If you are a high school basketball fanatic living in Northeast Ohio or
anywhere in the state for that matter, you don’t want to miss the
Play4Cancer Shootout presented by Time Warner Cable Sports Channel this
Saturday at Massillon Jackson High School.
If you are a high school basketball fanatic living in Northeast Ohio or anywhere in the state for that matter, you don’t want to miss the Play4Cancer Shootout presented by Time Warner Cable Sports Channel this Saturday at Massillon Jackson High School.
Shootout director Chas Wolfe has put together a stellar 10-team field filled with top teams, players, and traditions. Wolfe, who also directs the Dunk4Diabetes Shootout held in January at Walsh University, is excited to about the line up.
“We feel this this one of, if not the best tip-off events in the State of Ohio,” Wolfe believes. “Where else can you see two recent state champions (Pickerington Central 2012 & Massillon Jackson 2010) play in the same event and not to mention Lakewood St. Edward, Cleveland VASJ, Westerville North, and company to top it off.”
The event tips at noon with Medina and Elyria squaring off in a rematch of a regional semi-final contest from a year ago.
Senior Billy Geschke (6’1) leads Medina; also keep an eye on 6-foot-8 freshman John Teske. Kody Bender, a West Liberty University commit, leads Elyria. Junior Isaiah Walton (6’3) is another kid to watch as Wolfe thinks this kid is a real sleeper.
Game 2, which is scheduled to tip at 2 p.m., features Division I Massillon Washington meeting Division III Beachwood.
Sophomore Jordan Stock (6’4) has paced the Tigers thus far scoring 31 points in a victory on Tuesday night. Gareon Conley (6’1/Sr.) is another Massillon player to watch. Conley is an Ohio State football commitment. Junior Johnny Davis leads a very good Beachwood squad. Davis is drawing Division 1 interest. Freshman Ronald “RJ” Jones Jr. (6’2) is another good-looking prospect.
Pickerington Central will face Brunswick in the 4 p.m. contest pitting two of the better Division I teams in Ohio. Each team has a lost a game in the early going, but that should not take away from what should be an entertaining match up.
Jae’Sean Tate (6’5/Jr.) is the headliner for the Tigers. Tate has already committed to Ohio State and is rated amongst the Top 60 in the country by ESPN. Classmate Connor Kern (6’3) is a lights out shooter. The lefty has committed to Wheeling Jesuit University. Taco Charlton (6’7/Sr.) is also currently playing for Pickerington Central until he departs for Ann Arbor to play football for Michigan. Brunswick counters with junior guard Ryan Badowski (6’3) along with Zach Parker (6’3/Jr.), Kyle Wheeler (6’5/Sr.), and Taylor Armagost (6’7/Sr.).
One of the more attractive games of the day features Division IV power Cleveland VASJ against Division I heavyweight Westerville North. The 6 p.m. tip should attract a large crowd.
Cleveland VASJ is loaded with Division 1 talent including senior Demonte Flanningan (6’7), senior Duane Gibson (6’3), and sophomores Carlton Bragg (6’9), Brian Parker (6’2), and Derek Pardon (6’7). Flannigan is a Cleveland State commit, Gibson has pledged to Evansville, and Bragg is one of the most highly sought after prospects in the Midwest. Westerville North has plenty of talent as well with senior guard Jack Gibbs (5’11), and classmates Adrian Cook (5’11) and Jaylen Benton (6’1). Junior Alex Stewart (6’5) is a key cog in the middle. Gibbs has committed to Davidson.
In the nightcap, host Massillon Jackson will try its hand against powerful Lakewood St. Edward. The game is slated for 8 p.m. and should have an overflowing crowd.
Junior Evan Bailey, one of the better 2014 prospects in Ohio, leads Jackson along with senior guard Miles Griffin (6’3). St. Edward has a host of players starting with senior Tim Stainbrook (6’5), and juniors Tony Vuyancih (6’4) and Marsalis Hamilton (6’3). Junior guard Malcolm Walters (6’0) and sophomores Kipper Nichols (6’6) and Michael Ryan (6’5) can also get the job done.
“Our evaluation committee strongly feels the caliber of teams and talent from top to bottom makes this event very special and when you add in a dynamic basketball community like Jackson it makes for a packed house,” Wolfe declared.
In all, there will be four regional finalist, four district qualifiers, and two state tournament participants from last season.
The basketball will be spectacular, without question, but the 10 teams and five games are just a part of what is the main cause, which is raising money to fight the awful disease known as cancer.
“The event has been slowly manufacturing in my mind since the passing of long-time (Massillon) Jackson volunteer assistant Michael “Bygz” Bessler in May of 2011,” Wolfe stated. “Bygz, as his friends called him, was the salt of the earth and one of the most authentic people I have ever met.”
“When you do an event like this you really get to see doors open and mountains move with compassion from the community. Proceeds from this event are going towards the Bessler Scholarship Foundation and all leftover food to the Community Harvest of Stark County.”
The can’t miss event is just $10 to see all five encounters, but if you can’t make it out, Time Warner Cable will be taping all five games and replaying them throughout the weeks to come.
“We are very fortunate and excited to have Time Warner Cable Sports Channel as the presenting sponsor of this year’s Play4Cancer Shootout,” Wolfe relayed.