One of the best days of the year is Selection Sunday for the OHSAA Boy’s Basketball State Tournament, and recently drawings took place around the Buckeye state. Today, we start our look around the state in the East District. We will break down the brackets, look at top match ups and intriguing potential games, and of course our predictions.
The Northwest District is comprised of four divisions (I, II, III, and IV). Next to the East and Southeast Districts, NW Ohio has the smallest contingent of DI teams, but a large gathering of DIV squads. Since the turn of the decade, only Ottawa-Glandorf (‘13) and Lima Central Catholic (‘10) have won state championships for NW Ohio. Both came in DIII. It’s no secret, Toledo itself hasn’t won a state championship since Toledo Scott in 1990.
Division I consists of two districts (University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University) with a winner advancing from each to regional play. The semifinal game of the regional will be held at the University of Toledo, while the regional final takes place at the University of Akron. Toledo and BG are paired against one another in the regional semis. The Grafton and Broadview Heights Districts out of NE Ohio will make up the other two spots in this regional.
Two sectionals make up the BG District (Galion HS & Otsego HS) and three sites make up the Toledo District (Waite HS, Toledo CC HS, & Bowsher HS).
At Galion HS, top seed Mansfield Senior (15-4) will await the winner of Mansfield Madison and Marion Harding. No. 2 Fremont Ross will meet No. 3 Ashland in the other contest at Galion. At Otsego, No. 1 Perrysburg will open up with No. 3 Anthony Wayne (11-7), a team that just beat the ‘Burg. No. 2 Findlay (16-4) gets the survivor of Lima Senior and Bowling Green.
Perrysburg (18-3) and Anthony Wayne have split their two regular season games with each team winning on the other’s home floor. The Yellow Jackets of Perrysburg won (48-46) and the Generals recently got a (50-49) victory. The Yellow Jackets have two losses by a combine four points and another by double-digits to Sylvania Southview.
Mansfield Senior should be fine on the top half of the bracket, though, it has suffered a pair of letdowns in conference play this year to Lexington and Orrville. The Tygers swept Ashland, but the last game was decided by just three points.
Findlay has a couple bad losses on the schedule, but we really like the makeup of this senior dominated team. Austin Gutting, Austin Twining, Michael Clark, Braden Miller, and junior Grant Niswander make up a strong nucleus with plenty of experience.
District Favorites: Mansfield Senior, Perrysburg, and Findlay.
Sleepers: Anthony Wayne.
Top Match Up: Perrysburg vs. Anthony Wayne
Top Potential Match Up: Mansfield Senior vs. Findlay
Our Pick: Findlay
Toledo Upper vs. Toledo Lower
At Waite HS, No. 1 Bowsher (18-2) takes on Oregon Clay with the winner getting a dangerous Sylvania Southview squad, who has won eight consecutive outings. The Cougars (15-5) have four losses by four points or fewer and one by eight that occurred in overtime. No. 3 Toledo Central Catholic (16-2) will face Waite at Bowsher HS.
At Central Catholic HS, No. 2 Toledo St. John’s (15-6) awaits the victor of Sylvania Northview and Toledo Start. No. 4 Holland Springfield (11-5) gets the winner of Toledo Whitmer and Toledo St. Francis.
Bowsher can score the basketball and has done so all year scoring under 70 points just five times this season. The Rebels have qualities wins over St. John’s, Anthony Wayne, and Elida. Bowsher’s two defeats were by six points or less. Seniors Nate Allen, Dajuan King, Jason Sandridge, Cam White, and Mark Washington lead an explosive offensive attack. A Bowsher/Southview second round game could be very interesting.
Toledo CC (16-2) has just two losses on the year with both happening in OT. The Fighting Irish have flew under the radar led by head coach Jim Welling and Notre Dame football signee DeShone Kizer and are winners of eight-straight. Central Catholic is stingy on defense, which would make for a fun contest with high-scoring Bowsher or defensive-minded Southview.
Toledo St. John’s has played one of the best schedules in the state with losses coming to Shaker Heights, Cincinnati Moeller, and Lakewood St. Edward, who are all top 10 team in the National Guard JJHuddle Division I Power Poll. Springfield, who owns a win over Bowsher, could provide some resistance for St. John’s, but we still like the Titans to advance.
District Favorites: Toledo St. John’s, Toledo Bowsher, and Toledo CC.
Sleepers: Sylvania Southview
Top Match Up: Toledo Whitmer vs. Toledo St. Francis
Top Potential Match Up: Toledo CC vs. Toledo St. John’s
Our Pick: Toledo CC
Division II is comprised of three districts (Mansfield Sr. HS, Toledo CC HS, & Liberty-Benton HS) with a winner from each advancing to the Bowling Green Regional to meet up with the Westlake survivor out of NE Ohio. Last season, Columbus Bishop Watterson advanced from this regional going on to win the state championship. Bucyrus HS and Willard HS make up the Mansfield District, Riverdale HS and Lima Senior HS make up the Liberty-Benton District, and Clay HS and Anthony Wayne HS comprise the Central Catholic District.
Mansfield Upper vs. Mansfield Lower
Top seed Ontario (21-0) will get the winner of Lexington (12-8) and Clear Fork (9-8). The rest of the top half is Sandusky versus Bellevue with the winner getting Sandusky Perkins (17-3).
The bottom half sees Norwalk (20-1) facing Galion with the victor meeting Shelby, and Port Clinton and Oak Harbor locking up in a Sandusky Bay Conference battle as SBC
member Clyde (15-5) gets the survivor.
Ontario got a tough draw with the possibility of playing Lexington or Clear Fork right off the start. Lexington took Ontario to OT earlier in the season and Clear Fork dropped a (84-79) decision to Ontario. The Minutemen of Lextown own a victory over Mansfield Senior and two wins over first round opponent Clear Fork. Perkins has just three losses on the year with two coming to Norwalk and the other to once-beaten Perrysburg. The Pirates have won 13 of their last 14 games. Seniors Nic Williams and point guard David Doster are both four-year starters for the Pirates and know what it takes to advance in the tournament. Perkins has lost to Elida (‘12) and Watterson (‘13) the past two seasons in regional play.
We would be surprised if Norwalk doesn’t own the bottom half of this district led by seniors Jeff Thomas (Georgia State) and Ben Haraway (Malone), who are both four-year regulars and 1,000-point scorers. Clyde has a pretty good record, but really hasn’t beaten anyone of note.
District Favorites: Ontario, Norwalk, and Sandusky Perkins.
Sleepers: Lexington and Clyde
Top Match Up: Lexington vs. Clear Fork
Top Potential Match Up: Ontario/Sandusky Perkins vs. Norwalk
Our Pick: Norwalk
Toledo Upper vs. Toledo Lower
This should be a fun district with a lot of mixtures in style of play. Millbury Lake (19-1) is the top seed at Clay, but the No. 1 seed at Anthony Wayne (Defiance) decided to go in the top half of the district with the Flyers. Lake, who is a bit unproven, also faces the possibility of playing a pretty good and athletic Toledo Rogers (10-8) team in its first game. The Rams will have to get by Rossford (13-5) before they can think about Lake. Rogers doesn’t have a bad loss on the slate.
Lake is led by junior point guard Conner Bowen, who can do a little bit of everything. Jacob Rettig, Cody Witt, Jared Rettig and Todd Walters have all contributed to the 19 wins. Defiance, playing out of the very tough Western Buckeye League, owns 16 wins compared to just three losses. Senior guard Trey Guilliam and junior Katwan Singletown lead the Bulldogs, who have won 9 of their last 10 encounters.
In the bottom half, Toledo Scott, who started the season just 3-4, is now (13-5) after winning 10-straight before losing to Rogers this past Friday. Senior guard Chris Harris can score in bunches and is more than capable of dropping a 40-spot. Scott will play the winner of Genoa and Toledo Wooward. In the other half of the bracket, Bryan (12-7) awaits the Wauseon (15-5)/Napoleon (9-12) winner. Scott has played a much better schedule than its counterparts, which is a big reason to give the Bulldogs an edge in the bottom half of the bracket.
District Favorites: Defiance and Toledo Scott
Sleepers: Millbury Lake and Toledo Rogers
Top Match Up: Wauseon vs. Napoleon
Top Potential Match Up: Defiance vs. Toledo Scott
Our Pick: Toledo Scott
Liberty-Benton Upper vs. Liberty-Benton Lower
Top seed Elida (17-3) will get the winner of St. Mary’s and Lima Shawnee. Elida has won 15 of its last 16 games with only a five-point setback to Bowsher keeping it from 16-straight. Purdue signee Dakota Mathias, who is not only in the running for Mr. Basketball, but is looking to get back to Columbus for the second time following a trip as a sophomore. Shawnee is just (6-14), but just beat a good Fort Recovery team on Friday. The Indians lost seven-straight prior to that game to (Wayne Trace, Convoy Crestview, Elida, Bath, Findlay, Celina, and Defiance), who are a combine (114-24). Sophomore point guard Jaden O’Neal is really coming on scoring 30 points in the win over Fort Recovery.
Kenton and Tiffin Columbian will battle to meet the above survivor.
In the bottom half of the Liberty-Benton District, Lima Bath (15-4) will face the victor of a dangerous Celina team and Wapakoneta. The Bath Wildcats’ four losses on the year are to teams with a combine (49-10) record and three of those were by eight points or fewer. The Wildcats were one game away from a trip to Columbus a year ago, and senior Taren Sullivan (Findlay commit) knows what it takes to get back. Celina (13-7) has a team that can beat anyone in the district depending on the night.
The rest of the bottom bracket has Upper Sandusky (10-11) getting the winner of Otsego and Fostoria.
A possible Elida/Bath district final would be intriguing. Elida beat the Wildcats by eight points in the season opener and by four points on Valentine’s Day.
District Favorites: Elida and Lima Bath
Top Match Up: St. Mary’s vs. Lima Shawnee
Top Potential Match Up: Elida vs. Lima Bath
Our Pick: Elida
Division III in NW Ohio brought the gold back last season for the second time in four years with Ottawa-Glandorf shooting its way past Versailles. Not the to say the district is bad, but the depth appears to be dwindling in recent years and shifting to Division IV. NW Ohio has a trio of districts in DIII consisting of Ohio Northern University, Bowling Green State University, and Ashland University. The three winners will meet up with the Columbus 1 District Champion at BGSU for regional play.
Ohio Northern Upper vs. Ohio Northern Lower
At ONU, Lima Central Catholic (16-4) is the favorite in the top half of the bracket. Led by sophomore guards Xavier Simpson, Tre Cobbs, and Dantez Walton along with senior Indianapolis signee Martyce Kimbrough, the Thunderbirds have just four losses on the year and three by three or fewer points. LCC will meet the winner of Parkway and Allen East. Below, Carey (16-4) will get the survivor of Riverdale and Hopewell-Loudon. Carey is having a good season, but the difference in competition is evident in comparison to LCC. Carey lost to Liberty-Benton by 35 points and LCC beat L-B by 29.
Liberty-Benton, the top seed in the bottom half of the district, suffered from everyone running from LCC. The Eagles, a team we had high hopes for before the season started, got off to a slow start going just (4-4) in their first eight games. Following a drubbing by LCC, the Eagles have now won 12-straight games. The schedule got significantly more appealing, but L-B could be that team from NW Ohio that goes on a long winning streak and shows up in Columbus. It seems to happen yearly in this regional.
L-B ‘s road won’t be easy as the Eagles await the winner of Lakota/Elmwood before possible meetings with St. Henry (13-7), Delphos Jefferson (12-8), Van Wert, or Coldwater. St. Henry has won five-straight and Ryan Mikesell is as good a player as any in the district, and Jefferson has the team to play spoiler led by sophomore Trey Smith.
District Favorites: Lima CC and Findlay Liberty-Benton
Sleepers: St. Henry and Delphos Jefferson
Top Match Up: St. Henry vs. Delphos Jefferson
Top Potential Match Up: Lima CC vs. Findlay Liberty-Benton
Our Pick: Findlay Liberty-Benton
Bowling Green Upper vs. Bowling Green Lowe
The reigning state champs, Ottawa Glandorf (12-9), received the No. 1 seed at the Defiance Sectional and will be paired with the winner of Bluffton and Fairview. The Titans have limped through the year losing to mainly quality outfits with an inexperienced varsity team. Junior big man Noah Bramlage has played in two prior state tournaments, so he knows what it takes to win in March. O-G is battle-tested, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the Titans are able to win this district. Archbold, the top seed at the Wauseon Sectional, will be in the top half of the top bracket. The Blue Streaks (15-4), who lost to O-G in overtime in December, have won eight of their last nine games. The only loss in that time frame was an overtime defeat to DII Defiance. Archbold, featuring junior big man Luke Fisher, opens up with Evergreen with Swanton waiting in the wings.
In the bottom bracket, No. 2 Paulding (15-5) will tangle with the Defiance Tinora (14-6)/Van Buren winner. The Panthers of Paulding, under head coach Shawn Brewer, are a sound defensive-minded club giving up just 60 points or more two times this season. Liberty Center (14-6) awaits the team that advances from the Delta (11-7) and Montpelier game. Liberty Center dropped a decision to Paulding (49-44) in early January.
District Favorites: Ottawa-Glandorf, Archbold, and Paulding.
Sleepers: Tinora and Liberty Center.
Top Match Up: Tinora vs. Van Buren
Top Potential Match Up: Archbold vs. Ottawa-Glandorf
Our Pick: Ottawa-Glandor
Ashland Upper vs. Ashland Lower
No. 1 Huron (12-6) will face the winner of Northwood and Woodmore, while Willard (12-8) gets the survivor of Bucyrus (12-9) and New London (10-9). Huron, out of the Sandusky Bay Conference, has played some quality competition losing to Sandusky Perkins twice (once in OT), Willard on December 28th, Elyria Catholic in OT, Olmsted Falls, and Norwalk. In its last outing, Huron led 20-win Norwalk (30-17) before getting hit with a 33-5 run. Huron’s trio of Adam Storer, Cody Thompson, and Zach Souter make the Tigers a regional contender. Willard, who is led by junior guard Carson Ebert, has dropped eight games, but three teams (Norwalk, Ontario, & Shelby) have beat the Flashes twice.
In the bottom bracket, top seeded Colonel Crawford (16-4) meets the remains of Ashland Crestview and Wynford. Crawford owns two-straight regional appearances in DIV and with senior guard Conner McCreary leading the way, the Eagles will be in position to make another run. Eastwood (14-5), who is our dark horse, gets Western Reserve and Sandusky Bay Conference foes Margaretta and Milan Edison meet. The latter two split during the regular with the two games being determined by a total of four points. Eastwood is led by 1000-point scorer Jake Schmeltzer (Sr.).
District Favorites: Huron and Colonel Crawford
Sleepers: Willard and Eastwood
Top Match Up: Margaretta and Milan Edison
Top Potential Match Up: Huron and Eastwood
Our Pick: Eastwood
The Northwest’s centerpiece has been DIV for years, but the district hasn’t won a championship in the Buckeye state’s smallest division since New Knoxville destroyed the competition in 2008. NW Ohio won four of five from 2000-2004, but has struggled since winning just one of the last nine. The district has 66 teams in DIV, which make up five districts. Unfortunately, one district (Wapakoneta HS) gets sent to the Kettering Regional, which could be the best in the state. The other four district winners (Elida HS, Van Wert HS, Willard HS, & Lakota HS) will meet at the Bowling Green State University Regional. NW Ohio is very deep and balanced this year in DIV, which should make for some outstanding tournament action.
Wapakoneta Upper vs. Wapakoneta Lower
No. 2 seed Spencerville (15-4), who is red-hot winning six of its past seven games, gets the survivor of a Midwest Athletic Conference battle between New Knoxville and New Bremen. Senior guard Ben Bowers has helped bring along a group of sophomores and freshmen, which included recent wins over Lima CC and Marion Local. In the win over LCC, sophomore Zach Goecke knocked down a triple to give the Bearcats the win. Freshman Dakota Prichard is also playing a huge role. New Knoxville beat Spencerville by 18 points in December, but that isn’t the same team that is playing in February. Arlington (15-3) was rolling along as well before Columbus Desales ended a seven-game winning streak this past Saturday (36-34). The Red Devils, who wrapped up the Blanchard Valley Conference title, will get Dola Hardin Northern in round one with Lima Perry (16-3) and Ridgemont doing battle in the other sectional opener.
Upper Scioto Valley (19-1) is the No. 1 seed at the Kenton HS Sectional and will be in the same half of the district bracket as top seeded Fort Recovery (15-5) at the Coldwater HS Sectional. Ada and Waynesfield-Goshen will battle to get the chance at USV, while Fort Recovery will await the Minster and Marion Local (16-4) survivor. This half of the bracket is going to be plenty of fun. The USV Rams are a bit of an unknown to us coming out of the Northwest Central Conference. The Rams have won 18 games in a row since losing to DIII Carey. Seniors Dylan Hunsicker and Woody Prater along with junior Lane Hurley average nearly 36 points per game. USV beat Ada by five points in early January, which could be its opening opponent. Marion Local and Fort Recovery, who are tied atop the Midwest Athletic Conference, will play this Friday and could play again a week later. The Flyers are huge on the interior with juniors Luke Knapke and Ryan Bruns and senior Adam Bertke, a Universityof Pittsburgh football signee. All three kids are between 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-10. However, the key for a deep run will be the play of guards Cole Griesdorn and Dustin Rethman. Fort Recovery is led by talented senior Elijah “Pig” Kahlig, a University of Findlay signee. The Indians have lost three-of-four.
District Favorites: Spencerville, Fort Recovery, and Marion Local.
Sleepers: Arlington, Upper Scioto Valley, and Lima Perry.
Top Match Up: New Knoxville vs. New Bremen
Top Potential Match Up: Spencerville vs. Marion Local
Our Pick: Spencerville
Elida Upper vs. Elida Lower
Convoy Crestview (21-0) is just one win away from completing a spotless regular season. The Knights are the No. 1 seed and No. 1 in the state according to our National Guard JJHuddle Power Poll and will await the winner of Lima Temple Christian and Fort Jennings. Crestview, a senior dominated squad, is led by point guard Cam Etzler and classmates Damian Helm and Tyson Bolenbaugh. McComb will face last season’s state runner-up Leipsic and a solid Columbus Grove (12-8) squad will get Cory-Rawson. It’s interesting that Convoy ends the year with Grove and could see them again on March 4th.
In the bottom half, Miller City (14-7) will take on the Kalida/Pandora-Gilboa winner. The MAC’s Delphos St. John’s (11-8), who has dropped four-of-five, will meet the victor of Van Wert Lincolnview/Ottoville. A Putnam County League contest could be looming with Kalida and Miller City, which Miller City won the regular season game by two points a little over a week ago. We still think DSJ is the class of this half of the bracket under head coach Aaron Elwer, who is one of the best in the business.
Last season, the Elida District winner went to the Kettering Regional, so it was a nice surprise to see the district will be heading to Bowling Green this year.
District Favorites: Convoy Crestview.
Sleepers: Delphos St. John’s, Columbus Grove, Miller City, and Kalida.
Top Match Up: McComb vs. Leipsic
Top Potential Match Up: Convoy Crestview vs. Delphos St. John’s
Our Pick: Convoy Crestview
Van Wert Upper vs. Van Wert Lower
Edgerton (14-6), who is the No. 1 seed at the Bryan HS Sectional, has owned this district the past three seasons winning the last three district championships at what use to be the Napoleon District. Ironically, the last team to beat the Bulldogs in district play was Haviland Wayne Trace (16-3) in the 2010 district championship game. The Raiders are the No. 1 seed in the bottom part of the bracket at the Paulding HS Sectional. Wayne Trace just beat Edgerton this past Friday (50-37). Both teams are members of the Green Meadows Conference.
Edgerton will get the Stryker/Hilltop victor, while Defiance Ayersville (15-6) will take on Hicksville (8-11) and Antwerp (13-8) meets Holgate (9-11) in the rest of the top half of the bracket. It’s no surprise that seeds 2-5 at Paulding decided to go in the top bracket with Edgerton over hanging out with Wayne Trace. Edgerton lost to both Ayersville and Antwerp (split) in the regular season.
Wayne Trace gets the winner of an improving Continental team and Patrick Henry. Fayette/North Central and Edon/Pettisville make up the remainder of the bottom part of the district. Wayne Trace has two losses to undefeated Convoy Crestview and a two-point setback to Van Wert Lincolnview. Brothers Corbin and Ethan Linder (Freshman) along with T.J. Blackmore lead a solid group for the Raiders.
District Favorites: Wayne Trace.
Sleepers: Edgerton and Ayersville.
Top Match Up: Antwerp vs. Holgate
Top Potential Match Up: Wayne Trace vs. Ayersville
Our Pick: Wayne Trace
Willard Upper vs. Willard Lower
Buckeye Central (18-2) earned the No. 1 seed at the Ontario HS Sectional after a stellar year in the North Central Conference. The Bucks have a big game against Colonel Crawford this week with a chance to win the conference outright. Buckeye Central lost to Crawford by 12 points in December. Following the regular season, the Bucks will get the winner of Mansfield St. Peter’s (12-9) and Crestline. Senior Cade Kaple, junior Austin Wurm, and senior Sam Robertson spearhead the Bucks’ attack. Norwalk St. Paul and South Central along with Fremont St. Joseph’s and Monroeville make up other two games in the top bracket. St. Pete’s beat Colonel Crawford in early February, which gives you an idea the Spartans can play with Buckeye Central.
Sandusky St. Mary (16-5) was awarded the top seed in the bottom bracket. The Panthers, who play in mainly a DII and DIII league in the Sandusky Bay Conference, are primed for a tournament run. St. Mary hasn’t lost a game outside of conference play. Seniors Denarius Harris and Melvin Jackson, and sophomore Trenton Zimmerman lead the way for the Panthers. The Panthers open up with Seneca East with the winner getting Danbury. Mansfield Christian (13-7), the winner of the Mid-Buckeye Conference, awaits the Plymouth (18-2)/Lucas triumphant. The Firelands Conference Champion, Plymouth, and Mansfield Christian could be a solid match up featuring MC sophomores Brandon Mount and Stevie Brown, and senior Caleb Young and Plymouth juniors Tyrell Ediminston and Tyler Beebee. The juniors recently went over the 1,000-point barrier in the same game.
Interesting to note, Buckeye Central owns a 14-point win over Plymouth on opening night. Plymouth came up one-point short in last year’s district title tilt against Colonel Crawford.
District Favorites: Sandusky St. Mary and Plymouth.
Sleepers: Buckeye Central and Mansfield Christian.
Top Match Up: Norwalk St. Paul vs. South Central
Top Potential Match Up: Sandusky St. Mary vs. Plymouth
Our Pick: Sandusky St. Mary
Lakota Upper vs. Lakota Lower
Toledo Ottawa Hills (17-1), who earned the No. 1 seed at the Eastwood HS Sectional, has dipped under the radar a bit despite winning 14-straight games after a (58-55, OT) loss to DI Sylvania Southview. The Green Bears, winners of last year’s district and a 2010 state semifinalist, possesses ridiculous size for a DIV team. Seniors R.J. Coil (6’9), Geoff Beans (6’6), and Ellis Cummings (6’7) will be a matchup nightmare for anyone in DIV. Coil (Marist) and Beans (Furman) are both D1 signees, and Beans is a 1,000-point scorer. However, the guard play of senior Ben Silverman and freshman Hunter Seiban could be the determining factor of just how far this team can go. Ottawa Hills gets the survivor of Cardinal Stritch (8-10) and North Baltimore. New Riegel and Arcadia will lock horns in another opener and the winner will get the remains of Tiffin Calvert and Vanlue. The Green Bears defeated Cardinal Stritch twice in the regular season, but with junior Austin Adams of Stritch, the Cardinals are always a threat.
Old Fort (15-5) earned the top seed at Fostoria High School and gets the winner of Fostoria St. Wendelin/Sycamore Mohawk. The Stockaders of Old Fort are unbeaten in Midland Athletic play led by District 6 Player of the Year (Hunter Perry). Gibsonburg (15-5), the two seed at Eastwood, will see another Toledo Area Athletic Conference foe in its opener regardless of the winner between Toledo Christian (13-7) and Maumee Valley Country Day (14-6). Gibsonburg could potentially play MVCD three times in 10 days. The Golden Bears of Gibsonburg are a very experienced team led by seniors Tyler Ernsthausen and Andrew Cantrell along with junior Jordan Kreglow, which could be a huge difference in March.
District Favorites: Ottawa Hills.
Sleepers: Old Fort, Gibsonburg, Toledo Christian, and MVCD.
Top Match Up: Toledo Christian vs. MVCD
Top Potential Match Up: Ottawa Hills vs. Gibsonburg
Our Pick: Ottawa Hills