Ninth Annual Ohio Scholastic Play-By-Play Classic coming to Columbus this weekend

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The Ninth Annual Ohio Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic is this weekend at Capital University and Ohio State.

Lebron James played in this event! So did fellow NBAers Bill Walker, O.J. Mayo, Kosta Koufos, Derrick Brown, and B.J Mullens!  We can’t promise that any of the participants in this weekend’s 9th Annual Ohio Scholastic Play-By-Play Classic will make it to the “L,” but we can promise some darn good basketball…


TICKETS: Tickets are available on playbyplayclassics.com and at the door for both events, or for the Schottenstein event, by calling 1-800-GOBUCKS or ticketmaster.com

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Lebron James played in this event! So did fellow NBAers Bill Walker, O.J. Mayo, Kosta Koufos, Derrick Brown, and B.J Mullens!  We can’t promise that any of the participants in this weekend’s 9th Annual Ohio Scholastic Play-By-Play Classic will make it to the “L,” but we can promise some darn good basketball.

There are 4 great games at Capital University Saturday:

Dublin Coffman-Walnut Ridge 2:45
Gahana Lincoln-Chilicothe 4:30
Westerville South-Life Center NJ 6:15
Northland-Akron St Vincent St. Mary 8:00

There are 3 more great games on Sunday at the Schott!

12:15 Bishop Hartley-Canal Winchester
2:00 Roger Bacon-Teays Valley
3:45 Peebles-Fairfield

One of the highlights of the event is the first Columbus area appearance for Ohio State’s most highly regarded recruit, LaQuinton Ross, a senior star at Life Center (10-3). Life Center is coming off a national TV appearance and win over St. Mark’s (MA) at the Spalding HoopHall Classic in Springfield, MA on Sunday. Ross is a 6-7 small forward who can defend at every position and handle the rock, post-up, make jumpers, and drive the basketball o the cup. He is the next great small forward/big guard for Thad Matta in the mode of Evan Turner, William Buford, David Lighty, and DeShaun Thomas, all of whom played in this event.

“I’m just excited to be a part of Buckeye Nation, and I’m going to do everything I can to help the team to be successful,” said Ross, who hails from Mississippi and arrived at Life Center a year ago. He averages 25 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocks per game and is ranked in many lists as a top-10 player in the nation. Life Center also has four major Division I players in junior Andre Horne, Rashawn Cunningham, John Johnson (pittsburgh), and Jayson Johnson. John Johnson averages 21 points a game and  committed to Jamie Dixon and Pitt since the 10th grade.

“We can’t want for this trip,” said Johnson. “We want Ohio state fans to see their future star play, and we are excited for Q and ourselves.”

Coach Wilson Arroyo has built a powerhouse at Life Center and has beaten the likes of St. Anthony, St. Patrick’s, Trenton Catholic, and St. Benedict’s in past seasons. Life Center had a narrow 1-point loss to Oak Hill in 2009.

As talented as Life Center is, they probably will come in as the underdog Saturday, however. “We’re coming at a good time,” said Arroyo. “Q is playing like an All-American. We are all excited for him to have this chance to play in front of his future fans.”

Westerville South has won its last 37 regular season games. Yes, the last 37!!! The squad has already defeated Indiana’s Hamilton Southeastern, a top 5 state team, as well as Cincinnati Taft, another giant in Ohio, and is playing on all cylinders for the 3rd year in a row.

Traveon Jackson, the son of former Ohio State great Jimmy Jackson, is leading the way, averaging 17 ppg and 6 rebounds and 6 assists, providing a solid floor game. He is headed to Wisconsin on scholarship. the crafty lefty is not the only star however. Marcus Ball is an excellent rebounder; Isiah Rogers is a terrific assist man; Stephen O’Daniel and Ben Jones can bomb in threes, and Jaren Edwards is a beast inside.

As awesome as Westerville is playing, it may not be the best team from Ohio in this event. In fact, it may be the 4th best!

The Gahana Lincoln (10-0) vs Chilicothe (10-1) match-up, is one for the ages.

Chilliicothe has lost only to Bowman (IN) and is looking a lot like the team that won the Division II state championship in 2009.  Jaylen Ragland, a 6-6 swingman who is committed to UTEP, and junior MaLik London, are two stalwarts who can carry a team.

“Our guys are playing very well,” said coach Gary Kellough. “We are always excited to have the opportunity to be part of such a great event.”

Gahana Lincoln is currently 12-0. Last year, they were one of the best stories in the nation after sprinting to an undeafted season and knocking off the nation’s number one-team Northland in the Division I state playoffs before losing in the Final Four to eventual champion Jackson! The 71-45 win was the most shocking score in the nation last year, as Northland bad defated Oak Hill Academy and Findlay Prep already during the regular season and possesed probable first pick in the 2011 NBA draft Jared Sullinger.

All great teams have a floor general and Ohio U commit Stevie Taylor (17 ppg) is as good as they get at the high school level.  Jamel Morris and Trey Warr average 10.0 ppg.  Jordan Martin & Sophomore Aaron Jackson averaging 8.5 ppg.  Gahanna has a senior dominated team that has averaged 20 wins over the past 3 seasons.

Defensively, they are allowing only 42 ppg which has helped them to this 12-0 start to the 2010-11 season.

“We’re very pleased with our season so far,” said coach Tony Staib. “We’re obviously excited to play a team like Chillicothe and see if can keep the good play going.I love Capital’s gym,” Lions coach Tony Staib said. “It’ll be a good environment.”

Northland (10-0) is nationally-ranked again and though coach’s son Jared Sullinger is playing amazingly for Ohio State now, the team is still responding to coach James “Satch” Sullinger. Northland has a Ohio Player of the year candidate in Michigan bound Trey Burke, a returning starter from last year’s team that lost just one game, and from the 2009 state championship team.

Jalen Robinson is a junior forward who is coming into his own. Devin Scott and Jason Potts have stepped into new leadership roles for Northland and have done well.

St Vincent-St. Mary is the best 6-6 team on the planet. The Irish have played a brutal schedule that included losses to Dematha MD, Huntingdon Prep (WV) and Garfield Heights. But the Irish have also beaten Shaker Heights and Mentor.

“We have been up and down,” said coach Dru Joyce, who coaches Lebron James in his junior and senior seasons. “We have had trouble stopping scoring in the post but we have a lot of talent and our guys have responded with some enthusiasms and strong play. We are certainly excited for the chance to play Northland. They have been a trop program like us over the last few years and they are really good.”

Dublin Coffman vs. Walnut Ridge – After winning a Division I district championship and going 20-4 a year ago, Coffman was fourth in the ThisWeekSPORTS.com Super 7 for Jan. 10-16 despite having several new players in key roles. Senior guard Christian Heine is a four-year varsity player and key member of the team’s backcourt and senior guard Zack Riddle is averaging 17 points in his first season with the Shamrocks after transferring from Watterson.

Canal Winchester vs. Hartley – Two of central Ohio’s best Division II teams this season have been the Hawks and Indians, who were first and third, respectively, in the area coaches poll released Jan. 11.

Hartley, which snapped DeSales’ 50-game home winning streak with a 51-40 victory Jan. 7, is led by 6-6 sophomore post player Jacob Matuska and senior forward Kendal Sherrod.

Seniors Joe Collier (6-5 post player), Sam Jones (6-0 guard), Kyle Schriml (6-1 forward) and Michael Walker (5-10 guard) are among the top players for Canal Winchester.

“Kids enjoy playing at the (Schottenstein Center),” said Indians coach Kent Riggs, whose squad last competed at the Play By Play Classic in 2008. “It’s been a good experience for us over the years. Hartley’s playing really well right now, so we know we’ll have our hands full.”Teays Valley vs. St. Bernard Roger Bacon – Teays Valley opened by winning seven of its first eight games, holding opponents to an average of 40.5 points.

Senior Nate Anderson, a 6-9 post player and North Carolina-Wilmington signee, leads the Vikings. Other key players are Tyler Dresbach and Cole Bowling.

Roger Bacon was 7-3 at the mid-point of its regular season, with senior guard Paul Byrd (15.6 ppg, 4.3 rebounds) and 6-6 senior Jabriel Coaston (11.9 ppg, 4.7 rebounds) leading the way.

Fairfield vs. Peebles – Fairfield won six of its first nine games, as junior guard Jeff Woods led in scoring (9.7 ppg). The Indians have been holding opponents to an average of 46 points per game.

Peebles got off to a 6-1 start, with 6-2 seniors Andy Countryman and Blake Justice leading the way. Justice, a 2,000-point scorer, had 42 points in a 67-65 loss to Manchester on Dec. 28, and Countryman scored 29 in an 89-49 win over Chillicothe Southeastern on Dec. 3.

Walnut Ridge was first in the City League-South Division entering play last Tuesday and features one of the area’s biggest frontcourts. Senior Austin Traylor, a 6-foot-4 forward who has verbally committed to play football for Wisconsin, is averaging 19 points. Senior Dwayne Bazemore is a 6-10 post player.

“They’re just loaded with talent,” Collins said. “They’re the type of team we’ll have to play in the tournament, so it will be a good test for us.”

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