When we wrote this introduction a year ago, we most likely would have
told you to scrap history and pick Columbus Northland in D-I. Guess what? We
would have been wrong. There is no Northland (one dominant) this year, though, so who are the top teams among Ohio’s big schools? Northland is one of them but the Vikings have plenty of company…
When we wrote this introduction a year ago, we most likely would have
told you to scrap history and pick Columbus Northland. Guess what? We
would have been wrong.
The Central District, since the four division inception in 1988, has
yet to win three-straight. With Newark winning in 2008 and Northland
following in ’09, history told us the winner wouldn’t come from Central
When looking at Division 1 we were able to pinpoint nearly 70 teams,
which should have good years with around 15 squads, which should be
outstanding. Unlike last season, there is no super team like Northland
was a year ago.
To us, March will come down to one of the following teams: Cincinnati
LaSalle, Cincinnati Moeller, Huber Heights Wayne, Westerville South,
Columbus Northland, Gahanna Lincoln, Warren Harding, Lakewood St.
Edward’s, Garfield Heights, Mentor, Toledo St. John’s, and Toledo
Honestly, since the turn of the century only one year were we
completely fooled and that being 2004 with Hamilton capturing the gold.
So, for the sake of not being fooled we will list 13 sleepers:
Cincinnati Withrow, Lakota East, Trotwood-Madison, Upper Arlington,
Walnut Ridge, Canton McKinley, Canton Timken, Cleveland Heights, Bowling
Green, Toledo Bowsher, Shaker Heights, Dublin Coffman, and Pickerington
Okay, it is time for the meat potatoes. Who are the serious title
History tells us Cincinnati Moeller has won the state championship
every four years since winning its first in 1999 (’03 and ’07). Since
the state tournament will be held in 2011 this must mean Big Moe’ is
bringing home the bacon.
Need more proof? Perhaps this fact will sell you on Moeller. The
Southwest District won five of the first 12 D-I state championships
followed by winning four of the next 11. If history repeats itself, the
SW will win in 2011 making it 10-of-24.
The only thing holding us up on Moeller is the fact that to win the
D-I state championship the trends says the team must have a D-I
basketball prospect in either the junior or senior classes. At this
time, the Crusaders don’t have a solid D-I prospect in the Classes of
2011 or ’12.
Cincinnati LaSalle, Huber Heights Wayne, and Cincinnati Withrow look
to be our other options out of the Southwest and all have D-I prospects
Let us throw this curve ball into the mix, the Northeast Lakes
District has won each of the last state titles with the year ending in a
one (1991- Cleveland VASJ and 2001- Cleveland St. Ignatius). We could
go even further to make it a Cleveland team.
If this is the case, Mentor, Lakewood St. Edward’s, Garfield Heights,
and Cleveland Heights will be our best options.
The Central has won two of the past three championships, but only four
in all since 1988. However, we will play closer attention to recent
history which tells us the Central has a lot of talent right now. Of the
four gold’s, the Columbus City League has won two and the Ohio Capital
Conference has the other two.
Thus far, the Central has developed a state title pattern of OCC,
City League, OCC, and City League. If this pattern remains constant,
Westerville South, Gahanna Lincoln, Upper Arlington, and Dublin Coffman
would be our best bets out of the OCC. Though city league teams win
during odd years (’03 and ’09), and 2011 is an odd year. If so,
Northland, Walnut Ridge, and Marion-Franklin would be the picks.
The Northeast Inland District brought home last year’s crown with
Massillon Jackson hoisting the hardware giving the Inland District its
third title in six years with Canton McKinley going back-to-back in ’05
and ’06. Ironically, those are its only titles in D-I.
Warren Harding, if you were to put stock in a Northeast Inland team,
would be the best bet followed by Canton Timken and Canton McKinley.
For the fans with teams coming from the Northwest District, we won’t
say anything is impossible, but a NW team hasn’t won a D-I state
championship since 1990 with Toledo Scott as part of back-to-back
championships with now defunct Toledo Macomber in 1989. Toledo St.
Francis DeSales won the big school title (AAA) in 1983, but prior to
that, 1948 (Findlay) was the last NW Ohio team to win the big school
Northwest Ohio’s best shot for a state title in D-I this century came
in 2004 when Toledo St. John’s was upset by Hamilton. The Titans
started three D-I commitments in Brian Roberts, Zach Hillesland, and BJ
Raymond yet came up short. Other than the Scott and Macomber titles, NW
Ohio has only played for four titles with St. John’s in ’04, ’96, and
’93 and Lima Senior with Greg Simpson in ’92.
The East and Southeast are only comprised of two teams with
Tri-Valley (East) and Logan (Southeast). Both teams are placed in the
Central District where their chances are slim. This isn’t a knock, but
rather reality. The East won a D-I state championship in 1995 with
Zanesville, while the Southeast has never won a D-I gold. With a
declining population in those two parts of the state and zero teams
located near a major metropolitan area this isn’t shocking. Over the
years, the East District had Zanesville, New Philadelphia, East
Liverpool, Dover, and Tri-Valley all in D-I at one time or another. Now,
just Tri-Valley remains after being in D-II for several years.
We are very much looking forward to following Division 1 this year,
to say the least, with so many teams in contention.
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DIVISION I PRESEASON POWER POLL
1. Cincinnati LaSalle
2. Cincinnati Moeller
3. Columbus Northland
4. Huber Heights Wayne
5. Lakewood St. Edward’s
6. Warren Harding
8. Westerville South
9. Toledo St. John’s
10. Gahanna Lincoln
Next Five: Toledo Central Catholic, Garfield Heights,
Cincinnati Withrow, Toledo Bowsher, Ceveland Heights
Trey Burke (6’1/Sr.), Columbus Northland
Aaron Thomas (6’5/Sr.), Cincinnati Withrow
Travis Trice Jr. (6’0/Sr.), Huber Heights Wayne
Traevon Jackson (6’2/Sr.), Westerville South
Trey Lewis (6’2/Sr.), Garfield Heights
Cole Krizancic (5’11/Sr.), Mentor
Stevie Taylor (5’9/Sr.), Gahanna Lincoln
Brandon Neel (6’3/Sr.), Cincinnati LaSalle
Aaron White (6’8/Sr.), Strongsville
Robert Davis (6’2/Sr.) , oledo Bowsher
Brian Sullivan (6’0/Sr.), Upper Arlington
Leroy Alexander (6’2/Jr.), Holland Springfield
Markus Crider (6’6/Sr.), Huber Heights Wayne
Tre’ Brown (6’5/Sr.), Warren Harding
Kenny Kaminski (6’7/Jr.), Medina
La Salle (22-3, lost in the Regional Final)
Head Coach: Dan Fleming (21st Year)
League: Greater Catholic League
Fun Facts: 1996 D-I State Champions
Returning Starters: Brandon Neel (6’3/Sr.), Ryan Fleming (6’3/Sr.), Trey
Casey (6’1/Sr.), Matt Woeste (6’0/Sr.), and Josh Lemons (5’10/Jr.)
Other Returnees: Mike Schmidt (6’3/Sr.), Brett Wiebell (6’1/Sr.), Chris
Rodriguez (Jr.), Tyler Vogelpohl (Jr.), and Kole Porter (5’11/Sr.)
OHSH on Cincinnati La Salle: To say Cincinnati La Salle has been
close the past two would be an understatement. The Lancers have been to
the regional final the past two seasons only to fall short on both
occasions. La Salle fell short to Princeton (64-60) in ’09 and archrival
Moeller (48-41) a season ago. In both contests, the Lancers were in
control but couldn’t seal the deal.
Will 2011 finally be the year? We think so. Coach Dan Fleming won the
1996 state title at La Salle and 15 years later he could be hoisting
the hardware again. The Lancers return all five starters off last year’s
(22-3) campaign. La Salle’s three setbacks, two of which came to
Moeller, were by a combine 13 points.
The Lancers use an eight-to-nine man rotation with frantic subbing
and a helter-skelter style of play. La Salle will once again play eight
or nine with no player over 6-foot-3. Though, if they shoot the
basketball well and get the tempo into a frantic pace, it can neutralize
its lack of size. We don’t see any reason why they won’t be able to do
that once again. Many believe it’s nearly impossible to win a state
title at the D-I level with this style of play, but we beg to differ. La
Salle may prove it for us this season.
Leading the group of returnees is D-I prospect Brandon Neel (15.3
ppg./4.9 rpg.) and Northern Kentucky commit Ryan Fleming (10.2 ppg./5.0
The other returning starters are Matt Woeste (7.3 ppg.), junior Josh
Lemons (9.4 ppg.), and Trey Casey (5.4 ppg.) along with sixth man
Michael Schmidt (5.9 ppg.).
It will be interesting to see which way the top-seed in Cincinnati
goes this year whether they will jump in the Columbus Regional bracket
or stay in Southwest Ohio. Last year, everyone stayed away from
Northland and remained in SW Ohio but will that be the case this year?
It’s hard to tell.
Wherever La Salle chooses to go, it will have an excellent chance of
making a run to Columbus. Perhaps, they will try Columbus since they
have come up short in Cincinnati. Though, the familiarity of the teams
is a positive as much as it’s a negative to staying close to home.
Look for the Lancers and Moeller to slug it out for the GCL South
title once again.
Moeller (22-5, State Runner-Up)
Head Coach: Carl Kremer (21st Year)
League: Greater Catholic League
Fun Facts: State Championships: 1999, 2003, and 2007
Returning Starters: Charlie Byers (5’11/Sr.), Alex Barlow (6’0/Sr.), and
Shaquille Jinks (6’1/Sr.)
Other Returnees: Cody Wacker (5’10/Sr.), Hayden Frey (6’5/Sr.), Tony
Sabato (6’7/Jr.), Ben Galemmo (5’10/Jr.), and Alex Voss (6’5/Sr.)
Newcomers: Josh Davenport (6’3/So.) and Keith Watkins (5’10/So.)
OHSH on Cincinnati Moeller: There can’t be a conversation about the
Division 1 state championship and not mention Cincinnati Moeller. Coach
Carl Kremer’s Crusaders have won three state championships (1999, 2003,
and 2007) in the past 12 years and played for another (2010) along with
reaching the semis in 2005.
No one has enjoyed more success in the past 12 years. As we stated
earlier, Moeller has an ongoing pattern of winning a championship every
four years. With Big Moe’s last title coming in ’07 this season would be
four years since the last gold.
After being taken behind the woodshed in last year’s title game by
Massillon Jackson, the Crusaders will certainly be back with vengeance.
The Crusaders needed overtime to beat an outstanding Mentor squad in the
semis and appeared spent in the finals against the Polar Bears.
The Crusaders return four of their top six scorers including three
starters. Charlie Byers (12.6 ppg.), Alex Barlow (5.9 ppg./5.3 rpg.),
and Shaquille Jinks (6.2 ppg.) return to the starting line up with
sharp-shooter Ben Galemmo (7.1 ppg.) looking to play a bigger role.
Moeller will be replacing 6-foot-9 Griffin McKenzie (Xavier) and
catalyst Josh Morelock.
We know this, no one will have any tougher (physically) guards than
Moeller with Byers, Barlow, and Jinks. None are over 6-foot-1, but all
play like they are 6-foot-5 and will fight you until the game’s final
Moeller won’t have great size, but they will have good size. Tony
Sabato (6’7), Alex Voss (6’5), and Hayden Frey (6’5) won’t light up the
scoreboard but they should provide solid rebounding and defense on the
Senior Cody Wacker returns and watch out for sophomores Josh
Davenport and Keith Watkins. Davenport has the potential to be the best
prospect in Moeller’s fabulous history. We look for him to emerge as a
budding star by season’s end.
Northland (23-1, lost in the Regional Final)
Head Coach: Satch Sullinger
League: Columbus City League
Fun Facts: 2009 D-I State Champions
Returning Starters: Trey Burke (6’1/Sr.), Ke’Chaun Lewis (6’4/Jr.), and
Jordan Potts (5’11/Jr.)
Other Returnees: Jalen Robinson (6’8/Jr.), Lavante Justice (5’11/Sr.),
Jakyl Cornley (6’2/Sr.), and Devon Scott (6’8/Jr.)
Newcomers: Roberto Pierre, Lequan Williams, and Jaylen Benton
OHSH on Columbus Northland: For the people who don’t follow
basketball all-year, they may think Northland will be falling on hard
times which couldn’t be any further from the truth.
After last year’s shocking ending at the hands of Gahanna Lincoln,
look for Northland to come back more focused than ever.
On paper, no one will have a more talented starting line up than
Northland led by arguably the hardest working player in the state in
Trey Burke (15.1 ppg.). The Michigan signee has improved substantially
every year, and look for an even better Burke this season. The savvy
point guard, who always seems to be under control, is one of the best
big game players in Ohio. Burke loves taking and making the big shot. He
will be a candidate for Mr. Basketball.
Burke will be joined by four juniors in the starting line up and all
are D-I prospects. Guards Jordan Potts and Ke’Chanun Lewis return to the
starting line up and look for both to break out this season. Potts has
trimmed way down and Lewis is as good as he wants to be.
In the paint, Jalen Robinson (6’8) and Devon Scott (6’8) may emerge
as the best low post combination in the state. Robinson brings the
finesse, skill, and great foot work, while Scott brings the power,
physical play, and ever-improving skill set. Robinson recently
de-committed from West Virginia but both are drawing heavy D-I interest.
Off the pine will be left-handed three-point specialist, Lavante
Justice along with scrappy Jakyl Cornley. Look for sophomore Jaylen
Benton to have a break out season as well.
Heights Wayne (20-3, lost in the District Final)
Head Coach: Travis Trice
League: Greater Western Ohio Conference
Fun Facts: (2) Division 1 Commits on this team
Returning Starters: Travis Trice (6’0/Sr.), Markus Crider (6’6/Sr.),
Keith Clements (5’9/Jr.), Isiah Boddie (6’2/Sr.), and Jason Bitsko
Other Returnees: Justen Hollins (6’3/Sr.), Malcolm Pittman (6’6/Jr.),
and Marcus Bonner (6’2/Jr.)
Newcomers: Ryan Gabbard (6’4/Jr.), Crisshawn Clark (6’0/So.), and Juan
OHSH on Huber Heights Wayne: Wayne’s season ended a year ago with
more controversy than a week in the National Football League. Two of
Wayne’s main players were suspended during the tournament due to
ineligibility issues, and the team consequently fell apart in its game
against Cincinnati St. Xavier in the district final.
Without question, Wayne was one of the more talented teams in Ohio
last year. It was the last team to beat Massillon Jackson, and it did so
inside the Schottenstein Center at the Play-by-Play Classic in January.
The Warriors welcome back Michigan State signee, Travis Trice Jr.
(22.0 ppg./4.3 apg.). The senior has improved his overall game over the
past year maybe as much as anybody. He was mainly known as a skinny kid
with the ability to catch fire from distance. Trice has gotten stronger
and more athletic, which has helped him become a more complete player.
Trice will be in the conversation for Mr. Basketball along with
Northland’s Trey Burke and Withrow’s Aaron Thomas. Look for Trice to
challenge for the state’s leading scorer as well.
Trice will be joined by Providence commit, Markus Crider (14.1
ppg./8.1 rpg.). Crider is the x-factor for the ultimate outcome to
Wayne’s season. He has the ability to average 20 points and 12 rebounds
per game, but his fabulous ability doesn’t always translate into
production. If Wayne can get Crider to play with a sense of urgency for
32 minutes, the sky is the limit.
Trice and Crider will be joined by returning starters Isiah Boddie,
Keith Clements, and Jason Bitsko.
Boddie (5.7 ppg.) is a solid perimeter defender with the ability to
average double figures. Clements (6.3 ppg.) is a solid point guard with
the ability to get after the other team’s point guard on defense.
Look for Malcolm Pittman (6’6), Justen Hollins, and Marcus Bonner to
play bigger roles this season. Pittman has a chance to bust out. Junior
Ryan Gabbard is a newcomer along with talented sophomore Crisshawn Clark
and emerging freshman Juan Ford.
St. Edward (20-5, lost in the Regional Final)
Head Coach: Eric Flannery (16th Year)
Fun Facts: 1998 D-I State Champions
Returning Starters: Delbert Love (6’1/Sr.) and Myles Hamilton (6’2/Jr.)
Other Returnees: Mike Newton (5’11/Jr.), Jake Lorbach (6’6/Sr.), Kyle
Pisco (5’11/Sr.), Elijah Brown (6’2/So.), Mike Mason (6’6/Jr.), Mark
Murray (6’3/Jr.), James Crawford (5’11/Jr.), and Kevin Seaman (5’11/Sr.)
Newcomers: Chris Jones (6’2/Jr.), Zahkir Hillmon (6’5/So.), Kevin
OHSH on Lakewood St. Edward: St. Edward hasn’t been able to catch a
break over the past three or four years, but we would be hard-pressed to
find anybody to feel sorry for the Eagles considering they garner some
of Northeast Ohio’s top players on a yearly basis.
In 2007, St. Ed’s had a prime opportunity to win a state title but
fell short against a less talented but game Moeller team in a very
physical state semifinal contest. Though, nothing was going to deny the
Eagles a championship in ’08 with the return of Delvon Roe (Michigan
State), Tom Pritchard (Indiana), Frankie Dobbs, Conor Tilow, and Mike
However, after a furious start, Roe went down with a season ending
knee injury. Though, Ed’s still found a way to make the state
championship game before losing to upstart, Newark.
Now, 2011 was supposed to be the year of the Eagles once again but
6-foot-9 senior James Price (Louisville) decided to transfer to
Jefferstown HS (KY) to be closer to Louisville leaving a void in the
Don’t feel sorry for Ed’s, as it will be just fine with the return of
senior Delbert Love (14.4 ppg.) and junior Myles Hamilton (11.9 ppg.).
Love scored in Ed’s last state tournament game in ’08.
The Eagles will welcome back junior point guard Mike Newtown, who
missed much of last year with an injury. Newton has D-I potential.
Senior guard Kyle Pisco also returns along with Elijah Brown. Brown is
the son of former Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coach, Mike Brown. James
Crawford and Kevin Seaman should provide depth as well.
On the interior, Jake Lorbach and the ever-improving Mike Mason will
be the key to how far this Ed’s team goes. Sophomore Zahkir Hillmon will
be ready in early February. Hillmon is the nephew of former Ed’s star
and current Cavalier, Jawad Williams. Mark Murray should be in the mix
Not only will the Ed’s bigs be replacing Price, but also Matt
Stainbrook (Western Michigan) who may have been its best player a year
The Eagles will welcome newcomers Chris Jones, Kevin Craighead, Kevin
Boyer, and freshman Tyler Herron (6’8). Herron is arguably the top
prospect in Ohio’s Class of 2014.
Also, keep an eye on freshman Marsalis Hamilton (6’3) and Tony
Vuyancih (6’3). It may be hard for them to get on the floor this season
with all of Ed’s depth, but these two along with Herron will be the core
of some very talented teams down the road. Hamilton is the younger
brother of Myles.
Harding (18-5, lost in the District Final)
Head Coach: Steve Arnold
League: Lake Erie League
Fun Facts: State Semifinalist: 1966 and 2009
Returning Starters: Jesse Hardin (5’9/Jr.) and Tre’ Brown (6’5/Sr.),
Other Returnees: Shaheed Davis (6’8/Jr.), JD Parker (6’2/Sr.), Rashid
Gaston (6’7/Jr.), Quenten Jackson (6’2/Sr.), and Delshawn Bell (6’4/Jr.)
Newcomers: Craig McFerrin (6’7/Sr.) and Mik’quan Dorsey (6’2/So.)
OHSH on Warren Harding: Snakebitten! This pretty much sums up Warren
Harding’s past two seasons. Two years ago, in the midst of an
outstanding year, Sheldon Brogdon went down with a season ending injury.
A year ago it was star player Angel Gonzalez falling victim to the
season ending injury coupled with guard Fred Williams being dismissed
from the team.
Coach Steve Arnold’s unit is back with another loaded squad, and
without question, the key will be staying healthy.
It’s hard to fathom the Raiders being a top team 10 again this year
considering the talent they lost to graduation. Gonzalez, Williams,
Kennis White (Western Michigan), Oneal Brown, and Dominique Murray have
Two starters return in Tre’ Brown (Cleveland State) and Jesse Hardin.
Brown is one of the most underrated players in the state, and we look
for him to really take off this year. He has the talent and ability to
be a 1st Team All-Ohio performer.
Brown and Hardin will be joined by 6-foot-8 junior Shaheed Davis,
6-foot-7 junior Rashid Gaston, JD Palmer, Quenten Jackson, and Delshawn
Bell. Davis is a high-major prospect who oozes with potential, but
unlike most high-ceiling kids, this youngster is impacting the game
The biggest impact could come from newcomer, Craig McFerrin (6’7),
who has moved to Ohio from Louisiana where he attended Christian Life
Academy in Baton Rouge. McFerrin is another D-I prospect who has the
ability to dominate the paint for the Raiders with his physical style of
play and big body.
On a side note, the Raiders have joined the Lake Erie League this
season which means they will tangle with Mentor twice, Shaker Heights
twice, Euclid twice, and Cleveland Heights twice. This should be a very
(23-4, lost in the State Semifinals)
Head Coach: Bob Krizancic
League: Lake Erie League
Fun Facts: Made the regional 7 of last 10 years
Returning Starters: Cole Krizancic (5’11/Sr.), Justin Fritts (6’0/Jr.),
and Matt Solden (6’2/Sr.)
Other Returnees: Danny Wallack (5’10/Jr.), Jeff Foreman (6’3/So.), Tom
Strobel (6’6/Jr.), Derek Bryner (6’2/Sr.), and Cody Kern (6’3/Sr.)
Newcomers: Colin Barth (5’11/Sr.)
OHSH on Mentor: The Mentor Cardinals went on a magical carpet ride
last season, which ended in the state semis to Cincinnati Moeller a game
it could have very easily won.
The Cardinals were a bit of an unknown to most of the state outside
of their area, and it’s really hard to believe with all the success they
have enjoyed over the past 10 years. They have been quietly mounting up
wins over the past 10 seasons making seven regional appearances in that
Mentor arrived on the state scene following a victory over Massillon
Jackson in San Diego (CA), but even more so than that win was its wild
win over a very good Warren Harding team at the Scholastic Play-by-Play
Classic held at Cleveland State.
Mentor senior Cole Krizancic erupted for 42 points in the win and
became a state-wide name. As a junior, the Ashland commit averaged 25.7
points per contest.
His back court mate, Jaron Crowe (18.0 ppg.), has graduated so
replacing him was going to be an issue until Colin Barth (18.0 ppg.)
decided transfer over from Olmsted Falls. Barth will fit Mentor’s
run-and-gun style to a tee. He has committed to play at D-II Wheeling
Krizancic and Barth will be joined by returning starters Justin
Fritts (13.7 ppg.) and Matt Solden (7.3 ppg.). Krizancic, Barth, and
Solden all were regulars on the AAU circuit with TNBA and Friends 4
Krizancic will be in the conversation for Mr. Basketball and should
challenge for the state’s leading scorer.
Barth will likely average more than Crowe did a year ago, but the
question is how will he mesh with the team. Crowe was not only a good
scorer, but he was tough, played solid defense, and was the glue to the
Fritts, a solid lefty, should once again average doubles and look for
Solden to play more of a prominent role this season. He should be in
double figures as well.
The dangerous thing about this Cardinal team is their ability to have
four kids able to score 15-20 points on any given night.
They will have some size with football star Tom Strobel (6’6), but
they will need to replace the hard-working Cameron Aloisio.
Mentor also welcomes back Danny Wallack, sophomore Jeff Foreman,
Derek Bryner, and Cody Kern. The Cardinals should have quality depth
with the possibility of Foreman really stepping up.
South (22-1, lost in the District Semfinals)
Head Coach: Ed Calo (24th Year)
League: Ohio Capital Conference- Cardinal
Fun Facts: 2009-2010 Undefeated Regular Season
Returning Starters: Traevon Jackson (6’2/Sr.), Isiah Rogers (5’8/Jr.),
and Ben Jones (5’11/Sr.)
Other Returnees: Marcus Ball (6’2/So.), DeMarkeo Lyshe (5’9/Sr.),
Stephon O’Daniels (5’11/Jr.), Jaren Edwards (6’0/Sr.), and Donnie
Newcomers: Daryl Long (6’4/Fr.), Matt Chellis (6’4/So.), David Asiedu
OHSH on Westerville South: Westerville South will be one of the more
exciting teams in the state, and it all starts with head coach Ed
Calo’s commitment to excellence.
We would be hard-pressed to find a team that works harder in practice
and games then South. They lack size, but it makes up for it with
attention to detail, aggressive defensive pressure, and being in better
shape compared to its opponent.
With no player over 6-foot-2, the Wildcats found a way to finish the
regular season unbeaten a year ago before losing to a very good Columbus
Marion-Franklin team in the district semis. It should be noted South’s
star player, Traevon Jackson (Wisconsin) spent more than half of the
game against Franklin on the bench in foul trouble.
Jackson (20.2 ppg.), who returns for his senior season, is the center
piece of another excellent team. The lefty’s ability to penetrate and
create for others is what makes South’s team go from good to great.
Jackson has improved his shot from both behind the arc and mid-range. He
is also solid on defense, which is South’s calling card.
Jackson will be joined by returning starters junior Isiah “Zeke”
Rogers and Ben Jones. Rogers had a good sophomore year, but expect him
to be even more of a factor this season. He does a good job of
controlling the tempo, making open shots, defending, and making winning
plays. Jones has a flare for the dramatic. He is a streaky shooter who
can get in rhythm and knock down big shots.
Marcus Ball returns for his sophomore season after enjoying a very
productive frosh campaign. Ball, who is South’s quarterback on the
football team, never seems to get rattled regardless of the situation.
According to the coaching staff, he has looked really good thus far in
the preseason. Ball is a high energy type player.
DeMarkeo Lyshe, Stephen O’Daniels, Jaren Edwards, and Donnie
Fitzgerald return to make up a solid bench for the Wildcats.
Also, look for freshman Daryl Ball (6’4) and Matt Chellis (6’4) to
make an impact.
St. John’s (19-6, lost in the Regional Final)
Head Coach: Ed Heintschel
League: Toledo City League
Fun Facts: State Runner-Up: 1993, 1996 and 2004
Returning Starters: Cheatham Norrils (6’0/Sr.), Zach Steinmetz
(6’4/Sr.), and Marc Loving (6’7.5/So.)
Other Returnees: Nick Felhaber (6’1/Sr.), Trent Brodbeck (6’5/Jr.),
Brogan Roback (6’2/So.)
Newcomers: D.J. Bonds (6’0/Jr.), Jeff Copeland (6’4/Sr.), and Austin
OHSH on Toledo St. John’s: Toledo St. John’s is always in the
discussion concerning top Ohio teams, and this season will be no
different. The Titans were three points away from making their seventh
trip to the state tournament following a (52-50) setback to eventual
state champion, Massillon Jackson.
St. John’s has three state runner-up finishes, and it can be argued
it is the best program in Ohio without a boy’s basketball state
This season the Titans welcome back three starters including arguably
the state’s top sophomore in Ohio State commit, Marc Loving (6’7.5).
Seniors Cheatham Norrils and Zach Steinmetz are the other returning
starters. Both Norrils and Steinmetz are still playing football, and at
this point, it’s hard to say when they will be available for action.
Loving (12.8 ppg.) will look much different to many this season. A
year ago his mega talent didn’t always translate into production.
However, over the past year, the light has come on. Loving put on a
clinic similar to a poor man’s Kevin Durant at the Ohio State Team Camp
this past summer, which showed us a side to him we had yet to see. If
this Loving shows up for the Titans this year, look out.
Shooter Nick Felhaber returns along with junior Trent Brodbeck and
talented sophomore Brogan Roback. Brodbeck and Roback (QB) are on the
football team as well.
Junior DJ Bonds, who is a member of the football team, should help
provide depth for the Titans along with heady sophomore guard, Austin
Perhaps the biggest impact could come from newcomer Jeff Copeland
(6’4). The senior comes over from Toledo Start and should make St.
John’s an elite team as opposed to a good team.
Lincoln (26-1, lost in the State Semifinals)
Head Coach: Tony Staib
League: Ohio Capital Conference
Fun Facts: Beat No. 1 team in the country, Northland, 71-45 last season
in regional final
Returning Starters: Stevie Taylor (5’9/Sr.)
Other Returnees: Jamel Morris (6’1/Sr.), Brien Winston (6’1/Sr.), Jordan
Martin (6’1/Sr.), Brandon Smith (6’5/Sr.)
Newcomers: Trey Warr (6’4/Sr.) and Aaron Jackson (6’4/So.)
OHSH on Gahanna Lincoln: Gahanna Lincoln was the toast of the state
on March 20, 2010 when they blitzed the country’s No 1 team, Columbus
Northland (71-45). The Golden Lions were able to spread the floor,
execute to perfection, and knock down a high percentage of shots in
dismantling mighty Northland.
Don’t be misinformed that was a great Gahanna Lincoln team with three
Division 1 guards. Though, this team will be a little bit different,
but with the electric Stevie Taylor (Ohio) returning Gahanna has a
chance to be very good once again.
The Golden Lions ran the table in the regular season a year ago
before being knocked out in the state semis by Massillon Jackson.
Gahanna didn’t shoot the ball nearly as well against Jackson, and from
first hand account they were out-played in all aspects of that game.
Jackson was able to play fast as well and dominated the paint with Josh
Egner and Mark Henninger.
Most figured the Lions to be a bit down this year, but following a
terrific Ohio State Team Camp those thoughts started to fade. Gahanna
won the Friday and Saturday sessions against some of the state’s top
Taylor (16.9 ppg.) will be the team’s only returning starter, but
they have plenty of kids with experience. Regardless, look for Taylor to
steal the show on most nights with his flare for the dramatic. Nobody
loves the crowd more than one of the state’s most exciting players in
Taylor. His outside shot has improved and has become very consistent,
which is going to make him almost unstoppable. He is the kind of player
who can make you look silly if you play him too close.
Look for Jamel Morris to have a breakout year. The lefty has a silky
smooth stroke with the ability to knock down shots. He should be a big
weapon for head coach Tony Staib’s Lions.
Brien Winston and Jordan Martion should also emerge as household
names by season’s end.
Brandon Smith started sparingly a season ago, and he will have to
really step up this season in trying to man down the post. He will have
help from talented sophomore Aaron Jackson (6’4). Jackson plays
extremely hard, but more importantly he plays with a purpose. He could
sprout up as a go-to-guy for the Lions.
Newcomer Trey Warr (6’4) should provide a huge lift for Gahanna.
Central Catholic (20-3, lost in the District Final)
Head Coach: Jim Welling (3rd Year)
League: Toledo City League
Fun Facts: Won first Toledo City League Championship in 44 years last
Returning Starters: Drew Lehman (6’1/Sr.)- 12.1 ppg., Ben Dent
(5’10/Sr.), Tony Mays (6’4/Sr.), and Domingo Muniz (6’3/Sr.)
Other Returnees: Jay Marquette (6’4/Sr.), Chris Boles (6’3/Sr.), CJ
Bussey (6’2/So.), Deonte Cole (6’4/So.), Keith Towbridge (6’4/So.), Nate
Harris (6’5/Fr.), and DeShone Kizer (6’4/Fr.)
Newcomers: Darion Jones (6’6/Sr.)
Key Losses Nate Hobbs
Heights (15-8, lost in the District Semifinals)
Head Coach: William “Sonny” Johnson
League: Northeast Ohio League
Fun Facts: Head Coach was 1998 Mr. Basketball at Garfield Heights
Returning Starters: Trey Lewis (6’2/Sr.)- Penn State signee- 21.3 ppg.,
Tony Farmer (6’7/So.), Mike Davis (6’2Jr.), Jermaine Davis (6’9/Jr.),
and Mike McQueen (6’6/Sr.)
Other Returnees: Terrill Byrd (5’11/Jr.), Kenny Simpson (5’11/Jr.),
Richard Parker (6’1/So.),
Newcomers: David Wright (6’0/So.), Doran Phillips (6’0/Sr.), Marquis
Withrow (8-13, lost in the Sectional Final)
Head Coach: Tyrone Gibert (1st Year)
League: Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference
Fun Facts: 1994 D-I State Runner-Up
Returning Starters: Devin Williams (6’7/So.)- 11.9 ppg./10.7 rpg., Kevin
Jones (6’4/Sr.)- 10.0 ppg./5.6 rpg., Carl Porter (6’6/Sr.)- 12.4
ppg./7.4 rpg., and Rozelle Nix (6’9/Jr.)
Other Returnees: Damon Gooch (5’10/Jr.), Will Gordon (6’2/Jr.), and Mark
Newcomers: Aaron Thomas (6’5/Sr.)- Florida State- 21.9 ppg./7.4 rpg and
Tyler Jordan (6’4/Jr.)
Bowsher (9-11, lost in the Sectional)
Head Coach: Joe Guerrero (1st Year)
League: Toledo City League
Fun Facts: Dennis Hopson- Bowling Green Assistant and former Ohio State
Buckeye star is a Bowsher alum
Returning Starters: Robert Davis (6’2/Sr.)- 25.7 ppg. and Mookie
Mustafaa (6’4/Jr.)- 10.0 ppg.
Other Returnees: None
Newcomers: Toledo Libbey transfers Lonacy Utley (6’6/Sr.)- 10.7
ppg./12.0 rpg., Milan Mabry (6’4/Sr.)- 10.0 ppg., Maurice Birdsong
(6’4/Sr.)- 9 ppg./7 rpg., and Delvin Williams (6’4/Sr.)- 8.0 ppg./4 rpg.
with Toledo St. Francis DeSales transfer Khari Dailey (5’6/Jr.)
Heights (16-6, lost in the Sectional Final)
Head Coach: Barry Egan (5th Year)
League: Lake Erie League
Fun Facts: 1997 D-I State Champions
Returning Starters: Tyree Gaiter (5’5/Jr.)- 11.2 ppg./4.3 apg./3.8 spg.
and Sam Collins (6’5/Sr.)- 9.1 ppg.
Other Returnees: Kevin Clark (6’7/Jr.)- 3.1 ppg. and Najeeb Johnson
(6’0/Jr.), Cody Martin (6’6/Sr.)- 6.2 ppg./9.8 rpg as a sophomore, and
Aaron Ashley (6’5/Sr.)- 8.6 ppg as a junior
Newcomers: Maurice Ofield (6’4/So.)- 13.2 ppg./9.1 rpg at NDCL as a