Breaking Down the Division I Boys Basketball Brackets: Who We Think Wins

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Boys Basketball State Tournament Forecast

The 2012 Ohio High School Athletic Association Boys Basketball State
Tournament gets underway this week. There is no better time than now to
break down the brackets. We conclude with Division I.


 

BREAKING DOWN THE D-I BRACKETS

AKRON REGIONAL

Copley District:
Favorites: Stow and Brunswick           
Sleepers: Firestone, Nordonia, Walsh Jesuit, and Hudson
Our Pick: Stow

Grafton District:
Favorites: Westlake and Elyria       
Sleepers: Broadview Heights, Lorain, Avon, and Avon Lake
Our Pick: Elyria

Bowling Green District
Favorites: Mansfield Sr. and Findlay   
Sleepers: Norwalk, Mansfield Madison, Anthony Wayne, Perrysburg, Lima Sr., and Fremont Ross
Our Pick: Findlay

Toledo District
Favorites: Toledo CC, Toledo Whitmer, and Toledo St. John’s   
Sleepers: Toledo Rogers, Sylvania Southview, and Toledo Bowsher
Our Pick: Toledo Whitmer

Regional Analysis:
This isn’t the strongest of the four regions, but there are still some more than quality teams. At Copley, Stow and Brunswick should collide for a trip to the regional. Stow will be a tough out led by David Walker (Northeastern) and shooter Kyle Scelza. Brunswick is still very young, which is why we give Stow a slight edge. Keep an eye on Akron City League runner-up, Firestone along with Nordonia, Walsh Jesuit, and Hudson. We aren’t real sure what to make of Grafton’s site. Westlake and Elyria appear to be strong contenders here. Westlake is 17-2 and defeated Elyria back in early January, but Elyria has been close all year long along with playing some top notch teams like Mentor, Garfield Heights, and Brunswick. Lorain has also played quality competition and Broadview Heights, Avon, and Avon Lake will also be formidable. Bowling Green has a chance to be interesting. Mansfield Senior with its guard play led by junior Keon Johnson and Findlay with 6-11 CJ Gettys on the interior will be the favorites. Norwalk is currently 19-0 and has young talent, but plays mainly a DII schedule. Anthony Wayne is also solid with 6-9 junior Mark Donnal holding down the paint. Don’t sleep on Lima Senior despite its less than stellar record. Tyler White is capable of going off for 35-plus on any night, which makes them dangerous. Perrysburg is another well-coached team that is always a tough out. Toledo will likely come down to a three-horse race between Whitmer, St. John’s, and Central Catholic. Whitmer is probably the most complete team of the three, but St. John’s just got point guard Austin Gardner back to go along with Marc Loving (Ohio State) and Central Catholic has talent and great coaching under Jim Welling. Whitmer split with both St. John’s and Central Catholic. St. John’s split with Whitmer and lost its first meeting with CC. Central Catholic split with Whitmer, and defeated St. John’s the first time around. Central Catholic knocked off both teams en route to Columbus a year ago. 

Regional Picks:
*Stow over Elyria & Toledo Whitmer over Findlay
*Toledo Whitmer over Stow

CLEVELAND REGIONAL

Euclid District:       
Favorites: Mentor and Lyndhurst Brush   
Sleepers: Mayfield, East Cleveland Shaw, and Cleveland East Tech
Our Pick: Mentor

Alliance District:
Favorites: Warren Harding   
Sleepers: North Canton Hoover, Glen Oak, Uniontown Lake, and Akron Green
Our Pick: Warren Harding

Broadview Heights District:
Favorites: Lakewood St. Edward   
Sleepers: None
Our Pick: Lakewood St. Edward

Solon District
Favorites: Garfield Heights, Shaker Heights, and Cleveland Heights   
Sleepers: Cleveland St. Ignatius, Cleveland JFK, Kenston, and Bedford
Our Pick: Garfield Heights

Regional Analysis:
This is going to be fun, real fun. The Solon District is arguably the strongest of all districts in Ohio. Garfield Heights, Shaker Heights, and Cleveland Heights are all more than capable of making a deep tourney run, and teams like St. Ignatius, Cleveland JFK, Kenston, and Bedford are all looking to play spoiler. There are likely four teams that can win this district (Garfield, Shaker, Cleveland Heights, and St. Ignatius). Shaker recently got a big win over St. Edward, Garfield is getting elite play from junior Tony Farmer and the team is playing quality basketball, Heights just lost to a red-hot Canton McKinley team but recently blew out Shaker, and St. Ignatius is well-coached and defensive-minded. Don’t sleep on Cleveland JFK with Jordan Marrow, Anthony Howard, Savion Jefferson, Donte Lindsay, and Ra’mond Bell all possessing the capability of putting up big numbers. At Euclid, it should come down to Mentor and Lyndhurst Brush, which is beginning to become a yearly occurrence. Can Brush finally get over the hump? Alliance will have Warren Harding as its favorite, but don’t count out North Canton Hoover, Glen Oak, and Uniontown Lake. Harding has an abundance of talent and all the ingredients to make a deep run with size and length on the interior and guards that can fill it up. Lakewood St. Edward should roll through Broadview Heights for the most part as it has for several years now. Is Myles Hamilton capable of leading Ed’s much like Greg Avery did for Newark in 2008?

Regional Picks:
*Warren Harding over Mentor & Garfield Heights over St. Edward
*Warren Harding over Garfield Heights

COLUMBUS REGIONAL

Columbus 3 District:           
Favorites: Pickerington Central, Westerville North, and Newark   
Sleepers: Westerville South, Westerville Central, and Olentangy
Our Pick: Newark

Columbus 2 District:
Favorites: Walnut Ridge and Olentangy Liberty   
Sleepers: Upper Arlington and Gahanna Lincoln
Our Pick: Walnut Ridge

Columbus 1 District:
Favorites: Columbus Northland   
Sleepers: Reynoldsburg, Olentangy Orange, Thomas Worthington, Grove City, Zanesville, Davidson, Pickerington North and St. Charles
Our Pick: Columbus Northland

Canton District:
Favorites: Canton McKinley   
Sleepers: Canton Timken, Massillon Jackson, Massillon Perry, Barberton, and Akron Kenmore
Our Pick: Canton McKinley

Regional Analysis:
The Columbus Region should be very interesting. Columbus Northland is arguably Ohio’s best team regardless of division and most everybody’s odds-on favorite to bring home the title, but it will have some serious work to do to escape this region. Columbus 3 is the deepest of the three Central Districts. Pickerington Central, Westerville North, Newark, and Westerville South are all worthy contenders and don’t sell Westerville Central and Olentangy short. Pickerington Central has enjoyed quite an athletic year thus far, and Caris Levert (Ohio University) will look to lead the Tigers to regional play. Westerville North suffered a huge early season blow by losing star Jack Gibbs, but the Warriors turned things around finishing with 16 wins led by juniors Jaylen Benton and Adrian Cook and seniors Taivion Thomas and Matt Rhodes. Newark is a dangerous team with its style of play. The Wildcats are a well-schooled team with shooters, hard workers, and great coaching. Westerville South is another candidate led by Isiah Rogers, Marcus Ball, and Stephen O’Daniel. Columbus 2 will likely come down to a deep Walnut Ridge team and Olentangy Liberty. Though, Upper Arlington and Gahanna Lincoln will also be in the mix. Ridge has just one loss on the year (Northland), and possesses the talent, size, and depth to make a deep run. Liberty has the kind of team made to garner tournament wins. Jake Bischoff is one of the better lesser known players in Central Ohio. Columbus 1 should go the way of Northland. It won’t be easy for anyone to match up with Devon Scott and Jalen Robinson on the interior not mention the ability of Jordan Potts to lead a team as well as any player in the state. Wing Ke’Chaun Lewis could be the x-factor for whether the Vikings cut down the nets following the season’s last game. This year, unlike year’s past, will see the Canton District winner join the Central champions after several years of being linked with the fifth Cincinnati region. There will only be four Cincinnati regions this year. Canton McKinley is the favorite at this point. The Bulldogs are peaking at the right time led by outstanding senior Devaugntah Williams. Canton Timken, Massillon Jackson, Massillon Perry, Barberton, and Akron Kenmore will look to challenge the Bulldogs.  

Regional Picks:
*Newark over Walnut Ridge & Columbus Northland over Canton McKinley
*Columbus Northland over Newark

CINCINNATI REGIONAL

Dayton 2 District:           
Favorites: Walnut Hills, Cincinnati Princeton, Winton Woods, and Middletown   
Sleepers: West Hight, Lake East, Northwest, and Sycamore
Our Pick: Cincinnati Princeton

Dayton 4 District:
Favorites: Cincinnati Moeller   
Sleepers: Beavercreek, Lakota West, Turpin, Xenia, and Wayne
Our Pick: Cincinnati Moeller

Dayton 3 District:
Favorites: Mason and Cincinnati Withrow   
Sleepers: Centerville and Springboro
Our Pick: Mason

Dayton 1 District:
Favorites: Cincinnati La Salle   
Sleepers: Fairfield, Colerain, Northmont, Troy, Butler, and Fairborn
Our Pick: Cincinnati La Salle

Regional Analysis:
For the first time in a long time, Cincinnati will only have four districts instead of five. Regardless, this region will be wide open. At Dayton 2, Walnut Hills, Princeton, Winton Woods, and Middletown all have a chance to advance. Walnut Hills is a junior-laden team led by 6-9 junior Isaiah Johnson. Princeton has no stars, but Deion Isham can get it done offensively and De’Arius Young should be able to neutralize Johnson if a match up with Walnut Hills were to occur. Winton Woods may still be a year away with juniors Trent Donald and Kwan Cheatham spear-heading the attack and Middletown has a nice one-two combo in senior Geovonie McKnight and sophomore Vincent Edwards. Dayton 4 should see Moeller advance, but Beavercreek, Lakota West, and Turpin are all ready to challenge. Moeller is yet to play its best basketball, which could be bad news for everyone else. Junior Josh Davenport and senior Ben Galemmo will lead the way, but in order for the Crusaders to make a deep run seniors Tony Sabato (Elon) and Alex Voss will be key. Lakota West is dangerous because of Monty Boykins ability to score and for the same reason Turpin with sophomore Zach McCormick. At Dayton 3, Mason and Withrow should battle it out for a spot in the regional, but Centerville and Springboro won’t go lightly. Mason has a nice three-headed monster in Darin Harris, Michael Van Kleunen, and JD Srague, while Withrow counters with juniors Devin Williams and Tim Coleman. Springboro will certainly be a tough out with 6-10 junior Maverick Morgan in the middle. Cincinnati La Salle should be the team at Dayton 1, but don’t sleep on Fairfield. La Salle has been a definite surprise after losing five of its top six scorers from last year’s state championship team. The Lancers get it done led by senior Josh Lemons, great defense, and phenomenal coaching under Dan Fleming. Don’t be surprised if La Salle and Moeller meet for a third-straight year in the regional championship. Moeller was victorious in 2010 and La Salle triumphed last season.  

Regional Picks:
*Cincinnati Moeller over Princeton & Cincinnati La Salle over Mason
*Cincinnati Moeller over La Salle

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STATE TOURNAMENT PICKS

*SEMIFINALS: Warren Harding over Toledo Whitmer & Columbus Northland over Moeller
*FINALS: Columbus Northland over Warren Harding

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