Rogers, Over and Out: Ohio’s Hoop Heart of it All? Dayton…

Rogers, Over and Out

By Tim Rogers

The Gem City will host Ohio’s top, toughest boys basketball district tournaments

Any sentence you read beyond this one is strictly conjecture. Don’t forget that.

The deepest and toughest Division I district basketball tournaments in Ohio are taking place in Dayton.

JJH_RogersNow, before all you folks from Cleveland, Columbus, Canton and Toledo begin pounding me on the internet, I refer to the opening sentence. Strictly conjecture.

I am not saying the eventual state champ will emerge from one of the four Dayton districts. But, I sure like the chances.

Other than a Lakewood St. Edward here or a Westerville South there, the heart of Ohio hoops beats in Dayton, at least in 2015.

By my count, 9 of the state’s top 25 teams will play in Dayton district tournaments. Four of them –Mason, Springfield, Cincinnati LaSalle and Kettering Fairmont – are in the same 14-team District 2.

If the Dayton 2 district isn’t the toughest road to the regional I’ll turn in my GPS. Using a special formula concocted from a variety of sources, the Dayton 2 District is high school basketball’s version of Canton’s city streets. There’s a pothole around every corner waiting to deflate as many tires (read: basketball dreams) as possible.

Are any of those Dayton 2 contenders capable of winning the state championship? Probably not. But, one will reach the regional at the University of Dayton and that will be an accomplishment unto itself. It also might provide the impetus an underdog team needs to become the belle of the ball by reaching the state semifinals.

Of course, in order to reach the Final Four the Dayton 2 winner will have to beat the survivors of the other districts in Dayton, teams such as Huber Heights Wayne, Wilmington, Centerville, Moeller, Elder and Lakota East.

It is not a banner year in the Northeast, at least in Division I. In addition to St. Edward, there are a handful of good teams such as Lorain, Shaker Heights, Garfield Heights, Massillon Jackson, Canton Timken, Green, Medina and East Tech. But, I can’t point to any of those and say they can win the state title.

Just for kicks, here are my picks to make up the Sweet 16, with longshots included.

REGION 1: St. Edward, Lorain, Lima and Sylvania Southview should be the four regional reps. But, don’t be surprised if Toledo St. John’s sneaks in ahead of Southview. I sure wouldn’t be.

REGION 2: Put all the contenders in a hat and draw a name. Jackson, Timken, Shaker Heights, Garfield Heights and either Green or Walsh Jesuit, are capable of making the regionals. On any given night — and we know that happens frequently in the postseason —  so are Medina, Warren Harding, East Tech and Uniontown Lake. My longshot? Mentor.

REGION 3: Westerville South, New Albany, Dublin Coffman and Gahanna Lincoln make the most sense. But, no one ever said tournament basketball was sensible. You have to respect Newark, Upper Arlington, Dublin Jerome and maybe New Albany. Delaware Hayes could be a sleeper.

REGION 4: I know heavyweights Mason, Wilmington, Centerville and Huber Heights Wayne are the favorites here. But, why in my dreams do I keep seeing all those purple and white Elder jerseys in the stands at Xavier’s Cintas Center? Wait, that’s not the Cintas Center. It’s Schottenstein Arena.

Remember, pure conjecture.


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