Mar 25, 2011

State Championship Preview:

The final day of the ’10-’11 HS season is now upon is, with only the State Championship games remaining, we, as Cincinnati fans, should feel proud to still have two teams in the title hunts. Both games should be interesting, LaSalle will be looked at as the underdog against a Northland team that flexed its muscles against Garfield Heights (but also showed some signs of weakness) while Taft will be viewed as the favorite in their game against Cleveland Central Catholic.

Trey Burke is Ohio's Mr. Basketball, but headed to Michigan.
Division I 
  • LaSalle vs Columbus Northland- 8:30 PM @ Schottenstein Center:  The Vikings are not short on size, and they sure aren’t short on talent, as they have the most talented starting five in the state of Ohio. Junior 6’8 forwards Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott (both high-major recruits) are long, athletic, and can dominate the game on either end (as well as the glass). Junior guards Ke’Shaun Lewis and Jordan Potts, who are also division one recruits, can shoot the lights out and get hot at any time. Northland also has Ohio’s Mr. Basketball in senior PG Trey Burke (a Michigan signee) who has had a spectacular season with averages of 24 points and 6 assists. With all this being said, Northland is not invincible, especially when Dan Fleming is the coach on the other bench.  LaSalle will need to keep the big men off the glass, not let Trey Burke get loose (easier said then done), and close out on their shooters when on defense. Offensively, expect the Lancers to patiently execute their motion offense if they are unable to beat Northland’s slower players down the floor. If Josh Lemons, Brandon Neel, Trey Casey, Ryan Fleming and the rest of the Lancers are feeling their jump shots then this is anyone’s game.
    •  Prediction: Northland is the clear favorite but LaSalle is on quite a run. Look for the Lancers to embrace their underdog status and push the Vikings to the limit (Coach Fleming’s strategizing will be a factor), but for Northland to take the State Title in a close game behind the play of Mr. Basketball- Trey Burke.  

Anton Grady
Division III
  • Taft vs Cleveland Central Catholic- 4:30 PM @ Schottenstein Center: CCC goes as their superstar Anton Grady goes. Grady, a 6-8 senior PF (and Cleveland State signee), shared the D-III State Player of the Year award with Taft’s Adolphus Washington; setting up a great matchup down low. Grady, however, is an inside-outside player who can score from anywhere inside twenty feet; for the season he has posted averages of 22 points and 15 rebounds.  Taft might put the more athletic Dwayne Stanford on Grady to try and contain his dribble or use the physicality of Washington on him. Taft will also look to speed the pace of this game up and force CCC into turnovers (while trying to not have the same turnover problems of their own that they had in the semi-finals). Expect Taft to face a zone defense where they will need to be patient and get the ball inside to open up cuts, spot up jumpers for the Lowe’s, and gaps for the other guards to penetrate on the kick out.
    • Prediction: The Senators have been the title favorites all year and that’s not going to change before tip-off. If they contain Grady then they should go home with the hardware. CPHR feels that they will finish the game as Ohio’s D-III champions.

CPHR will also try and make it over to the morning Division II Championship between Dayton’s Thurgood Marshall and Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary’s (lots of talent will be on the floor in this one). Check in with our Facebook page for score updates and more, all day long. 

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