The 2010 D-IV season came to a close with
Dayton Jefferson hoisting the gold trophy for the third time in history. Despite losing 6-foot-10 Adreian Payne
(Michigan State) and four other key players, the Broncos will look to become only the second squad to repeat in
D-IV since the four division inception in 1988. Who will challenge them?
The 2009-2010 Division IV basketball season came to a close with Dayton Jefferson hoisting the gold trophy for the third time in its history. With the win, it took graduating 6-foot-10 Adreian Payne (Michigan State) along with guards Irving Wood and Lamont Cole in addition to transferring Devin Foster and Cody Latimer choosing to sit out. Though, the remainder of the team will return intact looking to become only the second squad to repeat in D4 since the four division inception in 1988.
Columbus Wehrle won three-straight titles from 1988-1990, but nary a team has repeated since in D4. Prior to Wehrle, the last team to repeat in Ohio’s small school division was Dresden under head coach Jack Van Reeth back in 1963 and ‘64.
Division IV was the hardest division to predict a winner prior to last season, and once again, there is a plethora of teams looking to end Jefferson’s reign.
Transfers have changed the landscape in D4 with two high profile prospects leading the way.
Berlin Hiland, a team with high hopes regardless, received a special gift in early August with the arrival of Strasburg-Franklin transfer Seger Bonifant. The 6-foot-6 junior, Bonifant, earned 3rd Team All-Ohio honors as a sophomore at Strasburg. Bonifant will join with AAU teammate Dylan Kaufman at Berlin Hiland to form the best one-two punch in small school Ohio basketball.
Lockland improved greatly with the addition of Dontonio (DJ) Wingfield Jr., who as a freshman averaged nearly 18 points per game at Cincinnati Country Day. The 6-foot-4 sophomore, Wingfield, will certainly add star power to the Lockland line up. Wingfield will join fellow sophomore Dylan Wedlock to form one of the best young backcourts in the Miami Valley Conference.
Despite the transfer era, Northwest Ohio has found a way to dominate small school basketball in Ohio winning nine of the 23 Division IV state championships. Though, they have won just one championship since 2004 it was total dominance early in the 2000s. NW Ohio won four-of-five titles from 2000-2004.
Once again, there is plenty of depth in NW Ohio with several teams looking to be in the mix for state supremacy. No district is deeper than NW Ohio when it comes to small school basketball. We expect big things from likes of McComb, Columbus Grove, Kalida, Continental, and Leipsic along with Midwest Athletic Conference components Minster, Delphos St. John’s, New Knoxville and Maria Stein Marion Local.
One thing to keep an eye on is the East District. This district can only claim one D4 state championship coming back in 1992 when Berlin Hiland was able to get by Gates Mills Gilmour Academy led by the sensational Junior Raber and the late, great head coach Perry Reese. Could this be the year they do it again? Well, there is certainly a good chance with Hiland and Zanesville Rosecrans expecting big things over the next two to three years.
One district has never won a D4 state championship on the floor despite dominating the big school ranks. Northeast Ohio has yet to win a D4 title, though; Cleveland Heights Lutheran East is listed as the 2005 winner after Columbus Africentric was forced to relinquish its winnings due to an ineligible student athlete. Is this the year for NE Ohio? Bedford Chanel is its best shot, but its slim pickings after the Firebirds.
No matter what, it will once again be a fabulous year filled with surprises galore. We will sit back and watch it unfold. In the meantime, we can just speculate. Here is a look at all you need to know to get you ready for the 2010-2011 season.
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DIVISION IV PRESEASON POWER POLL
DeVonta Brooks (6’5/Sr.), Bedford Chanel
Dunning (6’2/Sr.), Harvest Prep
Dylan Kaufman (6’4/Jr.), Berlin
Mason Roth (5’11/Sr.), McComb
Blake Blevins (6’6/Sr.),
Luke Kohls (6’4/Sr.), Columbus
Jake Phillis (5’10/So.), Zanesville Rosecrans
(6’6/Jr.), Berlin Hiland
Grant Harris (6’1/Jr.), Harvest Prep
Wingfield (6’4/So.), Lockland
Travis Tucci (6’5/Jr.), Malvern
(6’3/Sr.), Dayton Jefferson
Juan Gay (6’2/Sr.), Dayton Jefferson
Tayala (6’1/Sr.), McDonald
Prep (19-5, lost in District Final)
Head Coach: Mike
Thornton (5th Year)
League: Mid-State League Cardinal Division
Facts: Thornton guided Prep to the state finals in 2007
Starters: Shakir Dunning (6’2/Sr.), Grant Harris (6’1/Jr.), Eric Brown
Other Returnees: Adam McCall (5’10/Jr.), Dresan Mathis
(6’5/Jr.), Kenny Robinson (5’11/So.)
Newcomers: Dominique Cartier
(6’3/So.), KeJuan Skinner-Byrd
OHSH on Harvest Prep: The Warriors will be good, but we aren’t sure how good at this point. This may be a bit too high for the Prep, but it’s hard to look past the talent and abilities of Dunning and Harris especially at the D4 level.
HP lost two transfers in Geron Tate (Warrensville Heights) and Doug Richey (Eastmoor) along with JQ Austin graduating. All three losses will hurt. Then, Adam McCall transferred to Walnut Ridge just weeks ago. McCall is a very good player, but this will give Robinson and Skinner-Byrd a chance to shine.
We really thought Dayton Jefferson and Harvest Prep were the two best teams in D4 last season, and the Broncos proved it but the Warriors were upset by Columbus Tree of Life in the district final. Jefferson was able to beat Prep at the Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic in Columbus, but the state championship game rematch never came to fruition. Though, the two play once again this season in what should be a very good regular season match up possible state tournament preview.
Kenny Robinson should have a breakout season and look for Dresan Mathis, Dominique Cartier, and Kejuan Skinner-Byrd to step up. The real key will be the play of Eric Brown in the paint. Brown will have to give Prep a legitimate force in the paint.
Prep “should” storm through conference play with possible resistance coming from Grandview Heights and Fisher Catholic. A run to the regional and state tournament is certainly within reach, but it can’t be caught looking ahead.
Berlin Hiland (18-5, lost in District Semifinals)
Coach: Mark Schlabach (6th Year)
League: Inter-Valley Converence
Facts: Won 1992 D-IV State Championship
Returning Starters: Dylan
Kaufman (6’4/Jr.), Noah Boyd (6’7/Sr.), Luke Burch (5’11/Jr.), Brandon
Conn (5’9/Sr.), Jalen Miller (6’1/Sr.)
Other Returnees: Chaise Gerber
(Jr.), Jason Miller (5’10/Jr.), Neil Gingerich (6’5/Jr.)
Seger Bonifant (6’6/Jr.), Cody Gerber (5’11/Jr.), Cameron Miller
OHSH on Berlin Hiland: According to head coach Mark Schlabach, the Hawks underachieved last season. Honestly, we thought the Hawks would finish right where they did with a loss to Shadyside.
The Hawks jumped out to a huge lead in the district semi-final game against Shadyside, but the veteran Tigers stormed back in the 2nd half to advance.
The Hawks were relatively young a season ago despite returning one of the best D4 players in the state, Dylan Kaufman. The 6-foot-4 junior will return once again coming off a sophomore campaign where he averaged 18.9 points per game. However, this season he will be joined by Strasburg-Franklin transfer Seger Bonifant (17.7 ppg.).
Bonifant, a 6-foot-6 junior, will join the Hawks after earning 3rd Team All-Ohio honors a season ago. Bonifant and Kaufman are teammates on the AAU circuit with Team CBIZ.
In addition to Bonifant, the Hawks return basically six kids with starting experience. Kaufman along with 6-foot-7 sharp-shooter Noah Boyd, talented guard Luke Burch, Braden Conn, Chaise Gerber, and Jalen Miller all started at some point last year.
Two others kids saw minutes a year ago in Jason Miller and Neil Gingerich. Also, look for Cody Gerber and Cameron Miller to add depth to an already deep outfit.
We would be hard-pressed to find a better trio of players at the D4 level in regards to Kaufman, Boyd, and Bonifant, which is why we are very high on the Hawks. However, the one concern we have is what Schlabach mentioned when talking about a lack of quickness. How would they perform against the quicker teams like Bedford Chanel, Dayton Jefferson, and Harvest Prep? Only time will tell.
Hiland’s district should be very good with Zanesville Rosecrans and Malvern primed for big seasons. Rosecrans is our preseason No. 4 team and Malvern is in that 11-15 range. The schedule will also be brutal, but it should have the Hawks ready for the tournament.
In the end, it should be Hiland, Rosecrans, and Malvern battling it out for the district with the winner meeting Bedford Chanel down the road in the regional.
Zanesville Rosecrans (14-9, lost in District Final)
Coach: Todd Rock (19th year)
Fun Facts: 1997
D-IV State Runner-Up
Returning Starters: Jake Phillis (5’10/So.),
Zack Hill (6’3/Jr.), Zak Kirkbride (6’6/Jr.), Aaron Parry (6’6/Jr.)
Returnees: Jared Dalton (6’0/Jr.), Drew Hill (6’1/Sr.), Ian Durant
OHSH on Zanesville Rosecrans: The Bishops have the making of a dynamite team in 2010-2011 with the return of four starters, including three two-year starters. The graduation of mainstay Josh Kohler will hurt, but look for athletic, junior Jared Dalton to step into the fifth spot. Dalton’s older brother, Joe, was an All-Ohio performer on the hardwood for Rosecrans.
Sophomore Jake Phillis (12 ppg.) will be back for his second year at the starting point guard position. Phillis is a smooth and savvy operator with the ability to take over a game. Before it’s all said and done his name should rank in Rosecrans lure with the likes of Joe Bills.
Zak Kirkbride (12.1 ppg.) has grown almost three inches since last year, but remains at the two-guard spot. The junior will likely be the tallest and longest wing in the state in D4.
On the interior, juniors Aaron Parry and Zack Hill should have a field day against opponents. Parry (14.2 ppg.) is a big-bodied bully in the paint.
The Bishops are also expecting a transfer from Tri-Valley to play a key role in the mix this season along with Ian Durant and Drew Hill.
The scary thing about Rosecrans is this team is built for another two or three years. The only issue is Berlin Hiland is as well. Both teams will be trying to battle out of the Byesville District along with a talented Malvern squad.
Rosecrans, an underdog of sorts, was one buzzer-beater missed shot away from making the regional tournament last season. They should be back in the district final again this year depending on how the bracket sets up, but what will the outcome be this time around?
Jefferson (17-10, State Champions)
Head Coach: Art
Winston (15th Year)
Fun Facts: Jefferson owns 3
Returning Starters: Joby
Jackson (6’3/Sr.), Dwight Johnson (6’1/Sr.)
Other Returnees: Juan
Gay (6’0/Sr.), Deontay Roberson (6’4/Jr.), David Prichett (6’4/Sr.)
Larry Harris (6’0/Sr.), Jalen Ware (6’2/Jr.), Davion Colter (6’0/Sr.)
OHSH on Dayton Jefferson: We had no hesitation to put Dayton
Jefferson No. 1 until we talked on the phone with Coach Winston. No, he
didn’t try to talk us out of it, but the news of Devin Foster leaving
was stunning. Recently, we found out this bombshell – star senior Cody
Latimer has decided not to play. This is a huge blow to the Broncos
considering the Indiana commit would have arguably been the most
dominating player in Division 4.
Foster, a 6-foot-1 junior,
moved to Louisiana where he will attend Comeaux High School. This is
also a big blow to the Broncos as we really felt Foster was going to
burst onto the scene after a sophomore year of averaging nearly 13
points per game. Now, the Broncos must find a way to replace the silky,
smooth lefty and the bruising Latimer (14.4 ppg.). Foster scored 22
points in the two state tournament games.
Yes, Michigan State
freshman Adreian Payne was a big reason for Jefferson’s success a year
ago but Latimer proved he was the glue and the man in Columbus. Latimer
proved to be a man amongst boys scoring 11 points and grabbing nine
rebounds in the semis, while tallying 24 counters and 12 boards in the
championship. Latimer missed two shots in the semis and just one (a dunk
attempt) in the finals.
Small forward Joby Jackson will
certainly help ease the pain after averaging 12 points per contest as a
junior. The lefty had some big games a year ago, and will once again be
called upon to provide scoring punch and leadership.
The other returning starter is Dwight Johnson (7.3 ppg.). He is steady and should be the full-time floor general this season.
Gay will likely be another starter. Gay provided a spark off the bench
last year after transferring over from Dayton Thurgood Marshall. He
scored 18 points against Bedford Chanel in the state semis. Look for Gay
to really breakout this year and perhaps take over the star role or at
least share it with Jackson.
The fourth and fifth starter will
likely be newcomer Brandon McDermott and David Pritchett. The latter was
ineligible and missed all of last season.
Jefferson will try
and plow through another demanding schedule, but being independent
really helps them come tournament time in D4. Jefferson, on the floor,
was (22-5) a year ago but was forced to forfeit five games due to an
ineligible player. The five losses on the court came from Dayton
Thurgood Marshall, Trotwood-Madison, Pine Crest (FL), Cincinnati
Woodward, and Middletown Madison.
Jefferson is certainly
talented enough to repeat, but will they be able to overcome the loss of
Latimer, Foster, and Payne? With the return of Latimer and Foster it
was a no-brainer, but the losses may be too much to overcome. We like
them, but not enough to have them at the No. 1 spot.
(17-5, lost in Sectional Final)
Head Coach: Aaron Roth
League: Blanchard Valley Conference
Fun Facts: Mason
Roth currently has 828 points
Returning Starters: Mason Roth
(5’11/Sr.), Andrew Dee (5’11/Sr.), Taylor Hanes (6’1/Sr.), Matt Newcomer
Other Returnees: T.J. Griffith (6’1/Sr.), Austan
Westenbarger (5’9/Sr.), Andy Bishop (5’11/Sr.), James Simon (5’11/Sr.)
Jerry Brown (5’10/So.), Dalton Buck (5’7/So.)
OHSH on McComb: McComb started the season (12-0) a year ago, but for
whatever went just 5-4 down the stretch. McComb enjoyed a first round
tournament bye, but exited in the sectional final following a 53-32
defeat to a red-hot Miller City outfit which won nine of its previous 10
heading into the game with the Panthers.
The fire will
certainly be there for the Panthers in 2011 after Aaron Roth (19.5
ppg.), Taylor Hanes (11.1 ppg.), and Andrew Dee (11.6 ppg.) enjoyed a
trip to the regional as sophomores. With nine seniors making up the
majority of the roster including four starters returning experience will
be a huge advantage for McComb.
With the exception of Columbus
Grove and possibly Toledo Ottawa Hills and Leipsic, no one in the
Northwest District (D-IV) will have as much experience as McComb.
Grove (15-7, lost in the Sectional Final)
Head Coach: Todd
Turnwald (5th year)
League: Northwest Conference and Putnam County
Facts: 2006 D-IV State Runner-Up
Returning Starters: Luke Kohls
(6’4/Sr.), Adam Bair (6’4/Sr.), Colby Meuleman (6’2/Sr.), Devin Verhoff
(6’0/Sr.), Jordan Travis (6’2/Jr.)
Other Returnees: Jordan Travis
(6’2/Jr.), Connor Kohls (6’2/Jr.), Wade Hefner (6’4/Jr.), Brett
Newcomers: Caleb Grothouse (6’3/Jr.), Dane
Stechschulte (6’3/Jr.), Aaron Vorst (6’2/Jr.)
OHSH on Columbus Grove: The Bulldogs are ready to jump back into the
state-wide spotlight once again with the return of all five starters
along with three others who saw plenty of playing time.
will not be a problem for Grove since four of the five starters have
now been starting for three years. It all starts with Northwest
Conference Player of the Year, Luke Kohls (13.3 ppg.). Kohls will be
joined by fellow seniors Adam Bair, Colby Meuleman, and Devin Verhoff
along with junior Jordan Travis.
The Bulldogs lost six regular
season games last year by a total of 42 points. The six setbacks came to
D-III state champion Lima CC, regional participants Miller City and
Kalida, D-III power Ottawa-Glandorf, and Delphos Jefferson and Ft.
Jennings who were also very good.
Grove met Kalida once again in
the sectional final, but fell for a second time.
once again play in the Northwest Conference along with the Putnam County
League, which means plenty of competition to get it ready for the
Last year, in D-III, Lima CC and Orrville just had
this feel about them before the season started which is the same feel we
are getting from Grove and McComb in D-IV. If the districts remain the
same, CG will be faced with challenge of getting by either Continental
or Kalida or possibly both to reach regional play. We believe they can.
Ottawa Hills (24-2, lost in the State Semifinals)
Coach: John Lindsay
League: Toledo Area Athletic Conference
Facts: 2010 D-IV State Semi-Finalist and John Lindsay is the reigning AP
Returning Starters: Andrew Jamieson (6’2/Sr.), Lucas
Janowicz (6’4/So.), JJ Buckey (6’1/Sr.)
Other Returnees: Bobby
Brunner (6’1/Sr.), Ian Trickey (6’0/Jr.), Jack Saddemi (5’10/Jr.), Matt
OHSH on Toledo Ottawa Hills: The Green Bears return plenty of talent
for this season, which should make Ottawa Hills fans very optimistic.
should be dominant in conference play, but as always, Northwest Ohio
will be cut-throat come tournament time.
Seniors JJ Buckey (10.9
ppg.) and Andrew Jamieson (11 ppg.) return to lead the Green Bears and
sophomore Lucas Janowicz (7.1 ppg.) is another year older. Senior Bobby
Brunner started in the state semis and brings back experience as well.
key for OH will be developing some depth and how well will the new guys
Ottawa Hills, if the districts remain the same, will
be tested by Monroeville, Toledo Christian, or Toledo Maumee Valley
Country Day. However, they would be favored in all three contests home,
away, or neutral at this point. Last year, its stiffest test came from
Norwalk St. Paul in the district finals (44-42), but the Flyers have
lost their top seven players.
We look for the Green Bears to
return to regional play with another shot at making the trek to
Bedford Chanel (14-12, lost in the State Semifinals)
Coach: Bernie Tarr (11th Year)
League: North Coast League
Facts: Won the 1999 D-III State Championship
DeVonta Brooks (6’4/Sr.), Anthony DeBaltzo (6’1/Sr.), Damon Jones
(5’11/Jr.), Tommie Williams (5’5/Jr.), Kyree Brewer (6’5/Jr.)
Returnees: Chris Hunnicutt (5’11/Sr.), Zarell Patton (5’5/Sr.), Tim
Dubbs (6’5/Sr.), Dan Bailey (6’1/So.), Andrew Pickard (5’6/Jr.)
Montell Goodwin (5’10/So.), Charles Miller (6’3/So.), Ishmael Hargrove
OHSH on Bedford Chanel: The Firebirds spent last year’s regular
season trying to break in plenty of new faces, and no one had visions of
grander come tourney time. Chanel entered the postseason with a (9-11)
record losing its final two regular season contests.
one told the Chanel players they would be a quick exit. Chanel upset
Richmond Heights, Dalton, and Lutheran East before battling back to take
Cortland Maplewood (OT) out in the regional and then the biggest upset
of them all upending unbeaten Shadyside. However, the miraculous run
would end in Columbus against a much more talented Dayton Jefferson
team. Jefferson took a liking to Chanel’s style and blew the Firebirds
out of the arena.
Chanel returns 10 of its top 11 players from
last season including talented sophomore Dan Bailey who missed the
tournament due to injury.
DeVonta Brooks returns to lead the
Firebirds after averaging 12.5 points and 10 rebounds a game last
season. Brooks scored 16 points and added seven rebounds in the state
semi-final contest. He finished with nine double-doubles on the year.
Firebirds set a school-record with 457 three-point field goal attempts a
year ago, but they were just 3-of-19 against Dayton Jefferson.
Debaltzo (12.0 ppg.) led the team with 44 triples, but was 0-of-5 from
behind the arc and 0-of-13 from the floor against Jefferson. Chanel was
7-2 when Debaltzo led the team in scoring.
The Firebirds will be
bombing threes once again this season with the return of Chris
Hunnicutt, Tommie Williams, Zarell Patton, Damon Jones, and Brooks and
Chanel has reached the district championship game in
each of last nine seasons making the regional five times and the state
tournament on three occasions.
Kalida (21-3, lost in the Regional
Head Coach: Richard “Dick” Kortokrax (36th Year)
Putnam County League
Fun Facts: Won the 1981 A State Championship
Starters: Kristopher Osterhage (6’3/Sr.), Logan Recker (6’1/Sr.),
Jeremy Kahle (6’2/Sr.)
Other Returnees: Ben Schroeder (6’5/Jr.),
Kevan Unverferth (6’1/Jr.), Drew Stechschulte (6’4/Jr.)
Paul Utendorf (5’11/Jr.), Tyler Kortokrax (6’1/Jr.), Cody Schnipke
OHSH on Kalida: The first thing we think of when writing about
Kalida basketball is head coach Richard “Dick” Kortokrax and why not.
Ohio’s all-time wins leader surpassed the 800-win mark in last season’s
21-3 regional runner-up campaign. The legend now sits with a career
record of 805-318 over his 50-year head coaching career.
will be year number 36 as the Wildcats boss where he is an astounding
580-218. Most remember Kortokrax almost being let go before the
2008-2009 season, and all he did that season was lead his squad to the
state finals before losing an epic double-overtime battle to Oak Hill.
any rate, the state championship was supposed to be his last game, but
with an outstanding freshmen bunch at the time he decided to come back
and the board approved. Those freshmen are now a deep, athletic junior
Optimism should be high once again for the reigning
Putnam County League (7-0) champions with three starters returning and a
group of eight talented juniors returning including three which
lettered last season as sophomores.
However, the Wildcats will
need to find a way to replace AP 2nd Team All-Ohio performer Jordan
Basinger (6’4). In addition, he was the PCL Player of the Year along
with scoring over 1,000 points, being a four-year starter, and owning
the boards for Kalida.
Also lost to graduation was second
leading scorer Mike Bockrath, who was the team’s leading three-point
shooter along with making plenty of hustle plays.
Kalida may be
looking for answers in the paint early with the absence of Basinger, but
once this team starts to gel and the juniors start gaining more and
more experience the sky is the limit.
The Wildcats return three
senior starters who should help to ease the transition in Kristopher
Osterhage, Logan Recker, and Jeremy Kahle. Juniors Ben Schroeder, Kevan
Unverferth, and Drew Stechschulte also lettered last season and played
Lockland (15-10, lost in the Regional Semifinals)
Coach: Paul Andrews
League: Miami Valley Conference
Made 6 straight regional appearances
Returning Starters: Mike
Other Returnees: Dylan Wedlock (6’0/So.), Avery
Barnes (6’6/Jr.), Sean Compton (5’9/Sr.), Milan Riddle (5’8/Jr.),
Yahavee Harris (6’1/Sr.), Darin Burnett (6’2/Sr.), CJ Brooksbank
Newcomers: DJ Wingfield (6’4/So.)
OHSH on Lockland: The Panthers are no stranger to tournament success
and over the last six seasons they have made the regional each season
with one state tournament appearance (2006).
can be attributed to several D1 castoffs, but regardless, what they have
been able to accomplish is admirable.
This year’s Lockland unit
will be formidable once again especially with the addition of
Cincinnati Country Day transfer, DJ Wingfield (17.7). The 6-foot-4
sophomore is a D1 prospect with plenty of talent. Wingfield’s father
played at the University of Cincinnati and in the NBA.
Panthers also welcome back sophomore Dylan Wedlock (7.0 ppg.) at point
guard and junior guard Mike Beasley (5.8 ppg.).
On the interior,
will be 6-foot-6 junior Avery Barnes (3.0 ppg.), but other than him the
inside looks rather small.
Lockland should be fine, but they
will have to replace Young (19.6 ppg.), and five others who accounted
for over 27 points per outing.