JJHuddle Boys Basketball Preview: Division IV


JJHuddle Boys Basketball Preview: Division IV

By Kurt Stubbs (JJHuddle Senior Writer)

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.


Northeast Ohio

Columbus Africentric (21-4)
The 2012-’13 season didn’t end quite the way head coach Michael Bates would have liked, in fact, it still pains him to this day to hear the name “Danville.”  The Nubians started the season with a loss to Division IV state champions, Cleveland VASJ, but expected to the see the Vikings again on the last day of the season.

However, Danville had other plans. The Blue Devils erased any hope of a state finals rematch with VASJ thanks to a (61-51) upset of the Nubians in the district championship.

Africentric left stunned, but the loss fueled them into the offseason (if there is a such a thing) and has the Nubians focused on one goal, winning a state championship.

The season had some definite highs with 21 victories and nearly ending Columbus Northland’s seven-year reign over the Columbus City League. Northland’s Jaylen Tucker tipped in a shot at the buzzer to beat Africentric (55-53) in overtime of the city league championship.

Bates is a great coach and he will play anybody, anytime, and any place. He will have this team prepared and ready to make a run towards the ‘Schott.’

“This is a very young group, but a very athletic, unselfish group,” Bates said. “The season will depend on how the young, inexperienced guards progress, but it should be an exciting season.”

First off, don’t be fooled by the youth, these kids have played a ton of basketball. The Africentric players have really developed over the past eight months during travel ball and showcases.

The list of returnees is headlined by junior jumping jack Jaquan Harrison (6’3). He is without a doubt one of the most exciting vertical athletes in Ohio. Harrison, who owns an offer from Bethune Cookman, was on the Nubians state semifinalist squad in 2011. He will make plays around the rim all night long, and his unorthodox jump shot is showing improvement.

Junior Ulmer Manzie (6’8) will hold down the middle for the Nubians. Manzie is a kid that hasn’t played much basketball in his lifetime, but the light is starting to come on. He has improved immensely over the past year coming off a sophomore season averaging better than 10 rebounds per game. Manzie also holds an offer from Bethune Cookman.

Senior Akil Cornish (6’0) is a kid that has been around for a while, and gives Africentric a player that can really stretch the defense with his ability to knock down shots. Cornish shot 46-of-91 from behind the arc a season ago.

Sophomore Houston Smith (6’4) should see plenty of minutes in his second season on varsity. Smith’s overall game continues to improve, but his main contributions this season will likely come from making athletic plays in the paint. Smith has serious bounce, and that may be an understatement.

Sophomore guard Lorenze Gordon-Haynes (6’1) is another youngster Bates will by relying on heavily until transfers Chase Brown (5’9/Jr.) and Shawon Wilson (6’2) become eligible following the game 11. Brown is a transfer from Columbus Whetstone and Wilson returns home following a one-year stint at Marion-Franklin. Both will be immediate impact players for the DIV favorite.

Africentric’s out-of-conference slate features Cincinnati Summit CD, Bloom-Carroll, John Glenn, Cincinnati Roger Bacon, Ironton, Coshocton, and Marion Harding.

Bottom Line: Bates will have this team focused and ready to go by tournament time. We don’t look for a repeat of last year. Barring something unforeseen, and those things happen quite often, the Nubians should return to the final four. In 2011, Africentric ran into a steam engine known as Cincinnati Taft, but there aren’t any teams of that caliber in DIV this season. Bates and company have an excellent chance of bringing the title back to 300 East Livingston Avenue if the young guys continue to progress, and we think they will.

Eastern District:

Berlin Hiland (20-6)
The Hawks went on a two-year run winning 54-of-56 games capturing back-to-back state championships in those years (2011 & 2012). Even the most old-school Hiland fan wouldn’t argue against those teams being the best in school history, a school with a rich basketball history.

Last season, was a year most teams were looking for payback with the Hawks losing 96 percent of their scoring and all five starters. Though, head coach Mark Schlabach proved why he is on the short list of best coaches in Ohio. Hiland found a way to win 20 games and return the district title game before exiting to Hannibal River.

If you didn’t get your payback it will likely be too late with Hiland returning its entire roster from last year’s 20-win club. Todd Ropp (6’2/Sr.) is back off a junior year averaging 14 points per game to lead the Hawks joining classmates Jordan Yoder (5’11) and Lucas Mast (5’10).

Juniors Eric Miller (5’10) and Collin Blochlinger (6’4) and talented sophomores Brady Schlabach (5’8) and Dennis Chupp (6’5) will round out Hiland’s top seven.

Hiland plays out-of conference games with rival West Holmes, Columbus Brookhaven, Danville, and Elyria along with its IVC slate.

“We overachieved last year with a very young team and flew under the radar most of the year,” Schlabach noted. “Now, the expectations are high for this group. It will be interesting to see if we can perform with the pressure of high expectations.”

Bottom Line: It will be interesting with the new set up in the Eastern District. For years, the New Philadelphia Sectional was significantly stronger than the Belmont Union Local site, but that will all change this year with the entire district being seeded. Hiland’s chances of advancing to regional play will be as good as any team in the district, but a possible third meeting with Malvern is possible. The Hawks were able to beat the Hornets on three occasions last season with two of the victories coming by a combine six points. Steubenville CC and Tuscarawas CC are other possible roadblocks for the Hawks. Schlabach hit the nail on the head in reference to his team flying under the radar a year ago, so it will be interesting to see if this team is really legit. We would be surprised if they aren’t.

Northeast District

Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas (16-11)
The Knights won their first district title since 2004 a year ago playing in Division III. Aquinas has dropped from a small DIII to a large DIV and will compete in the Struthers District with a chance to win back-to-back district titles.

The Knights, who lost to Beachwood (54-50) in a regional semifinal, may be the best team in the Canton Regional. Aquinas will play a daunting DIV schedule in hopes of taking the next step, which would be a trip to the state’s capital. Two games with Cleveland powers VASJ and Central Catholic headline the slate.

Do-it-all junior Anthony Moeglin (6’0) returns to lead a solid group of Knights. Moeglin averaged nine points, four rebounds, and four assists per game as a sophomore.

Senior Austin Hill (6’2) is the lead returning scorer totaling 10.5 points a night a season ago. Senior guard Sam Pusateri (5’9) totaled five points and four assists a game.

Newcomers Jacob Paul (5’9/So.), Frank DiMarzio (6’1/Jr.), Jim Donnelly (6’1/Sr.), Pete Ruthe (5’8/Jr.), and Gino Pellegrene (6’2/So.) will all be expected to fill pivotal roles.

Coach Matt Hackenberg, who is in his second season, watched his club set a school-record for points given up a season ago.

“Our goal is to win a district championship,” Hackenberg stated. “We want to push the pace of the game and control tempo.”

Bottom Line: Hackenberg’s team goal may be winning a district championship, but this team has an excellent chance of making the state tournament for the first since 1975. Hackenberg mentioned pushing the pace and controlling tempo, and that will be huge with a roster having no player taller than 6-foot-2. Aquinas roadblocks could be Wellsville, McDonald, and possibly Youngstown Christian at Struthers. We wouldn’t be surprised to see an Aquinas/Wellsville district championship game with the winner having an excellent chance of advancing all the way to the final four.

Northwest District

Convoy Crestview (20-4)
Each year we feel really good about one or two teams, and Convoy Crestview is one of those teams. The Knights won 20 games a season ago before losing to St. Henry in a district semifinal, and return a solid nucleus from that squad.

Coach Jeremy Best’s squad gave up 60 points or more only once a year ago, which happened to be the setback to St. Henry (61-51). Convoy’s three regular season defeats were by a combine nine points including one overtime contest with Wayne Trace.

Four all-league performers headline the list of returnees. Senior Tyson Bolenbaugh (6’4) returns after averaging 11.3 points and 5.2 rebounds a game. Bolenbaugh, who was 1st Team All-Northwest Conference, is being courted by several D3 schools. Senior point guard Cam Etzler (5’11), Damian Helm (6’4/Sr.), and sophomore Connor Lautzenheiser (5’10) were all Honorable Mention All-NWC a season ago. Etzler, who will attend Anderson University, totaled nearly 10 points and 4.5 assists a game. Helm added 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds, and Lautzenheiser chipped in nearly nine points a night as a frosh.

Other mainstays include senior Isaiah Simerman (6’0) and junior Preston Zaleski (5’9), who tallied 5.5 points a game shooting 45.5 percent from three-point range.

The Knights will rely on newcomers Mitchell Rickard (5’10/Jr.), Eli Jones (6’4/Jr.), Brock Rolsten (5’10/Sr.), and Luke Gibson (6’0/Sr.) to provide depth.
The Knights will enter non-conference games with Lima CC, Celina, Wayne Trace, Arlington, and Lima Shawnee along with an always-challenging NWC slate.

“We feel like we have the components of a team that could be very good,” Best said. “We have a good mix of senior leadership with a mix of underclassmen. This is a very skilled group, but not overly blessed with great size or strength. The key to our success will be our ability to execute in crunch time situations. We have to put our players in situations to make better decisions with the game on the line.”

Coach Best is just 14 wins away from 200-career victories.

Bottom Line: We have seen some great “small town” DIV teams over the years, and this Convoy team certainly has all the makings of another one. The Knights, who last made the state tournament in 2003, were stingy on defense last season giving up just 40 points per game. Convoy’s last trip to the state tournament ended with a loss to Marion Local in the DIV title game. The Knights featured Washington Redskins’ guard Kory Lichtensteiger, who scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the loss. This team has no one with the size and girth of Lichtensteiger, but the overall depth and talent appears to be greater across the board. Crestview’s quartet of Etzler, Helm, Bolenbaugh, and Lautzenheiser will be rivaled by very few if any in DIV. The regional alignments haven’t come out yet, but the Knights will have Delphos St. John’s, Columbus Grove, McComb, Ottoville, and Kalida in their district. We love the potential of this team, and would be surprised not to see them in Columbus.

Toledo Ottawa Hills (22-5/Regional Finalist)
The Green Bears started the season (6-3) before winning 10 consecutive games and 16 of their final 18 contests. Ottawa Hills reached the regional final and was a game away from returning to the final four for the second time in four seasons before Leipsic ended its run.

The Green Bears will need to replace four-year regular Lucas Janowicz (17.2 ppg.), but seniors Geoff Beans (6’6) and R.J. Coil (6’9) should be a good place to start. Both players have signed D1 letters of intent with Beans heading to Furman and Coil to Marist.

Ben Silverman (6’0/Sr.) and Ellis Cummings (6’7/Sr.) also return joining Beans and Coil.

Perhaps, the most important member to this year’s team could be freshman Hunter Sieban (5’11), who will likely start at guard. Sieban will be key in helping Siverman handle the ball allowing OH to get the ball to Beans and Coil.

OH will be tested right out of the gate against a very good Liberty-Benton team and an early December match up with Sylvania Southview headline the Green Bears’ schedule.

Bottom Line: The Green Bears possess the size to be elite in DIV, but it will come down to guard play for the TAAC’s best. Silverman showed he is capable during last year’s tournament run, and Coil really emerged as a dominant force in the tourney. Beans will be solid, and Cummings will give OH another big body. As we mentioned earlier, Sieban could really be the key piece. OH will play in a district with mainly the teams from its conference, so that could be good or bad. Gibsonburg appears to be the Green Bears largest obstacle in district play. There is no disputing OH’s size will pose a problem on most nights, but last year’s downfall was a pressuring/attacking Leipsic team. If the Green Bears can get solid guard play the potential is there for another run at the final four.

Maria Stein Marion Local (11-13)
The Flyers were so close on many nights a year ago, but just couldn’t get over the hump. Marion Local started the year (6-11) before winning four-straight and five of its last seven contests. ML lost to Fort Recovery in its regular season finale, but turned around and beat FR in the sectional. The Flyers eventually lost to a good New Bremen squad in the next round.

ML got off to a (3-1) start before losing 10 of its next 13 games, which can be attributed to youth and another late start due to the football team winning back-to-back state championships. Here we are again, the Flyers appear ready to capture their third state football championship in a row, so another late start is looming. However, this time, the Flyers have the experience to deal with such circumstances.

“We were extremely young last year and with our top nine guys back we are excited about the 2013-2014 season,” Kurt Goettemoeller, Marion Local’s third year boss noted. “The keys for us this year will be limiting turnovers and staying healthy. If we can handle full court pressure and recover from a late start to our season, we feel we can compete for a league championship and hopefully be playing our best basketball come tournament time.”

The Flyers, who were just (2-7) in conference play last winter, welcome back one of the biggest small school frontcourts anywhere. Junior Luke Knapke (6’10) totaled 10.5 points and nearly seven rebounds a game as a sophomore, and with improved guard play, look for those number to jump significantly. Knapke has offers from Toledo, Miami (OH), Kent State, Akron, and Wright State. Dayton, Ball State, and Oakland have also shown interest. Junior Ryan Bruns (6’7) and senior Adam Bertke (6’6) are still playing football, but will contribute heavily upon arrival. Bertke, who is committed to Pitt to play quarterback, averaged nearly 10 points and just over six rebounds a year ago. Bruns tallied 8.3 points per outing.

Knapke and Bruns were both top 10 in Ohio for shooting percentage as sophomores.

Point guard Cole Griesdorn (6’0/So.) and junior Dustin Rethman (6’0) round out last season’s starters. Griesdorn averaged nearly six points per game and Rethman notched seven points and shot 90 percent from the charity stripe. Rethman also filled in nicely at quarterback when Bertke went down with injury for a couple weeks.

Key bench members Dustin Seitz (6’3/Jr.), Troy Homan (6’3/Sr.), Jason Brunswick (6’0/Sr.), and Nate Nagel (6’0/Sr) return as well. Junior Collin Mescher could also play a significant role for the Flyers.

Marion Local will likely move its first four games due to football, but when it gets going the schedule will be difficult. Celina, Van Wert, Jackson Center, and Spencerville headline the out-of-conference schedule along with competing in the MAC, the best small school conference in the state.

Bottom Line: The Flyers, much like Ottawa Hills, will need to receive better guard play if they want to advance deep into the tournament. Overall, the team is still young, but the Flyers have plenty of experience. Football will once again factor into the start of the season, so we expect ML to get a bit of a slow start. Playing 15 games in football really takes a toll by February and March, which is something ML is used to dealing with. Knapke, Bruns, and Bertke will be a terrific frontcourt, but Griesdorn and Rethman will be ultimately tell the tale of how far this team will go. If the Flyers can get the ball in the half court, wins should pile up in a hurry. The Flyers have Fort Recovery, Spencerville, New Bremen, and Arlington in their district, so it won’t be easy. With that being said, we still like ML as the favorite.

Southwest District

Cincinnati Aiken (10-12)
There won’t be anybody playing a tougher schedule than the Falcons. In 2011, Aiken was Division I before spending the past two seasons in Division II. Now, just two and a half years removed from losing to the Division I state champs (Cincinnati LaSalle) in the tournament, Aiken will be playing in Ohio’s smallest division. Yes, the Falcons will be in DIV!

Aiken won just 10 games last season, but that was up against a mainly Division I/II schedule. The Falcons lost to regional semifinalist Cincinnati Hughes in a district semifinal a year ago. Once again, the Falcons will face a schedule suited for a team preparing for the Division I/II tournament. Aiken will face Taft (twice), Withrow (twice), Hughes (twice), and Woodward (twice) in conference along with out-of-conference games with Winton Woods, Cincinnati La Salle, Dayton Meadowdale, Fairfield, Kings, Moeller, and Turpin.

Coach Leon Ellison, who has coached the likes of Chane Behanan, Aaron Thomas, Darren Goodsen, Kenny Knight, Willie Moore, and Austin Grimes, has a very talented roster for a DIV club. Senior Corey Cavins (6’0) is back after averaging 7.6 points per game in limited games as a junior, and he will be joined by junior Damon “DJ” Harris, who tallied 7.5 points and over four rebounds a game as a sophomore earning Honorable Mention Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference honors.

Look for much more out of sophomore Kameron Mooore (6’6), who should really emerge in his second full year on varsity. Sophomore Carlik Jones (5’11) will be another major contributor after averaging nearly 10 points per game at Purcell Marian as a frosh.

Transfers Terrance Gholston (6’4/Jr.) and Michael Shaw (6’0/Sr.) should also help out. Gholston has spent time at Purcell Marian and Riverview East, while Shaw comes over from North College Hill.

Bottom Line: It would be really hard to keep Aiken out of the top 10 considering its talent level and strength of schedule. Honestly, the Falcons should be able to pressure most DIV team out of the gym, but the eventually they will face a team able to handle the heat. At that point, will Aiken be able to make enough shots to beat a quality opponent. Perimeter shooting lacks, but with the pressure and inside presence of Moore, the Falcons could be booking rooms for Columbus in March.

Troy Christian (26-3/State Semifinalist)
The Eagles were all-in a season ago, and I mean all-in. Troy Christian had never won a sectional in its school’s history, but it checked that off the list last winter along with a district and regional title. There were plenty of firsts.

Many believed the Eagles were a team with a good record playing in a subpar conference (Metro Buckeye Conference), but TC proved otherwise. The Eagles were (8-2) at one point during the regular season losing to New Bremen and Tri-Village, but TC followed with an 18-game winning streak setting it up in Columbus.

The tournament run was surreal as head coach Ray Zawadzki watched his team beat perennial powers Dayton Jefferson, Fort Loramie, Tri-Village, and Delphos St. John’s en route to the school’s first final four appearance. In fact, the win over Tri-Village not only avenged the loss earlier in the year, but also knocked T-V from the ranks of the unbeaten.

The storybook run ended at the hands of powerful and virtually unbeatable Cleveland VASJ, but the Eagles return six of their top eight from that game.

Junior Grant Zawadzki (5’11) returns at the point guard spot following a sophomore season where he averaged 15.8 points and 5.8 assists per game, and shot 39 percent from three-point land and 81 percent from the free throw line. He was named JJHuddle 3rd Team All-Ohio, MBC POY, 1st Team All-Southwest District, and AP Honorable Mention All-State. Zawadzki is on pace to become the school’s first 1,000-point scorer.

Seniors Spencer Thomas (5’11), Holden Varvel (6’1), Logan George (6’3), and Nathanael Boone (6’11) also return off last season’s state semifinalist unit.  Thomas averaged over 10 points per game and shot 38 percent behind the arc helping him earn MBC 1st Team. Varvel totaled just over eight points and George added nearly six points and a shade over five boards a contest.

Isaiah Fairley (6’5/Jr.) is another kid that could eventually be in the mix depending on how soon he returns from his torn ACL. Fairley is a very talented player, who transferred over from Huber Heights Wayne.

“We return a strong nucleus from last year’s final four team,” Zawadzki noted.

Bottom Line: Troy Christian has won back-to-back-to-back MBC championships, which includes a current 16-game winning streak and 34 of its last 36. The Eagles won six tournament games in 2013, which equaled the total of tournament wins in school history. TC has the ingredients for another deep run. Zawadzki is one of the toughest competitors in the state and a great leader, which gives the Eagles a solid place to start each night. Thomas is a three-year starter, and Varvel and George are both two-year starters. The scoring and experience are certainly there. Coach Zawadzki believes Boone has made great strides in the offseason, which should pay huge dividends for TC. Remember, 6-foot-11 is 6-foot-11 no matter what and in DIV it’s even more of a weapon. The Southwest District will be extremely competitive in DIV, so there are no guarantees of TC returning to Columbus. However, with the talent and experience returning, there is no reason to believe the Eagles won’t be right in the mix.

Georgetown (20-3)
Coach Jerry Underwood has been to the top of the mountain before, so he knows what it will take to get the job done. In 2007, Underwood’s G-Men finished (28-0) capturing the DIV state championship.

After bouncing up-and-down in DIII and IV the G-Men are back in DIV. They are back and loaded with talent thanks to a very strong junior class.

The G-Men won 20 games last season in DIII before losing to a talented Purcell Marian (62-61) squad in the opening round of the tournament. Georgetown’s other two defeats were by Division III Eastern Brown (56-49) and Division II Amelia (56-55). So, the three losses were by a total of nine points.

The G-Men welcome back a host of talent from last season’s 20-win team led by juniors Jacob Miller (6’0) and Jake Cropper (6’2).  Miller averaged 15.8 points, 4.6 assists, 4.5 steals, and 4.1 rebounds as a sophomore and shot 88 percent from the charity stripe. Cropper led team in scoring at 16.6 points per game and added six boards. He shot 79 percent at the free throw line.

Senior Bruce Williams (6’3), a four-year regular, returns following a nine-point and nearly six-rebound season.

The G-Men’s biggest luxury will be the return of junior Gage Bradley (6’0). The 220-pounder led Georgetown in scoring as a freshman at 13 points per game, but he missed all of last season with a torn ACL.

Junior Jonathon Staggs (6’0) will be another kid in the mix.

Bottom Line: The G-Men went undefeated in league play last season and have a good shot at repeating that feat. Coach Underwood needs 15 wins to reach 300-career victories, which should be attainable. There is just something we like about this G-Men team. It could be the amount of talent returning and the fact that no one is talking about this team or remember they dropped to DIV. The G-Men won the state in ’07 behind a strong inside presence in Isaiah Felder, but this team will be more perimeter oriented. Nearly every player Underwoood puts on the floor will be able to handle the ball, which is a nice luxury. Miller, Cropper, Bradley, and Williams provide Georgetown with one of the better quartets in the Buckeye state. The G-Men beat two undefeated teams en route to the ’07 state championship, so they aren’t opposed to playing good competition. They will need that same mentality this winter if they hope to return to the top of the food chain. This team is a built for a tremendous two-year run, and we think Georgetown is ready for the bright lights.

Tri-Village (26-1/Regional Semifinalist)
Coach Josh Sagester has done an outstanding job at Tri-Village in his nine seasons with the Patriots winning nearly 70 percent of his games. Though, last year will be a year he won’t soon forget.

T-V steam rolled its way through the majority of the season easily counting the close games on one hand. The Patriots ripped off 26-straight victories before meeting Troy Christian, a team they beat in the regular by 16 points, in the regional semis. Tri-Village was the better team, and Coach Zawadzki at Troy Christian would likely not argue that point, but on March 12th TC was the better team for four and a half quarters. The Eagles ended T-V’s storybook season with a 48-43 triumph in OT.

For the Patriots, it was just their second district championship in school history with the other coming in 1991. Tri-Village finished the 1991 season at (27-1) losing to one of the best small school teams in Ohio history, St. Henry, in the state finals.

T-V lost plenty from last year’s squad, which includes AP 2nd Team All-Ohioan Kyle Pipenger (21.4 ppg.), Shade Brubaker, Matt Werner, Andrew Wilcox, and Kaleb Chowning. Though, with two key returnees and a mentality for winning, we believe this is still a top 10 outfit.

Tyler Cook (6’6/Sr.), who is drawing interest from some Division 2 and 3 schools, will be back in the middle after a solid junior season. He averaged a double -double (14 ppg. & 10 rpg.) shooting over 65 percent from the field.

Sagester is very high on junior Colton Linkous (6’4). The wing averaged 10 points, five rebounds, and two assists as a sophomore. Sagester believes Linkous has the potential to play at the D1 level.

The newcomers will have big shoes to fill, but Sagester believes they are capable. Sophomore Tyler Van Winkle (5’9) will take over the point guard spot, and juniors Damion Cook (6’4) and Mason McCabe (6’3) give the Patriots more size and depth. Senior Tommy Bell (5’10) will also be called upon at guard.

Tri-Village is (46-5) over the past two seasons finishing as the top team in the AP Poll at the end of last year’s regular season.

“Our kids are excited about this year and have worked extremely hard to continue to the tradition and culture that has been built,” Sagester said. “We have a few stalwarts returning in Cook and Linkous, but we feel our newcomers will fill our voids nicely. Our motto this year is “new team, same dream.”

Bottom Line: Tri-Village quietly continues to answer the bell as one of the top up-and-coming small schools in Ohio. The Patriots lost a lot of scoring from last year, but as Sagester noted, the newcomers are ready to step up. Cook and Linkous should carry the weight until the newbies get comfortable. The Patriots beefed up the out-of-conference schedule with New Bremen, Dayton Jefferson, Dayton Stivers, Winchester (IN), Troy Christian, and Lehman Catholic, which should help come tournament time. Last year’s ending could fuel this team beyond its talent level. We won’t be surprised at all if T-V has another great season in a loaded SW District.

More Top Teams by Region:

Central Ohio:
Lancaster Fisher Catholic, Newark Catholic, Danville, Harvest Prep, Gahanna Christian, and Berne Union.

Eastern Ohio:
Malvern, Stebenville CC, Tuscarawas CC, and Caldwell.

Northeast Ohio:
Richmond Heights, Wellsville, McDonald, Youngstown Christian, Windham, Cornerstone Christian, and Mogadore.

Northwest Ohio:
Arlington, Spencerville, Gibsonburg, Wayne Trace, New Bremen, Columbus Grove, Fort Recovery, Cardinal Stritch, Plymouth, McComb, Delphos St. John’s, Leipsic, Edgerton, and Sandusky St. Mary’s CC.

Southeast Ohio:
North Adams, Peebles, Leesburg Fairfield, South Webster, Portsmouth Clay, and Racine Southern.

Southwest Ohio:
Tipp City Bethel, Fayettesville-Perry, Fort Loramie, Miami Valley, Dayton Jefferson, and Jackson Center.


Returning All-Ohio List:

‘1st Team: Steven Carpenter- Fairfield Christian (JJHuddle)
2nd Team: Steven Carpenter- Fairfield Christian (AP)
3rd Team: Grant Zawadzki- Troy Christian (JJHuddle)

Player Watch List

Adam Bertke (6’6/Jr.)- Marion Local (Pitt FB)
Akil Cornish (6’0/Sr.)- Columbus Africentric
Andrew Cantrell (5’10/Sr.)- Gibsonburg
Andrew Hunter (5’9/Jr.)- Arlington
Andy Payne (6’4/Sr.) Danville
Anthony Moeglin (6’0/Jr.)- Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas
Austin Adams (6’3/Jr.)- Cardinal Stritch
Austin Hill (6’2/Sr.)- Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas
Beau Justice (6’0/Jr.)- Peebles
Ben Bowers (5’11/Sr.)- Spencerville
Brady Wildermuth (6’4/Fr.)- Jackon Center
Brandon Lee (5’11/Sr.)- Bristol
Brayden Greer (5’10/Jr.)- South Gallia
Bruce Williams (6’3/Sr.)- Georgetown
Bryan Gee (6’2/Sr.)- Cornerstone Christian Academy
Caleb Walker (6’4/Jr.)- Gahanna Christian
Cam Etzler (5’11/Sr.)- Convoy Crestview
Carlik Jones (5’11/So.)- Cincinnati Aiken
Carson Manger (6’2/Jr.)- New Bremen
Clay Grubb (6’3/Jr.)- McComb
Colton Linkous (6’4/Jr.)- Tri-Village
Connor Lautzenheiser (5’10/So.)- Convoy Crestview
Conor Keck (6’7/Sr.)- Newark Catholic (Walsh University)
Corde Donald (6’3/Jr.)- Miami Valley
Corey Cavins (6’0/Sr.)- Cincinnati Aiken
Damian Helm (6’4/Sr.)- Convoy Crestview
Damon Harris (6’2/Jr.)- Cincinnati Aiken
Dane Blumenstock (5’10/Sr.)- Union City Mississinawa Valley
David Dennis Jr. (6’1/Jr.)- Harvest Prep
Denarius Harris (6’4/Sr.)- Sandusky St. Mary’s CC
Devin Gabriel (6’2/Sr.)- North Ridgeville Lake Ridge Academy
DJ Iles (5’10/Sr.)- Fayetteville-Perry
Eldin Sarajlic (6’5/Sr.)- Portsmouth Clay
Elijah Kahlig (6’3/Sr.)- Fort Recovery (Findlay)
Elijah Rader (6’2/Jr.)- Corning Miller
Eric Clark (5’10/Sr.)- Delphos St. John’s
Gage Bradley (5’11/Jr.)- Georgetown
Gavin Wildermuth (6’2/Jr.)- Jackson Center
Geoff Beans (6’5/Sr.)- Ottawa Hills (Furman)
Glen Hoffman (6’1/Jr.)- Columbiana Heartland Christian
Grant Zawadzki (5’11/Jr.)- Troy Christian
Houston Smith (6’4/So.)- Columbus Africentric
Hunter Martin (6’9/Jr.)- Berne Union
Isaiah McQueen (6’2/Sr.)- Cornerstone Christian Academy
Jacob Kish (6’1/Sr.)- Glouster Trimble
Jacob Miller (6’0/Jr.)- Georgetown
Jake Cropper (6’2/Jr.)- Georgetown
Jaquan Harrison (6’3/Jr.)- Columbus Africentric
Jonathon Wiechman (5’11/Sr.)- Caldwell
Jordan Kreglow (5’10/Jr.)- Gibsonburg
Jordan Martin (6’0/Sr.)- Cuyahoga Heights
Josh Woodrich (6’2/Sr.)- Kidron Central Christian
Kameron Moore (6’6/So.)- Cincinnati Aiken
KJ Dewese (6’6/Jr.)- Fairfield Christian
Levi Cook (5’10/Sr.)- South Webster
Luke Knapke (6’10/Jr.)- Marion Local
Marek Walzcak (6’0/Sr.)- Strasburg-Franklin
Matt Seitz (6’3/Sr.)- McDonald
Max Hogue (6’0/So.)- Newark Catholic
Michael Teater (5’10/Jr.)- Tuscarawas CC
Mitch Loomis (6’6/Jr.)- Malvern
Nate Scott (6’0/Sr.)- Wellsville
Nate Sheppard (6’4/Sr.)- Dayton Jefferson
Nick Ballone (6’1/Sr.)- Lowellville
Nick Shanks (6’0/Jr.)- Latham Western
Q.J. Williams (6’1/Jr.)- Bridgeport
RJ Coil (6’9/Sr.)- Ottawa Hills (Marist)
Ryan Bates (6’2/Sr.)- Leesburg Fairfield
Ryan Bruns (6’7/Jr.)- Marion Local
Ryan Fletcher (6’2/Sr.)- Steubenville CC
Ryan Koester (6’2/Sr.)- Delphos St. John’s
Spencer Thomas (5’11/Sr.)- Troy Christian
Steven Carpenter (6’4/Sr.)- Fairfield Christian
Todd Ropp (6’2/Sr.)- Berlin Hiland
Travis Feitshans (6’2/Sr.)- Franklin Monroe
Trent Marcum (6’2/Sr.)- Franklin Furnace Green
Trevon Baker (6’4/Jr.)- Miami Valley
Trey Tucci (6’3/Sr.)- Malvern
Tristen Wolfe (6’1/Jr.)- Racine Southern
Tyler Cook (6’6/Sr.)- Tri-Village
Tyler Ernsthausen (6’1/Sr.)- Gibsonburg
Tyler Rowe (6’1/Sr.)- Symmes Valley
Tyson Bolenbaugh (6’4/Sr.)- Convoy Crestview
Ulmer Manzie (6’8/Jr.)- Columbus Africentric
Will Vorhees (6’6/Sr.)- Columbus Grove
Zach Goecke (5’11/So.)- Spencerville
Zach Kuhlman (6’4/Sr.)- Leipsic


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