mayo then we can more freely set aside history. Some will say, what about Jared Sullinger? His team didn’t make it back to the state tournament. We will have you ponder this thought – Sullinger is arguably the best low post player in the country and perhaps the best overall talent in the nation, but the big difference between James, Mayo, and Sullinger is James and Mayo handled the basketball making the game much easier for them to control. Sullinger has to rely on guards to get him the basketball where James and Mayo dominated the game with the basketball in their hands.

Without further ado, let us start in Division IV.


Northwest Ohio has been dominant in the past 10 years winning five of the past 10 titles including nine championships since the four-division alignment began in 1988.

The Southwest is next with five championships, but just two in the past 10 seasons.  The Central follows with four, but in reality it is five if we count Africentric winning on the court in 2005. The Southeast hold two titles, but doesn’t play into the equation this year with nary a team making the D-IV tournament.

The East has a single title and the Northeast has a like amount but it wasn’t won on the court.

Toledo Ottawa Hills (Northwest) over Newark Catholic (Central)
Dayton Jefferson (Southwest) over Bedford Chanel (Northeast)

Toledo Ottawa Hills (Northwest) over Dayton Jefferson (Southwest)


The Northeast has been dominant over the past 22 years in Division III winning 10 of the 22 gold trophies. The district has won four of the past 10 titles with only the Southwest matching that feat. The Southwest has a total of six D-III state championships, but has zero participants this year.

The Northwest is the only other district to win a championship in the past 10 years attaining two first place trophies and five overall. The Central has one with Sparta Highland back in 1998, and the East and Southeast have been blanked. That is not good news for Chesapeake who comes from the Southeast.

Here is some good news for Orrville. Each time the Northeast wins a title like they did last year with Cleveland Central the district wins the next three as well including 1992-1995 and 1999-2002. The only time they didn’t win a consecutive gold was following Akron Hoban’s 1989 title.

Lima Central Catholic (Northwest) over Chesapeake (Southeast)
Orrville (Northeast) over Columbus Bishop Ready (Central)

Orrville (Northeast) over Lima Central Catholic (Northwest)


The Northeast also has its hand in the Division II state championship more often than not winning 10 championships but just three in the past 10 seasons.

The Southwest owns six golds including four of the past 10.

We figured the hardest game of the tournament to pick would be Cleveland Benedictine and Dayton Dunbar, and history agrees. The Northeast has not won back-to-back championships after its last two titles (Warrensville Heights and Akron SVSM). However, from 1992-1998 the district won seven-straight titles. So, with Akron SVSM winning last year’s D-II tournament, could the Northeast be starting another streak or will they falter in trying to win back-to-back like the previous two occasions?

If we do a little foreshadowing to next year, Akron SVSM will likely be the favorite in D-II so with a Benedictine championship this season that would put the NE at three-straight after the 2011 campaign. Obviously, that is just speculation.

The other criteria for predicting this game is the Southwest has just one more title than the Northeast in the past ten seasons. Honestly, that isn’t enough for us.

The rest of the group has just six titles between them including the Northwest with four and the Southeast with two championships. The East and Central have been goose-egged in D-II, which doesn’t sit well for Zanesville appearing from the East.

Cleveland Benedictine (Northeast) over Dayton Dunbar (Southwest)
Port Clinton (Northwest) over Zanesville (East)


Cleveland Benedictine (Northeast) over Port Clinton (Northwest)


Ohio’s big boy division has been controlled by Southwest Ohio and more specifically the Greater Catholic League. The district owns nine titles since 1988 with only three (Woodward, West Chester Lakota, and Hamilton) coming outside the GCL. Guess what? The GCL has a participant in 2010 in Cincinnati Moeller and the Crusaders own three titles in four appearances in the past 12 years. In the past 11 years, the Southwest has five gold trophies to its district.
The Northeast has six D-I championships with three coming in the past nine years.  The Central follows with four titles including the past two and three of the last eight. Those numbers certainly favor Gahanna Lincoln out of the Central.

Looking further into the numbers, the Northeast Inland District has just two of the six titles with McKinley’s consecutive winnings in 2005 and 2006. Other than the Bulldogs, the Inland part of the NE has struggled on the state level in D-I.  The Central winning the past two and three of the last eight is huge for us.

The Northwest (2), East (1) and Southeast (0) round out the bottom three, which is not a big shocker considering the lack of a major metropolitan area among these three districts. With Toledo-area schools struggling to find success on the state level since back-to-back titles from Macomber and Scott in 1989 and 1990 the Northwest has really been hurting in the D-I ranks.

Cincinnati Moeller (Southwest) over Mentor (Northeast)
Gahanna Lincoln (Central) over Massillon Jackson (Northeast)

Cincinnati Moeller (Southwest) over Gahanna Lincoln (Central)

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