Northeast Ohio Huddle: Regional teams bring home half the state championship haul

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Northeast Ohio Huddle

The
Northeast region had quite a presence at the State Girls’ Basketball Tournament
last weekend, taking 2 of 4 championships while sending several other teams as
well.



The
Northeast region had quite a presence at the State Girls’ Basketball Tournament
last weekend, taking 2 of 4 championships while sending several other teams as
well.

Hathaway
Brown took its second-straight Division II championship while Canton McKinley
made up for last year’s Final Four loss and beat Toledo Waite in the finals in
Division I. Berlin Hiland also found itself in its second-straight state final,
only to lose by four to World Harvest Prep.

Now
this week’s State Boys’ Basketball Tournament will be and has been full of
state title contenders from Northeast Ohio. In Division I, two of the four
teams are from the North in Mentor and Massillon Jackson.

Division
II featured state title frontrunner Cleveland Benedictine, which fell to Dayton
Dunbar, while in Division III, Orrville has been playing outstanding basketball
and picked up a state semifinal win over Columbus Bishop Ready 50-48. In Division
IV, Bedford St. Peter Chanel has stepped up and will be representing the North.

In
one of the state’s largest regions, there are many teams now preparing for the
spring season, where it could be more success.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Ameryst Alston, Canton McKinley Girls’ Basketball: Canton McKinley was impressive in its Division I
Final Four run to the state title and it was Alston leading the way in both
games.

Alston hit 7 of 11 shots from the field and 7 of 11 free
throws en route to 22 points in the Pups’ 49-47 win over Toledo Waite. She also
added seven rebounds.

Against Reynoldsburg in a 42-39 overtime win in the
semifinals, Alston had 16 points on 6 of 11 free throws while adding four
rebounds.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown Girls’ Basketball: Against a tough schedule this year, Hathaway Brown
lost four games but it prepared them for their state title run. For the second
consecutive year, the Blazers took the Division II state championship, besting
Kettering Alter 48-35.

In the finals, Mylan Woods was superb with 16 points on 7 of
10 field goals and 2 of 4 free throws. She also added seven rebounds, three
steals and four boards.

Alanna Guy tallied 10 points and Alexis Dobbs had five
points, six rebounds, three assists and four steals. Erica Almady also added
eight points, six rebounds and three assists.

In the state semifinals, Hathaway Brown topped fellow
Northeast Ohio team Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 53-48.

Woods led the Blazers with 15 points, seven rebounds and
three assists while Dobbs contributed 12 points on 5 of 6 field goals (2 of 2
from 3-point range) with four boards and four assists.

Vanessa Smith added seven points and five rebounds while Guy
had the go-ahead 3-pointer late in the game for her only shot made.

RECAP

Breaking the Regional Curse: Mentor’s boys had made eight regionals, including 7 in the 10 years
under coach Bob Krizancic but left with no state semifinal qualifications.

That is no more.

Mentor beat rival Lakewood St. Edward’s 61-57 in a Division
I regional final. After starting the game hitting just 2 of 22 three-pointers,
the Cardinals got hot when it mattered, including four 3-pointers in a key
two-minute rally in the third quarter that gave them their first lead at 36-35.

Cole Krizancic hit four of the team’s eight triples en route
to 21 points while Justin Fritts had 13 points, Cameron Aloisio 12 points and
seven boards and Jaron Crowe nine points and five assists.

Myles Hamilton led St. Ed’s with 16 points while Louisville
recruit James Price had a double-double of 11 points and 10 boards. Matt
Stainbrook also tallied six points and 10 boards.

Rallying
Firebirds:
After
a 9-11 regular season, it is more unbelievable that Bedford St. Peter Chanel is
in the Division IV state final four this weekend. In the regional final, they
bested Shadyside 50-44.

It
was Chanel’s sixth regional championship since 1991 and second in the last
three years. With just one senior, five juniors and three sophomores the
Firebirds are rolling at the right time.

Defensively,
they held Shadyside to 0 of 15 shooting from 3-point range. Offensively, Damion
Jones had 15 points and Anthony DeBaltzo added nine and Davonta Brooks seven
rebounds.

McKinley
Masters:
While
Alston led Canton McKinley to the Division I state title, several other players
also contributed.

In
the semifinals, Sydnee Penn had 11 points while Surya Gaffney added eight
points and nine boards. Laneisha Lennon added six rebounds.

In
the finals, Lennon had seven points and nine boards while Penn tallied 15
points and five rebounds.

Wonderful
Walsh:
Despite
losing to Hathaway Brown in the D-2 state semifinals, Walsh Jesuit had a solid
game, finishing 23-3. Rachel Theriot had just seven points on 1 of 5 shooting
and no rebounds in 26 minutes. Nneka Offodile had 12 points, six rebounds and
three blocks while Ariel McNair chipped in 12 points and six boards. Kara
Goliat also turned in a solid outing with seven points, five assists and four
boards.

Better
Benedictine:
In
a battle of two of Northeast Ohio’s top boys’ teams, Cleveland Benedictine
bested Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 64-61 in a Division II regional final.

Pitt
recruit Cameron Wright had 21 points and six boards while Central Michigan
recruit Derek Jackson tallied 15 points. Six-foot-seven Nick Harney added 12
points and seven boards while Desmond Ridenour had all eight of his points in a
key fourth-quarter run.

SVSM
was led by Dominique Mitchell with 16 points in the team’s 10th
regional in the past 13 years.

Lorenzo
Cugini and Ricky Johnson each had 13 points while JaKarr Sampson (all of whom
will be back next year) had 11 points.

Perfect
Pinzone:

Mark Pinzone went 147-32 at Brunswick and now will hope to turn Parma Holy
Name’s football program around as their new coach.

Pinzone
spent 15 years at Brunswick with 12 playoff runs (nine straight) and now will
try to turn around a Holy Name team who went 1-9 last year and hasn’t had a
winning season since making the playoffs at 8-3 in 2005.

Halfway
Hiland:
For
the second-straight year, Berlin Hiland’s girls’ baskeball team made the
Division IV state basketball championships and for the second-straight year,
they led by six or more points at halftime. And for the second-straight year,
they lost.

Last
year it was a double-digit lead at halftime over Columbus Africentric, only to
lose. This year, they fell to World Harvest Prep, another Columbus area team, 45-41.

In
the finals, the Hawks hit just 27 percent in each half for 27 percent for the
game. Hilary Weaver was the lone bright spot scoring with 19 points as she was
6 of 12 on field goals and 6 of 7 on free throws with three steals and three
assists. But she also had five turnovers.

Noelle
Yoder added six points and four boards and Katelyn Stuckey had seven boards.
McKenzie Miller also added five points and four rebounds.

In
the semifinals, the Hawks used a shot with 16 seconds left by Stuckey to earn
the 49-48 win over Minster.

Stuckey
had eight points and seven boards but the leaders were Weaver with 12 points,
four assists and three steals and Yoder with 11 points and six rebounds. Miller
chipped in with nine points while Stutzman had seven points and three steals.
The Hawks were 18 of 53 shooting but just 2 of 13 on three-pointers.

Jumpin’
Jackson Duo:
Division
I big-man duo Josh Egner and Mark Henniger stepped up once again in leading
Massillon Jackson to a Division I regional title win (52-50) over Toledo St.
John’s.

Egner,
at 6-foot-6, had 24 points and six boards. Henniger, a 6-foot-7 monster ripped
down 11 boards to go with 17 points.

That
follows Henniger’s 29 points in a 58-56 nailbiter in the regional semis over
Akron East. East was led by Montanize Woods with 16 points and 11 boards while
Davonte Brown had 16 points.

Bammin’
Bolyard/Wonderful Wasson:
Jacob Bolyard had 23 points and Zach Wasson had 23 points
and 13 rebounds in leading Orrville to a 67-56 Division III regional final win
over Newton Falls.

Sam
Miller turned in a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards for the Red Riders,
who are 20-5 and are coached by 1992 Orrville grad Sly Slaughter.

The
Red Riders also limited Newton Falls, who was 6 for 11 on 3-pointers in a
semifinal win over East Canton, to 4 of 21 accuracy this time around. That was
a Falls team that held East Canton to 6 of 32 shooting on 3’s.

Against
Orrville, Cody Dillon was the lone double-digit scorer with 16 points.

Rockin’
Roy:
Newton
Falls coach Roy Sembach won his 300th game in 23 years in his team’s
60-48 regional semifinal win over East Canton.

Still
Pew-fect:
Standout
Smithville center Jenna Pew closed out her remarkable career, even in a 56-34
loss to Findlay Liberty-Benton in the Division III state semifinals.

Pew
hit 6 of 14 field goals and 6 of 7 free throws for 18 points. She also added
six boards and two blocks. Teammate Kylie Frizell added eight points and five
rebounds but two other players only combined for eight points.

Smithville
closed out a great year at 25-2 but was outscored 11-3 in a key third quarter
run by the eventual undefeated state champions.

Smatana
Ineligible:

Brunswick quarterback and outfielder Jesse Smatana will be ineligible for
baseball season, reported the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Smatana’s
residency was questioned by the OHSAA and it was found that he broke the rule
concerning residency. He will now be unable to play baseball this spring.

Cirino
in at West G:

2002 West Geauga graduate Lou Cirino, an assistant the past several years, will
be the new football coach at his alma mater. The 26-year old Cirino also
attended and was a graduate assistant coach at Ohio State University.

ON TAP

Port
Clinton vs. Dayton Dunbar in Boys’ Division II State Championship at
Schottenstein Center, Columbus, Saturday, 2 p.m.:
Port Clinton is now 26-0
after just edging Zanesville with three seconds left. Dunbar beat a very good
Benedictine team.

Orrville
vs. Lima Central Catholic in Boys’ Division III State Championship at
Schottenstein Center, Columbus, Saturday, 10:45 a.m.:
Orrville is now 21-5
after edging Columbus Bishop Ready. The Red Riders got 13 points each from
Jacob Bolyard and Zach Wasson while Sam Miller chipped in 12 with a team-high
six boards.

Mentor
vs. Cincinnati Moeller in Boys’ Division I State Semifinal at Schottenstein
Center, Columbus, Tonight, 5:15 p.m.:
Mentor is in its first state tournament and is
led by the hot shooting of Cole Krizancic, Justin Fritts, Jaron Crowe and
Cameron Aloisio.

Moeller
is no stranger to the state tournament.

Gahanna-Lincoln
vs. Massillon Jackson in Boys’ Division I State Semifinal at Schottenstein
Center, Columbus, Tonight, 8:30 p.m.:
Led by Stevie Taylor and Rob Brandenberg with
19 points each, Lincoln shocked national high school leader Columbus Northland
71-45. Gahanna-Lincoln had never even won a district title.

Jackson
has hot shooting guards C.J. Julian and Brad DuPont to go with the inside duo
of Mark Henniger and Josh Egner.

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