A Region-by-Region breakdown of Ohio’s top games, teams, players,
coaches and more…Everything you need to know about the upcoming high
school girls basketball season by the best experts in the business.
OGBR JJHuddle Girls Basketball Previews
National Guard OGBR JJH Girls Basketball D-III Preseason Power Poll
Division III Pre-Season Final 4 Predictions:
Anna, Columbus Africentric, Findlay Liberty Benton & Smithville
Division III Pre-Season Top 10 Team In-State Match-Ups:
@ Classic in the Country X January 19-21, 2013
Columbus Africentric vs West Holmes (D-II)
Proctorville Fairland vs Clinton Massie (D-II)
Orrville vs Reedsville Eastern (D-IV)
Other Notable In-State D-III Games between Top 10 Teams (all divisions):
Nov 27 St. Wendelin @ Liberty Benton
Dec 4 Anna @ Lima Bath (D-II)
Dec 8 Columbus Africentric @ Toledo Rogers (D-II)
Fort Loramie (D-IV) @ Miami East
Dec 15 West Holmes (D-II) @ Orrville
Dec 22 Miami East @ Anna
Dec 27 Anna @ Fort Loramie (D-IV)
Dec 29 Reedsville Eastern (D-IV) @ Fort Frye
Ottoville (D-IV) @ Liberty Benton
Jan 3 Zanesville Rosecrans (D-IV) @ Fort Frye
Jan 12 St. Joseph’s (WV) @ Fort Frye
Jan 17 Orrville @ West Holmes (D-II)
Jan 26 Columbus Africentric (D-III) @ Kettering Fairmont
Middletown Madison @ Anna
Jan 28 Lima Bath (D-II) @ Liberty Benton
Feb 4 Orrville @ Canton Central Catholic
Feb 7 Fort Loramie (D-IV) @ Anna
The Central/Eastern Region, the Southwest Region and the Northeast Region each has three teams in our pre-season Top 10. The Northwest Region is home to only one team in our pre-season Top 10 poll.
Division III this year can go one of two ways. While Division III has very good teams there are few in numbers especially outside of our pre-season Top 10. Because of this lack of quantity we could very well see all 4 teams from last year’s State Final Four return this year. The likelihood of this happening is greater in Division III than any of the other divisions. Likewise, with the competitive level of three of the four regions Division III could go the other way and there could be a whole new slate of teams in this year’s State Final Four.
Division III Central/Eastern Region Overview:
The Central/Eastern Region has the odds on favorite to repeat as state champion in Columbus Africentric, but this region also will be the toughest as three of the top five in our pre-season Top 10 poll are in this region.
No one in Division III can match the depth, the inside size and the perimeter quickness of Africentric. Inside the Lady Nubians have 6’2 Cincinnati signee Marley Hill, a top 25 player in Ohio’s senior class, and 6’3 move-in Alexa Hart, a top 50 prospect in America’s Class of 2014. On the perimeter there are no adjectives to describe Africentric’s quickness and depth. Juniors Sierra Harley, Kyra Jones, Darianne Seward, Ayrielle Stith and Alexis Parks and sophomores Dayunna Johnson and Dejanique Franks comprise a formidable backcourt. Africentric retrurns eight of its top nine and along with Hathaway Brown in D-II has the best shot at repeating its state championship run from a year ago.
Although Africentric is the odds on favorite to repeat in D-III, the Lady Nubians will have the toughest regional as The Cadets from down in Beverly along with the Fairland Dragons will have their voices heard and their game recognized before it is all said and done.
Like Africentric, Fort Frye returns eight of its top nine players from last year’s regional final four team where they dropped a well played game by 12 to the Lady Nubians. Led by a pair of senior all-state performers, Taylor Buchannon and Deidra Combs and the Liedtke Girls – Morgan (sr) and Megan (soph) – the Cadets can match Africentric’s experience and depth. Games against St. Joseph’s and Parkersburg South both out of West Virginia will give an indication if Fort Frye is prepared to handle the perimeter quickness and the size inside that Africentric is going to bring.
Proctorville Fairland is a bit of a long shot, but when you have the most dominant anchor in the region in Minnesota recruit 6’4 junior Terra Stapleton and a quality point guard in the likes of senior Chandler Fulks you have a shot on any given day. In a daydreamin’ moment if you could take the experience and depth of Fort Frye and add Fairland’s size (Stapleton) and quickness (Fulks) it would be one heckuva game with Africentric.
Division III Southwest Region Overview:
The Anna Rockets fueled by the competitive juices of senior Natalie Billings are the favorite from this region, which will be their third consecutive State Final Four appearance. To go along with Billings, Anna returns two other starters in senior guard Erica Huber and sophomore Cayla Bensman. All in all the Rockets return four of their top six from last year’s roster where they lost a heartbreaker to Africentric in OT 70-66. They say “before you can be a champion you first have to have your heart broken”; If this is the case don’t bet against Anna!
Although there are 2 other teams in our pre-season Top 10 from this region there is substantial separation between Anna at #2 and Miami East at #9 and the Olivia Philpot (jr)/Josey Harding (sr. Lincoln Memorial signee) led No. 10 Mohawks from Middletown.
Division III Northeast Region Overview:
Of the four D-III State Final Four teams from a year ago, Smithville will have the toughest challenge in repeating…not in their regional but in their district. Whoever wins the Canton District will be this regional’s representative in Columbus. The Smithies led by senior Kylie Frizzell return 3 starters from a year ago and four of their top seven and will be challenged as a they were a year ago in the district by the same two teams who both have D-I signees: senior Aaliyah Dotson of Canton Central Catholic (Florida Atlantic) and senior Hannah Plybon of Orrville (Akron). Worthy of note is the Red Riders from Orrville return eight of their top nine from last year’s runner-up team to Smithville.
Division III Northwest Region Overview:
With the emergence of sophomore Katie Simon as a top tier power forward prospect and the polished guard play of legit junior prospect Rachel Myers there is not a team that has come to the forefront that is expected to challenge the Liberty Benton Eagles from Findlay.
Teams that challenged LB a year ago (Metamora Evergreen, et al) were senior heavy where Liberty Benton returns four of their top six, all obviously with State Final Four experience.
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