Division II Boys Basketball State Tournament Preview: Top Players, Stats, Tip Times, Live Broadcasts and More

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The 92nd Ohio High School Boys Basketball State Tournament tips off Thursday at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center. Here are the vitals for the weekend: Previews, Schedules, Live Broadcasts, Tickets, Brackets and More…It’s all here.

92nd Ohio HS Boys Basketball State Tournament

Division II Schedule

*State Semifinal
Thursday, 10:45 a.m.
Norwalk (27-1, No. 3 JJH/No. 2 AP) vs Dayton Thurgood Marshall (22-5, No. 5 JJH/No. 6 AP)
Listen Live
Preview
Players to Watch

*State Semifinal
Thursday, 2 p.m.
Watterson (25-2, No. 2 JJH/No. 4 AP) vs Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (19-9, No. 4 JJH/NR AP)
Listen Live
Preview
Players to Watch

*State Final
Saturday, 10:30 a.m.
Listen Live

Division II Previews

Norwalk (27-1) endured two games during regional play that would make many crumble. The Truckers, who are making their first state tournament appearance, slipped past Vermillion in overtime, 87-81, thanks in part to 32 points and 13 rebounds from senior Jeff Thomas (Georgia State), 25 points from senior Ben Haraway (Malone) and 16 points by senior Jordan Johnson. Norwalk followed that up with a 54-53 slugfest with Lima Bath where Haraway scored 20 points, which included 18 in the first half. Thomas added 14 points and seven rebounds. Senior Grant Hull is another key member for the Truckers, who make a living off creating turnovers. Norwalk is stingy on defense, giving up just 48 points per game. Haraway (2nd Team All-Northwest District) and Thomas (1st Team All-Northwest District) are both four-year mainstays. Norwalk is (74-3) over the past three seasons, which included a 57-game regular season winning streak that was snapped by an overtime loss to Ontario this year. The Truckers currently have won 13 consecutive games.

Dayton Thurgood Marshall (22-5) is making its fourth trip to Columbus after three previous runner-up finishes, one of which was under the name Dayton Colonel White. Thurgood will be making its third trip to Value City Arena in six seasons. The Cougars had to get past rival Dayton Dunbar in the regional semis, a team they lost to in both regular season meetings. Thurgood got 18 points from senior sharpshooter Dwayne Chastain, 15 from classmate Davion Ashe and 11 by talented sophomore Derrick Daniels in the triumph of Dunbar. Thurgood also avenged a regular season loss to Cincinnati Taft in the regional final behind 20 points from Daniels and 14 by senior Tremayne Hawkins. The Cougars have possessed some talented teams over the past six years, but this team appears to have the chemistry, guards and shooting to get the job done. Senior RaChaun Martin (1st Team All-Southwest District), sophomore D.J. Hoskins, Ashe, Hawkins and Chastain make up a stellar backcourt that is capable of controlling a contest. Thurgood is playing as well as it ever has entering the state tournament. Thurgood’s starting five has great balance averaging between nine and 13 points a game. The Cougars also defeated the Franklin Wildcats and Cincinnati Wyoming along the tourney trail, who featured the Southwest District POY in Luke Kennard and 1st Team All-District performer Ahmad Frost.

Akron SVSM (19-9), which has become a state tournament staple since the days of LeBron James in the early 2000s, will once again try to tie Middletown with a seventh state championship. SVSM was denied in the title game a year ago by the same team it will meet in Thursday’s state semifinal contest, Columbus Bishop Watterson. The Irish missed a game-tying triple as time expired. Senior Jalen Hudson, a Virginia Tech signee, scored 17 points in that contest. Hudson (1st Team All-District) scored nine points in a hard-fought regional championship game win over Poland Seminary and tallied a game-high 21 points in a regional semis triumph of Mentor Lake Catholic. Sophomore V.J. King, who is regarded as one of the top sophomores in the country, led the Irish in scoring with 14 points against Poland. King (1st Team All-District) totaled 16 points against Lake Catholic. The 6-7 sophomore was just 1-of-6 from the field against Watterson in last year’s title tilt and 4-of-10 against Vincent Warren in the semis. Junior guard Josh Williams (2nd Team All-District), an Akron commitment, evenly split 22 points in the two regional encounters. Junior Jabri Blount notched eight points, six steals and five boards in SVSM’s last game. Also, keep an eye on explosive sophomore Henry Baddley, who is one of the state’s top high-fliers. Senior guard Jarel Woolridge is another key contributor to the Irish success. The Irish played one of the state’s top schedules and come to Columbus riding a season-best nine-game winning streak. SVSM’s last three setbacks are by a combined seven points. Head coach Dru Joyce’s squad played nine teams during the regular season that made the regional tournament.

Columbus Bishop Watterson (25-2), which is the defending state champion, returns to the final four looking to win back-to-back state championships. The Eagles made a dramatic run a season ago, which ended in defeating the team they will meet on Thursday, Akron SVSM. Watterson scored 108 points in its two wins at last season’s final four, and all but 16 of those points return. Seniors Matt Hughes and Cody Calhoun evenly split 28 counters against the Irish a season ago. Classmates Matt Lehmann and Andy Grieser added eight and six points respectively. Hughes (21 points), Lehmann (14 points) and Calhoun (9 points) combined for 44 points in a state semis victory over a previously red-hot Kettering Alter team. The Eagles took a different route this season going through the Athens Regional. The Columbus-based school trailed early in its regional semifinal game against Logan Elm, but ended up winning by 17 points thanks to a signature Watterson run. Matt Hughes led the Eagles with 26 points and Grieser added 11. Lehmann chipped in nine points and classmate Joey Diorio helped out with seven. Watterson used another late-game run to pull away from John Glenn in its regional final game as Lehmann led the way with 24 points, Diorio and Calhoun combined for 22, and Grieser totaled eight. Watterson beefed up the out-of-conference schedule this season, which resulted in a cherished win over Cleveland VASJ at the Play4Cancer Shootout. Watterson defeated the Columbus City League winner, Columbus Brookhaven, twice. The Eagles suffered through the latter half of the season with nagging injuries to Lehmann (3rd Team All-Central District) and Hughes (1st Team All-Central District), which played a part in losses to Middletown and Upper Arlington. The Eagles are (53-3) over the past two seasons. Head coach Vince Lombardo and his Eagles are giving up just 46 points per game, which are the fewest points allowed of the four Div. II teams.

COMPLETE SCHEDULE

DIVISION I

*State Semifinal
Friday, 5:15 p.m.
St. Edward (24-2, No. 3 JJH/No. 3 AP) vs Cleveland East Tech (24-3, NR JJH/NR AP)
Listen Live
Preview
Players to Watch

*State Semifinal
Friday, 8:30 p.m.
Upper Arlington (25-2, NR JJH/NR AP) vs Trotwood-Madison (25-2, NR JJH/No. 5 AP)
Listen Live
Preview
Players to Watch

*State Final
Saturday, 8:30 p.m.
Listen Live

DIVISION II

*State Semifinal
Thursday, 10:45 a.m.
Norwalk (27-1, No. 3 JJH/No. 2 AP) vs Dayton Thurgood Marshall (22-5, No. 5 JJH/No. 6 AP)
Listen Live
Preview
Players to Watch

*State Semifinal
Thursday, 2 p.m.
Watterson (25-2, No. 2 JJH/No. 4 AP) vs Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (19-9, No. 4 JJH/NR AP)
Listen Live
Preview
Players to Watch

*State Final
Saturday, 10:30 a.m.
Listen Live

DIVISION III

*State Semifinal
Friday, 10:45 a.m.
Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph (21-7, No. 2 JJH/No. 2 AP) vs Columbus Ready (21-5, NR JJH/No. 6 AP)
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Preview
Players to Watch

*State Semifinal
Friday, 2 p.m.
Roger Bacon (21-4, No. 3 JJH/No. 5 AP) vs Lima Central Catholic (23-4, No. 5 JJH/No. 7 AP)
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Preview
Players to Watch

*State Final
Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
Listen Live

DIVISION IV

*State Semifinal
Thursday, 5:15 p.m.
Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas (17-11, No. 8 JJH/No. 9 AP) vs Harvest Prep (26-1, No. 7 JJH/No. 4 AP)
Listen Live
Preview
Players to Watch

*State Semifinal
Thursday, 8:30 p.m.
Tri-Village (26-1, No. 4 JJH/No. 2 AP) vs Convoy Crestview (27-0, No. 1 JJH/No. 1 AP)
Listen Live
Preview
Players to Watch

*State Final
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Listen Live

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