Two local teams remain in the hunt for a Ohio State Championship. The LaSalle Lancers have been playing with the extra weight on their shoulders of not having Coach Fleming on the sideline and have turned in two great performances. Taft has gone through a dominant tournament run up until the Regional Final where they had to dig deep, but were able to get the win. Now, both teams are just two wins away from cutting down the nets and bringing home the trophy. Check back into CPHR throughout the week as we bring you exclusive coverage from both teams including a behind the scenes look at Taft as they prepare for Columbus.
- LaSalle vs Toledo Central Catholic: Friday 5:15- The Fighting Irish of TCC have pulled off a Cinderella run to reach the Final Four, somehow sidestepping Toledo St. Johns, Toledo Whitmer, defeating Findlay, and then in their first Regional Final since 1968 put together a great performance resulting in a 28 point win. To say that Central Catholic is feeling it right now would be an understatement. Fortunately for the Lancers, the Irish play a very familiar style of ball- Moeller's. The keys to winning this game for LaSalle will be the same as they were against Moeller- speed up the tempo, apply defensive pressure to not allow Central Catholic to execute, and to constantly attack the rim against slower defenders. LaSalle will be the favorites in this game, and if they play as well as they did in both Regional games they should advance to the title game.
- Prediction: LaSalle wins a close, and low scoring, game to advance to Saturday night's State Final against the winner of Garfield Heights and Columbus Northland.
- Taft vs Columbus Africentric: Friday 10:45- The Nubians are the fastest growing program in Columbus and have built up quite the stable of talent. They are led by 1st team All-District PG Maurice Taylor, Kalomo Figueroa-Jackson a big time shooter, and their strong yet quick wing Fuquan Tucker. These three help Africentric play the up and down style of ball that they love, which is very similar to Taft's. What they don't have however, is a player to stop Adolphus Washington down low or the depth to match up and run with Taft for a full 32 minutes. The Senators should be considered favorites in this one. Taft has several players who have been a part of championship teams (whether in football or on the AAU circuit), and they understand what it takes to closeout championship runs; CPHR thinks that the Senators will come out focused and take care of business in both weekend games.
- Prediction: Now that the prize is within reach Taft will come out clicking on all cylinders and run by Africentric. If they do then Taft will play on Saturday afternoon in the State Championship game against the winner of Cleveland Central Catholic and Portsmouth.
All State Semi-Final and State Championship games will be played at The Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University.