Division III 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 III Schedule

*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.
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Division III Previews

Cleveland VASJ (21-7) is embarking on its 13th state tournament and is looking to tie Akron SVSM by winning a sixth state championship. VASJ will try and become the second team to win back-to-back championships on three different occasions, joining Middletown. The Vikings won the Division IV state championship a season ago in dominant fashion, but the new enrollment figures bumped the Cleveland school up to Division III. St. Joe’s endured one of the toughest schedules in state history, and still managed to win 15 regular season games. The Vikings played five nationally ranked teams including Lakewood St. Edward, which doesn’t include Ohio powers Bishop Watterson, Akron SVSM, Mentor and Cleveland St. Ignatius. VASJ also played state semifinalist St. Thomas Aquinas (x2) and regional semifinalist Richmond Heights during its 22-game slate. Most basketball pundits figured the Vikings would run through the tournament, but their last three games against Warrensville Heights, Canton Central Catholic and Youngstown Ursuline have been nothing close to easy. Junior Carlton Bragg, a consensus Top 10 player nationally, scored 21 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and blocked four shots helping VASJ overcome a game Ursuline squad. Junior Brian Parker, one of the state’s most underrated players, finished with 15 points. Parker is the reigning Northeast Lakes District Player of the Year. Junior Simon Texidor (3rd Team All-District) also chipped in 15 and 6-8 junior Derek Pardon totaled eight points, 14 rebounds, and an impressive nine blocks. Parker, Bragg, and Pardon were all 1st Team All-District performers. In the win over Canton CC, Bragg led the way with 22 points and 12 rebounds, Parker added 21 points, Pardon chipped in 14 points and eight boards, and Texidor tallied 13 points. Though, perhaps Joe’s toughest game came in the district final against Warrensville Heights where it trailed by four points at halftime before using a 21-4 advantage in the 3rd quarter helping it to a (75-62) triumph. Bragg had 29 points and 14 rebounds, which included a 15-of-16 showing at the free-throw line in the 2nd half. Bragg missed five games this season due to injury and the Vikings went 4-1. VASJ comes into the final four as the highest scoring team (74.3 ppg.) in Division III, but will face the team giving up the fewest in Bishop Ready (44.5 ppg.).

Columbus Bishop Ready (21-5) enters its fifth state tournament in hopes of capturing its third state championship and first since winning back-to-back titles in 1972 and 1973. It’s no secret; Ready gets it done on defense, giving up just 44.5 points per game. The Silver Knights held a Lucasville Valley team that scored 80 points or more on five different occasions to just five points at halftime. Ready had to hold on for a 38-33 win, giving head coach Don Worstell an incredible 50th birthday present. Shane Lee paced Ready with 11 points followed by Jimmy Hanley’s nine points. Josh Gantz (UMASS Lowell) added six points, five rebounds, and three blocks. Gantz and Lee evenly split 24 counters in a regional semis triumph of Wheelersburg, and Hanley chipped in nine. Ready held the Pirates to just 35 points. The Silver Knights are giving up a shade over 38 points per game throughout their five tournament games, which included a win over Bishop Hartley, a team that beat Ready two times during the regular season. The Silver Knights are a very experienced team, which includes two four-year lettermen in point guard Kelly Culbertson and Matt Yoho, who quarterbacked the football team. Hanley (1st Team All-District) and Gantz (2nd Team All-District) were all-district performers.

Cincinnati Roger Bacon (22-4) has a senior class that has played in three prior regionals, coming up short each time, but the fourth time proved good for the Spartans. The Cincinnati-based school finally got over the hump by defeating Summit Country Day, 49-46, to advance to its fifth state tournament and first since shocking the state in 2002 by defeating nationally-ranked Akron SVSM. A season ago, the Spartans knocked off the 2012 defending state champions, Summit Country Day, in the regional semis and then came up short against Versailles two days later. Roger Bacon, which is 88-22 the past four seasons, will face a team that felt its pain in Lima CC. The Spartans’ road to Columbus included regional wins over Dayton Stivers and Summit CD. Senior Austin Frentsos scored 15 points in the win over Stivers, which included his 1,000th point. Classmate Carlas Jackson (1st Team All-Southwest District) paced Bacon with 21 points and senior Fred Moore added 17. Junior Dahmere Epperson and sophomore Trey McBride evenly divided 18 counters. It was fitting that the GCL Central Player of the Year, Carlas Jackson, led the way with 26 points in the win over Summit CD. Seniors Reggie Williams and Cody Niesen are other viable options for Roger Bacon. Head coach Brian Neal’s club is giving up just under 40 points per game in its six tournament wins. The Spartans’ four losses on the year came to three Division I GCL South teams in Moeller, LaSalle and Elder and the other was to a red-hot Kettering Alter team.

Lima Central Catholic (23-4) saw its frustrations come to an end last Saturday when the Thunderbirds finally overcame Ottawa-Glandorf in the tournament. LCC had lost in the tournament to O-G in each of head coach Frank Kill’s first three seasons as headman. Three years ago it was a district final (56-54), two years ago it was a regional final (44-38) and last year it was a regional semifinal (60-52). Ottawa-Glandorf went on to win the Div. III championship last season. Following LCC’s 2010 state championship, legendary head coach Bob Seggerson retired and Kill took over. Kill has gone (87-14) in his first four seasons. Central Catholic is making its seventh trip to the state tournament. The Thunderbirds, who are playing their first season as an independent, lost three games by a total of six points. Their other loss was to Div. IV state semifinalist and undefeated Convoy Crestview. LCC scored repeat wins over Findlay Liberty-Benton in the district finals and Ottawa-Glandorf in the regional finals along with a regional semis victory over Worthington Christian. The Thunderbirds got 18 points from senior Martyce Kimbrough (Indianapolis), who scored his 1,000th point in the contest. Sophomore point guard Xavier Simpson (2nd Team All-Northwest District), who many consider the best lead guard in Ohio for his class, contributed 14 points, seven assists and four steals. Sophomore Tre Cobbs added 13 points and classmate Dantez Walton chipped in six. Kimbrough (1st Team All-Northwest District) scored 19 points in the regional clincher. The T-Birds have eight underclassmen in their 10-man rotation, including three sophomores (Simpson, Cobbs, and Walton) who are 2nd-4th in scoring. LCC is giving up just over 48 points per game on the year and a notch below 42 points an outing in the tournament.

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)
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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)
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Preview
Players to Watch

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