Breaking Down the Brackets: Southwest District predictions, sleepers, potential match ups and favorites

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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 Southwest District is comprised of four divisions (I, II, III, and IV). SW Ohio has flexed its muscle over the last 4 years, and could do so again in 2014. The district has won six of the last 16 state championships over the past four seasons winning 6-of-12 between 2010-2012.

STATEWIDE BRACKETS

Division I

Division I consists of four districts with all championship games being played at Xavier’s Cintas Center. The district semis will be spaced out between the Cintas Center (5) and the University of Dayton Arena (3). The winner of each district will move on to regional play at the Cintas Center.

The sectional sites for Cincinnati 1 District will be Fairfield HS and Centerville HS, Cincinnati 2 District will consist of Lakota West HS, Centerville HS, and Tecumseh HS, Cincinnati 3 District will be Butler HS and Lakota West HS, and Cincinnati 4 will have Hamilton HS.

stubbs_colCincinnati 1 Upper vs. Cincinnati 1 Lower

In the top half of the bracket, No. 2 Cincinnati LaSalle (15-5) opens up with Cincinnati Anderson with the winner getting Trenton Edgewood. No. 7 Mason (13-6) awaits the survivor of Cincinnati Turpin and Amelia. Turpin and Amelia is an intriguing first round matchup. The two teams played in December with Amelia winning (59-53). Amelia is (19-3) with Tommy Hacker, Garrett Weaver, and Keegan Carson leading the way. Turpin, who is just (10-11), is fueled by Miami (OH) signee Zach McCormick. We would be surprised if LaSalle isn’t playing Mason in the district semis. LaSalle, the 2011 Division I State Champs, has four kids averaging double figures in Jeffrey and Jeremy Larkin along with Tim Bell and freshman CJ Fleming.

In the bottom, Miamisburg (16-6) and Kettering Fairmont lock up in a GWOC battle with the victor facing Springboro, who is also out of the GWOC. The No. 1 seed at Centerville, Trotwood-Madison (19-2), will open up with Troy with Riverside Stebbins waiting in the wings. Miamisburg and Fairmont should be an outstanding contest. The Firebirds defeated Miamisburg in early December (68-65, OT), but the Vikings have won 7-of-8 since a loss to Stivers. Trotwood-Madison should own the top half of this bracket. The Rams are averaging a shade over 96 points per game in the month of February, which has resulted in five victories. Dezhontae Bennett, who leads the GWOC in scoring at 24.3 points per game, is coming off a 38-point performance on 16-of-22 shooting.

District Favorites: Trotwood-Madison and Cincinnati LaSalle.
Sleepers: Mason, Miamisburg, and Amelia.
Top Matchup: Miamisburg vs. Fairmont & Turpin vs. Amelia
Top Potential Matchup: Cincinnati LaSalle vs. Trotwood-Madison
Our Pick: Trotwood-Madison

Cincinnati 2 Upper vs. Cincinnati 2 Lower

No. 3 Fairfield (18-4) sits atop the Cincinnati 2 bracket awaiting the winner of Cincinnati St. Xavier (8-12) and Harrison. Fairfield, who has won eight-straight games, could get a very strong challenge from the St. X Bombers in its opener. The Bombers are led by Miami (OH) signee Rod Mills, while the Indians will counter with senior Herman Brunis. The rest of the top bracket features Cincinnati Northwest (16-5) tangling with Cincinnati Withrow (11-10) and Cincinnati Walnut Hills (13-6) meeting up with Cincinnati Colerain. Withrow is just a game above .500, but the trio of DeJuan Jones, Lamont West, and Tyonte Robertson are talented enough to pull off a couple upsets. Walnut Hills, who was a state semifinalist a year ago, is led by junior MaCio Teague, who is averaging 23 points per game game to lead the Eastern Cincinnati Conference. Walnut is well aware that Colerain has enough talent to be dangerous despite its (6-16) record.

The No. 2 seed at Centerville HS, Huber Heights Wayne (16-4), will face Lebanon in its opener with the hopes of playing West Carrollton in the next round. Xenia and Clayton Northmont and Vandalia Butler and No. 5 Centerville round the rest of the bottom bracket. Realistically, this should be a two team race with Wayne and Centerville. The Warriors are currently riding a five-game winning streak, and have three losses by a combine six points along with a 12-point setback to Findlay Prep (NV). The Warriors swept Centerville this season, but the combination of junior Joey Weingartner and senior Eric Meininger along with the coaching of Brook Cupps gives the Elks a legit chance against a Wayne team with seemingly endless talent.

District Favorites: Fairfield and Huber Heights Wayne.
Sleepers: Cincinnati St. Xavier, Walnut Hills, and Centerville.
Top Matchup: Cincinnati Northwest vs. Cincinnati Withrow
Top Potential Matchup: Fairfield vs. Huber Heights Wayne
Our Pick: Huber Heights Wayne

Cincinnati 3 Upper vs. Cincinnati 3 Lower

No. 3 Beavercreek (14-8) will get the winner of Piqua (12-10) and red-hot Dayton Fairborn (15-7), who has won eight consecutive games. Tecumseh (18-4) and Greeneville (14-8), and Sidney and No. 4 Springfield (17-5) make up the remainder of the top bracket. Fairborn recently beat Piqua (70-58) in early February, and with the way Jordan Michael and Malik Jacobs have been playing it may be another win for the Skyhawks. Piqua’s Colton Bachman went for 29 points in the last meeting. Beavercreek started the year 9-0, but is just 5-8 since. This team is very talented, and more than capable of a nice run. Greeneville lost at Tecumseh back on December 21st by a deuce, but has won four-straight led by sophomore Clay Guillozet. Tecumseh has won seven of its last eight games with Dalton Davis and sophomore Malik Quisenberry leading the way. Springfield appears to be a little ahead of schedule, and despite a little rough patch in February, the Wildcats have been very good. Though, Beavercreek has enjoyed some success against the Wildcats by sweeping the boys from Springfield. The Wildcats are fueled by guards Daeshawn Jackson, Henry Alexander, and freshman Danny Davis.

No. 1 Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller (19-1) resides in the bottom half of this bracket. The Crusaders are the No. 1 ranked team in our latest National Guard JJHuddle Division I Power Poll. Moeller has just one loss on the year, which was a four-point defeat to Providence (FL) featuring Duke signee Grayson Allen. The Crusaders will get Hamilton Ross in round one with the winner facing Cincinnati Western Hills, who is led by junior Dejuan Sherman and his 26.5 points per game. Lakota East (14-7), a junior heavy bunch, will face Loveland and senior Cole Cloud with the survivor meeting Little Miami. A Moeller/Lakota East district semifinal seems inevitable. The Crusaders led by Wright State signee Grant Benzinger and talented junior big man Nate Fowler and Lakota East with its trio of juniors Alex White, Dylan Lowry, and Mitchell Mays.

District Favorites: Cincinnati Moeller.
Sleepers: Lakota East, Springfield, and Beavercreek.
Top Matchup: Tecumseh vs. Greeneville
Top Potential Matchup: Cincinnati Moeller vs. Lakota East
Our Pick: Cincinnati Moeller

Cincinnati 4 Upper vs. Cincinnati 4 Lower

No. 4 Lakota West (16-6) will get the winner of Cincinnati Mt. Healty (14-6) and Glen Este. Milford (12-9) and Oak Hills (11-11) along with Wilmington (17-5) and Sycamore (10-10) round out the remainder of the top half of the district. Lakota West has five losses by seven points or fewer, and two good senior guards in Tyler Williams and Malik Grove. Wilmington has a very good record, and with cousins Jarron Cumberland (22.4 ppg.) and Jaevin Cumberland (21.7 ppg.) the Hurricane will have a chance on every night.

In the bottom half, No. 6 Cincinnati Elder (15-6) locks up with Kings Mills Kings (13-6) and the winner faces Hamilton. Middletown (15-6) will meet fellow GMC foe Princeton. Winton Woods awaits the victor. The resurgence of Elder has been good for the GCL and Brad Davis (15.8 ppg.) has been excellent. The Panthers get a team in Kings that upset Middletown in last year’s tournament. The Middies have two dangerous opponents standing in their way of a trip to the districts. Purdue signee Vince Edwards (Middletown) has enjoyed a stellar senior campaign scoring 21.4 points and grabbing 12.4 rebounds a night. Middletown hit a bump in the road in late January, but has won four-straight in February.

Elder and Lakota West split during the regular season. Middletown owns a (54-47) win at Lakota West.

District Favorites: Lakota West, Cincinnati Elder, and Middletown
Sleepers: Wilmington
Top Matchup: Wilmington vs. Sycamore
Top Potential Matchup: Lakota West vs. Middletown
Our Pick: Middletown

Division II

Division II in SW Ohio consists of three districts labeled Dayton 1, Dayton 2, and Dayton 3. Each district championship game will be held at UD Arena in Dayton and the three winners will meet up with the Columbus 2 District advancer for regional play at Kettering Fairmont’s Trent Arena.

The sectional sites will be Vandalia Butler HS, Springfield HS, Mason HS, Troy HS, and Trent Arena.

Dayton 1 Upper vs. Dayton 1 Lower

No. 4 Middletown Bishop Fenwick (16-5), a school that played in DIII a season ago, will take on the winner of Bellbrook and upstart Dayton Ponitz. Eaton will get top seeded Dayton Dunbar (19-3) and Carlisle will tangle with Valley View. We look for Ponitz (15-5) to advance past Bellbrook, but it should be an excellent game. Fenwick/Ponitz, a possible second round game, could be interesting. Fenwick is led by the senior duo of Kevin Christie and Frank Catrine. Ultimately, this should be Dunbar’s bracket. The Wolverines, who have won four of the last eight state championships, are yet to be beat by a team from Ohio. Junior guard Amos “AJ” Harris (Ohio State), and senior guards Will Green and Jordan Smith lead another stellar Dunbar outfit.

At Springfield, No. 6 Clarksville Clinton-Massie awaits the Springfield Northwestern/Springfield Shawnee (15-5) winner. Shawnee has won 11-straight games, which includes last night’s win over Urbana, a team that had previously won 13-straight. Dayton Carroll (12-10) plays Springfield Greenon and Kenton Ridge faces Indian Lake in the rest of the bottom bracket. We look for this half of the bracket to come down to Shawnee and Carroll. Shawnee led by Jaden Greenwood (16.9 ppg.) and Carroll spearheaded by Xander Smart. We would give Carroll a slight edge based off competition played. Also, keep an eye on Indian Lake’s Christian Grider (17.5 ppg.).

District Favorites: Dayton Dunbar
Sleepers: Bishop Fenwick, Dayton Ponitz, Springfield Shawnee, and Dayton Carroll.
Top Matchup: Bellbrook vs. Dayton Ponitz
Top Potential Matchup: Dayton Dunbar vs. Bishop Fenwick
Our Pick: Dayton Dunbar

Dayton 2 Upper vs. Dayton 2 Lower

No. 2 Cincinnati Archbishop McNicholas (14-7) opens up tournament play against Batavia with the winner getting Indian Hill (14-8). The rest of the top half of the district features Cincinnati Wyoming (19-3) versus New Richmond (17-5) and Goshen versus Cincinnati Woodward (11-11). Wyoming has enjoyed a stellar year thanks to the play of senior guard Ahmad Frost (20.7 ppg.), but we look for this bracket to come down to McNick and Woodward. Junior guard Isiah Jones leads Woodward in scoring at 20.9 points per game and McNick gets 14.2 points a night from Danny Byrne.

In the bottom bracket, No. 2 Franklin (19-3) awaits the survivor of Kettering Alter (10-9) and Monroe, while Dayton Oakwood faces the winner of No. 3 Thurgood Marshall (16-5) and Dayton Belmont. This half of the bracket should be very interesting. There is a chance Franklin could play just one tournament game as Alter is more than capable of beating the Wildcats. Alter started the year just 2-7, but has since went 8-2 with wins over Miamisburg, Roger Bacon, Kettering Fairmont, Bishop Fenwick, and Elder. The Knights are dominated by underclassmen, and appear primed to make a big tournament run. Keep an eye on freshman Keegan Saben, who could make a name for himself. Franklin will obviously have a chance no matter who the opponent when you have junior Luke Kennard, who is averaging 41 points and 10 rebounds a game. He is flanked by classmate Evan Crowe, who will need to really step up if the Wildcats hope to advance. Then, perhaps the best team in the district is Thurgood Marshall. The Cougars have just five losses on the year (Dunbar/x2, Taft, Richmond (IN), & Akron SVSM) despite a demanding schedule. Thurgood is seeking a little redemption from last season when the top-ranked Cougars were sent packing by Alter.

District Favorites: Thurgood Marshall, Franklin, and Kettering Alter
Sleepers: Cincinnati Woodward and Cincinnati McNicholas
Top Matchup: Cincinnati Wyoming vs. New Richmond
Top Potential Matchup: Kettering Alter vs. Franklin
Our Pick: Thurgood Marshall

Dayton 3 Upper vs. Dayton 3 Lower

No. 1 Urbana (17-5) starts off against St. Paris Graham with the winner getting No. 4 Bellefontaine (14-8). Urbana beat Bellefontaine (45-41) in mid-January. Bellefontaine has five players averaging between 7.8 and 10.8 points per game. Urbana started the year just 4-4 before winning 13 consecutive contests. No. 2 Tippecanoe (16-6) gets Dayton Meadowdale in its opener with Ben Logan awaiting. We wouldn’t be surprised if Meadowdale upsets Tippecanoe.

Top seed Cincinnati Hughes (13-8) leads off with North Bend Taylor with the winner facing Oxford Talawanda. No. 3 Cincinnati Taft opens up with Norwood in hopes of playing Western Brown in round two. It would be a shock if Hughes and Taft don’t meet in the bottom half of this bracket. The two teams split in the regular season, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the outcome of this one went either way. If we had to pick, we would likely go with Hughes, who seems to have a little more offensive firepower. Hughes’ quartet of Kevin Daniels Jr., Dwight Nared, Elijah Pughsley, and Mike Collins are all averaging doubles.

District Favorites: Cincinnati Hughes and Cincinnati Taft.
Sleepers: Urbana, Tippecanoe, Dayton Meadowdale, and Bellefontaine.
Top Matchup: Tippecanoe vs. Meadowdale
Top Potential Matchup: Cincinnati Hughes vs. Cincinnati Taft
Our Pick: Cincinnati Hughes

Division III

Division III in the Southwest District will have four districts this season compared to three the last two seasons. The districts are named Dayton 1, Dayton 2, Dayton 3, and Dayton 4.

The sectional sites will be Dayton Belmont HS, North Bend Taylor HS, Bellbrook HS, Western Brown HS, Monroe HS, Tippecanoe HS, Turpin HS, and Tecumseh HS.

The district won the 2012 state championship (Summit CD) and 2011 title (Cincinnati Taft) along with golds from 2005-2007 thanks to Cincinnati North College Hill. Reading won the 2003 trophy. In all, the SW District has won six of the 14 (D3) state championships this century.

Dayton 1 Upper vs. Dayton 1 Lower

No. 4 Cincinnati Madeira (17-5), winners of 10-straight, will get the winner of Cincinnati Purcell Marian (5-16) and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (15-7). No. 6 Hamilton Badin (11-11) will get Oyler. This should be interesting. The safe pick would be to take one of the two GCL teams in Badin or Purcell, but CHCA has won 6-of-7 led by big man Prince Micheal-Sammons, who is nearly averaging a double-double. Madeira is red-hot, but the CHL is a bit down this year.

West Liberty-Salem will await the survivor of No. 2 Dayton Stivers (10-9) and New Paris National Trail. Preble Shawnee will get Brookville in the other sectional opener. We would be surprised if Stivers doesn’t roll through this half of the bracket led by the backcourt duo of Robert and Roderick Caldwell.

District Favorites: Dayton Stivers.
Sleepers: Badin, CHCA, Purcell Marian, and Madeira.
Top Matchup: Purcell Marian vs. CHCA
Top Potential Matchup: Dayton Stivers vs. Hamilton Badin
Our Pick: Dayton Stivers

Dayton 2 Upper vs. Dayton 2 Lower

No. 2 Cincinnati Summit Country Day (15-6), who is officially 16-5 thanks to a forfeit, will open up with Blanchester and the winner gets Deer Park. League rivals Cincinnati Mariemont and Reading round out the top part of the district. Summit CD has won six-straight games and appears to be playing its best basketball of the year. Senior guard Antonio Woods (Penn) will be the best player on the floor most nights.

Anna gets Middletown Madison with the victor meeting Arcanum. Tri-County North has the difficult task of playing No. 3 Versailles in its opener. Versailles started the season 9-0 and things were looking great for the defending state runners-up until star junior Kyle Ahrens broke his leg. The Tigers are just 3-9 since the undefeated start. Next, second-leading scorer Damian Richard went down with a torn ACL. Evan Philpot and Jacob Wenning along with Ryan Knapke have stepped up, but it’s hard to replace a kid the caliber of Ahrens and a competitor/athlete like Richard.

District Favorites: Summit Country Day
Sleepers: Versailles
Top Matchup: Mariemont vs. Reading
Top Potential Matchup: Summit Country Day vs. Versailles
Our Pick: Summit Country Day

Dayton 3 Upper vs. Dayton 3 Lower

No. 1 Cincinnati Roger Bacon (16-4) opens with North College Hill with the winner getting Bethel-Tate. St. Bernard Elmwood Place versus Williamsburg makes up the other part of the top bracket. Roger Bacon’s four losses are to GCL South teams Moeller, LaSalle, and Elder along with Kettering Alter. The Spartans are a heavy favorite in this district led by seniors Carlas Jackson, Austin Frentsos, and Fred Moore. We would be shocked if Roger Bacon doesn’t glide to regional play.

Waynesville takes on Miami East with Dayton Northridge awaiting the winner. Milton-Union and Twin Valley South round out the rest of the district. This should be a very competitive bracket. We won’t be surprised anyway this plays out. All five teams can advance down here.

District Favorites: Roger Bacon
Sleepers: None
Top Matchup: Milton-Union vs. Twin Valley South
Top Potential Matchup: Waynesville vs. Dayton Northridge
Our Pick: Roger Bacon

Dayton 4 Upper vs. Dayton 4 Lower

No. 1 Dayton Chaminade Julienne (11-9) opens the tournament against Springfield Northeastern with the winner facing Jamestown Greeneview. New Lebanon Dixie and Dayton Christian will square off in the other sectional opener. CJ started the year 4-8, but has won seven of its last eight games following a loss to Lakota East at the Flyin to the Hoop. Since then, the Eagles have beat Lima CC, Beavercreek, Kettering Alter, and Cincinnati McNicholas. Senior C.J. Riazzi and junior Myo Baxter-Bell are leading the way.

In the bottom bracket, No. 3 Cincinnati Clark Montessori (19-3) lines up against Batavia Clermont NE with the remains getting Felicity Franklin. A dangerous No. 7 seed, Cincinnati Shroder (10-7), plays Finneytown and East Clinton awaits. Clark Montessori and Shroder met early in the season with Shroder winning (77-70). Clark’s only other losses are to Cincinnati Summit CD. Clark is led by senior guard Malik Rhodes, while Shroder is getting more than 20 points per game from both juniors Ditalion Battle and Jalen Avery.

District Favorites: Dayton CJ
Sleepers: Cincinnati Clark Montessori and Cincinnati Shroder
Top Matchup: New Lebanon Dixie and Dayton Christian
Top Potential Matchup: Cincinnati Shroder vs. Cincinnati Clark Montessori
Our Pick: Dayton CJ

Division IV

The Southwest District has three DIV districts, which are named Dayton 1, Dayton 2, and Dayton 3. The three winners will move on to regional play at Kettering Fairmont’s Trent Arena to hook up with the Wapakoneta District out of the the NW District.

Troy HS, Oak Hills HS, and Piqua HS will be the assigned sectional sites for what should be the deepest DIV district in Ohio. The number of quality teams is at an all-time high for this district. Dayton Jefferson (2010) was the last SW Ohio team to win a state championship.

Dayton 1 Upper vs. Dayton 1 Lower

No. 3 Troy Christian (20-2) opens tournament play with a contest against Metro Buckeye Conference foe Miami Valley, who is led by Corde’ Donald. The winner gets South Charleston Southeastern. In the other half of the bracket, Cedarville plays Springfield Catholic Central and Dayton Jefferson meets No. 2 Franklin Monroe (19-3). Dayton Jefferson is led by lefty Nate Sheppard.  Troy Christian is currently riding an eight-game winning streak paced by talented junior guard Grant Zawadzki and his 23.4 points, 6.7 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.9 steals a game. Seniors Spencer Thomas, Holden Varvel, Logan George, and Aaron Horn along with 6-foot-7 junior Dusty Poteet provide the Eagles with plenty of talent around Zawadzki. Franklin Monroe has been fantastic as well winning 19 of its first 20 games before dropping the last two to Bethel (63-62) and DII Dayton Ponitz. The balanced Jets lost to Troy Christian (64-58) in early January, but we won’t be surprised to see a rematch.

No. 2 Georgetown (17-5), a team flying under the radar, gets Hamilton New Miami in round one in the hopes of playing Gamble Montessori, who received a bye. The remainder of the bracket has Fayetteville-Perry (13-7) versus Lockland and Riverview East facing Seven Hills. Georgetown, who dropped down from DIII, has yet to lose to a team in DIV. The G-Men dropped decisions to Bishop Brossart (KY), Eastern Brown, Clark Montessori, and DI Amelia (x2). Georgetown has just one senior on the roster. Juniors Jake Cropper (17.9 ppg.), Gage Bradley (12.9 ppg.), Jacob Miller (11.2 ppg.), and Tanner Pack (8.9 ppg.) along with senior Bruce Williams (9.4 ppg.) have the sparked the 2007 DIV State Champs back to prominence. Two teams Georgetown needs to look out for are Fayetteville-Perry with its dynamic scorer Dj Iles (24.0 ppg.) along with Max Iles (14.6 ppg.) and Tanner Fowler (13.7 ppg.) and Lockland who was forced to forfeit four games this season. Lockland owns a win over Summit CD (had to forfeit), who beat Clark Montessori twice.

District Favorites: Troy Christian, Georgetown, and Franklin Monroe
Sleepers: Lockland and Fayetteville-Perry
Top Matchup: Fayetteville-Perry vs. Lockland
Top Potential Matchup: Troy Christian vs. Georgetown
Our Pick: Georgetown

Dayton 2 Upper vs. Dayton 2 Lower

No. 2 Houston (13-8) chose to take a bye and will face the winner of No. 5 Mechanicsburg (17-4) and Covington. Mississinawa Valley and DeGraff Riverside will lock up in the bottom part of the top bracket with the winner facing the No. 4 Fort Loramie (12-10)/Bradford survivor. Houston and Fort Loramie split during the regular season, and it appears a tie breaker will occur if things play out the way we see it.

The bottom bracket features No. 1 seed Tri-Village (20-1) and No. 4 Tipp City Bethel (18-3). T-V will start against Newton Local with the possibility of meeting Emmanuel Christian in round two. Bethel faces Yellow Springs as No. 5 Xenia Christian (16-6), who is led by Justin Martin and Jordan Freeman, awaits the winner. Tri-Village continues to be one of the best small school programs in Ohio and the trio of Tyler Cook, Colton Linkous, and Damion Cook have their sights set on a trip to Columbus. Coach Josh Sagester’s bunch have compiled 66 wins over the last three seasons. A date with Bethel is imminent. Bethel’s Patrick Bain is one of the better plays most people outside of his area have never heard about. Tri-Village beat Bethel (58-55) earlier in the year, so there is no reason to believe the rematch won’t be just as good.

District Favorites: Tri-Village and Bethel
Sleepers: Houston and Fort Loramie
Top Matchup: Mississinawa Valley vs. Riverside
Top Potential Matchup: Tri-Village vs. Bethel
Our Pick: Tri-Village

Dayton 3 Upper vs. Dayton 3 Lower

No. 1 Russia (18-4), a team we have mistakenly overlooked throughout the year, plays Ansonia in round one with the survivor facing Botkins. No. 3 Jackson Center (13-7) plays Sidney Fairlawn and Lewisburg Triad gets Sidney Lehman Catholic. The Russia Raiders somehow slipped past us for much of the year. The Raiders started the season just 2-3 before winning 16 consecutive games. The streak was halted in the regular season finale by Marion Local (59-57). Russia dropped a three-point decision to St. Henry, a five-point defeat to Jackson Center, and a 12-point setback to Anna. However, the Raiders avenged the losses to Jackson Center (63-37) and Anna (52-48) in the midst of their 16-game streak. The Raiders, who are led by Gavin Hoying, will likely see Jackson Center for a third time next Friday.

The bottom part of the district sees the Cincinnati School For Creative Arts (16-5) locking up with Cincinnati Christian (11-11) and Middletown Christian taking on Cincinnati Country Day (10-12). Below, Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy meets Ripley-Union and No. 1 seed and overwhelming favorite, Cincinnati Aiken (12-9), plays Cincinnati Hillcrest Academy. The Aiken Falcons should dominate down here. The Falcons have won 7-of-8 contests, which is bad news for the rest of DIV. Aiken, who was DII a year ago, plays in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference with the likes of Withrow, Taft, Hughes, Woodward, and Shroder. Six players (Carlik Jones, Corey Cavins, Damon Harris, Kam Moore, Terrance Gholston, and Michael Shaw) average between 7.2 and 12.3 points a game. Cavins and Shaw are the only seniors of those six.

District Favorites: Cincinnati Aiken and Russia
Sleepers: Jackson Center
Top Matchup: Lehman Catholic vs. Lewisburg Triad
Top Potential Matchup: Cincinnati Aiken vs. Russia
Our Pick: Cincinnati Aiken

 

 

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