2013-14 Ohio HS Boys Basketball Overview: What To Expect
By Kurt Stubbs (JJHuddle Senior Writer)
When the dust settled on the 2012-’13 Ohio boy’s basketball season, two first-time winners were crowned, along with a pair of multi-time champions.
Last season concluded with the Mentor Cardinals overcoming the odds to capture its first state championship under long-time boss Bob Krizancic, who previously won gold at Girard in 1993. The Cardinals outlasted perennial powers North Canton Hoover and Shakers Heights in regional play before knocking off previously unbeaten Columbus Northland and upstart Toledo Rogers to earn the school its boy’s basketball state championship.
In Division II, Columbus Bishop Watterson brought home a state title in the school’s first appearance at the boy’s basketball state tournament. The Eagles avenged their only loss of the season to Columbus Brookhaven in the district championship before ousting two very good teams in Sandusky Perkins and Lima Bath in regional action. Watterson came into the state tournament, a heavy underdog according to most basketball heads, but the Eagles obviously weren’t listening as they took down teams with a combine nine state championships in Kettering Alter and Akron SVSM.
Ottawa-Glandorf obtained its third state gold since 2004. Interesting to note, all three have been under the tutelage of a different head coach. Tyson McGlaughlin, an OG graduate, became the third Titans coach to do so after leading his alma mater to the final four in 2012. OG’s road to gold was not enviable having to beat rival Lima Central Catholic, Bloom-Carroll, Ironton, and eventually Versailles.
In Division IV, Cleveland VASJ secured its fifth boy’s basketball state championship after dismantling Ohio’s small school competition. The Vikings didn’t have a game closer than 20 points in the tournament, but the good news for DIV teams is St. Joe’s will be moving to Division III.
Looking ahead to this season, the landscape in Ohio has changed a bit with the new enrollment figures moving some pertinent teams up and down in respective divisions. For some schools it’s a breath of fresh air and means to new beginnings, while for others it will be a new, harsh reality.
Division I should be in for another solid season. In Ohio’s largest division, the field is usually wide open with a number of solid basketball outfits competing for a chance at a coveted state title.
However, in all situations, there are a few favorites and DI is not without its frontrunners. Columbus Northland returns all but one players from last year’s one-loss team, while perennial powers Lakewood St. Edward, Cincinnati Moeller, Shaker Heights, Gahanna Lincoln, Pickerington Central, Huber Heights Wayne, Garfield Height, Mentor, Cleveland St. Ignatius, and Mansfield Senior are just a few schools looking to be heavy in the mix.
Division II should have plenty of fun as well with defending champion Bishop Watterson returning nearly its entire roster outside of two kids and state runner-up Akron SVSM not only returning plenty, but benefitting from two terrific transfers. DII newcomer Norwalk will also be in the shuffle after bumping down from Division I. The Truckers currently hold a 43-game regular season winning streak. Dayton powers Dunbar and Thurgood Marshall are ready to return to Columbus along with Cleveland aces Central Catholic and Benedictine. Southeast Ohio should have a trio of dandies in Vincent Warren, Athens, and Logan Elm, while Northwest Ohio counters with Elida, Sandusky Perkins, and Lima Bath. We would be remiss not mentioning Columbus Brookhaven and sleepers Cincinnati Hughes, Toledo Rogers, Cincinnati Taft, Cleveland John Hay, and Bishop Fenwick.
Division III will be as good as we can remember. The additions of VASJ, Warrensville Heights, Dayton CJ, Bishop Hartley, Van Wert, St. Clairsville, and St. Henry make DIII’s field as talented as ever when you combine those squads with regulars Roger Bacon, Lima CC, Versailles, Beachwood, Liberty-Benton, Summit Country Day, Dayton Stivers, Ottawa-Glandorf, and Leavittsburg LaBrae. It should be quite a year in Ohio’s often forgotten division.
Division IV is still up in the air. There isn’t a ton to go off of considering VASJ steamrolled the competition a season ago. There appears to be a handful of pretty good teams, but after those five or six, the Buckeye state’s smallest sector is a complete mystery. Look for Convoy Crestview, Columbus Africentric, Berlin Hiland, Ottawa Hills, Tri-Village, Troy Christian, and Maria Stein Marion Local to be some of the early candidates for title contenders.
The excitement is certainly in the air with Ohio’s football playoffs in full swing, and when that is the case, basketball aficionados know the hoop season is quickly approaching. It should be another exciting year in the Buckeye state, more so than in recent years, with the return of several veteran teams from a season ago. When you look down the list of teams returning its core group from last year, the numbers quickly add up. That should be make for some serious competition in an already sports crazed state.