Mar 24, 2012

Summit Wins D3 State Championship

Cincinnati has a state trophy coming back to the city again this year as the Summit Country Day Silver Knights won their first Ohio State Championship in boys basketball in school history with a convincing 16 points victory over the Portsmouth Trojans in the D3 title game….. Celebration Photos

Summit 53 Portsmouth 37: A focused Silver Knights team jumped out an 11-2 lead after the first quarter behind some great defensive energy, forcing Portsmouth into contested jumpers and turnovers, leading to a comfortable victory for the State Championship. Summit would lead by eight at the half and first extend the lead to double figures moments into the third quarter behind 7 straight points, and an assist, from junior guard Kevin Johnson. “KJ” had one of the better games of his storied career totaling 11 points and 8 assists in the game and making it look easy as he blew by Trojan defenders off the dribble. With Portsmouth making a run to cut the margin to just five it was sophomore guard Antonio Woods, of Summit, who hit the biggest shot of the game. Woods nailed a three at the buzzer to end the third quarter, re-extending Summit’s lead back to eight headed into the final period. The star point guard’s play was extremely gutsy considering he was unable to start, and almost unable to play, due to a knee injury that he suffered in the semifinal game. The Knights then opened the third quarter with four more points, all by senior center Holden Hertzel, to put any doubts to rest. Sophomore forward Mike Barwick provided the dagger for Summit with just 2:06 remaining as his hoop plus the foul gave the Knights their biggest lead at 48-30. For the game Summit got 11 points from Johnson and Barwick, 9 points from defensive stopper and junior guard Jake Rawlings, 8 points from Woods, and 7 points from both Hertzel and senior sharpshooter Tommy Kreyenhagen. Portsmouth was led by the 16 points of Zaide Whitley and the 13 points of Dion McKinley in the loss. The win gave Summit their first ever State Championship and head coach Mike Bradley couldn’t have been more proud after the game, complimenting the team on their desire, attention to detail, and team togetherness. Bradley was particularly complimentary of Kevin Johnson, saying that the guard could easily have averaged 25 points somewhere else but chose to play within the Summit system, where he took just eleven shots a game and was still the most dominating player in the Division III State Tournament. 

State Title Game Previews

The final day of the Ohio high school basketball season will be on Saturday as four State Championship games will be played at Ohio State University. Three of the four SW regional champs made it to the title game with Summit (Division III) being the only local team still alive......

Division I
·         Toledo Whitmer vs Pickerington Central: Saturday 8:30 PM – The only game of the four State Finals that doesn’t feature a Southwest Regional Champion. The big boy Nigel Hayes for Toledo Whitmer was excellent in his semifinal game today and will be counted on for another star performance, along with senior guard Leroy Alexander, to defeat Pick Central. The boys in purple from Pickerington will rely heavily on senior guard Caris Levert and sophomore forward Jae’sean Tate to try and get their title.
o   Prediction: Expecting a good game, going to go with Toledo Whitmer in a close one.

Division II
·         Dayton Dunbar vs Elida: Saturday 4:30 PM – While not many people seem to believe that Dunbar can be beaten the Elida players and fans sure do. Elida turned in a great team performance in a dominant 61-27 semifinal win over St Clairsville and showed that they are capable of playing with a team of Dunbar’s talent. Senior wing Reggie McAdams, a 6’6 Akron signee, will probably be the best player on the court (he’s going to have to be for his Bulldogs team to compete). The key to the game will be Elida’s ability to limit turnovers. If they can hold on to the ball to slow down the Dunbar break, keeping the game in the half court then they have a chance. All that being said Dunbar has far superior overall talent, depth, athleticism, size, and two seniors in Deontae “Teddy” Hawkins and Gary Akbar that have won a State Championship before. With Dunbar’s two main guards, Andre Yates and freshman AJ Harris, playing as well as they are it’s tough to envision the Wolverines losing.
o   Prediction: Playing for the ring Dunbar comes out focused and wins by double digits.

Division III
·         Cincinnati Summit vs Portsmouth: Saturday 1:30 PM – The first obstacle for Summit will be the health of star sophomore PG Antonio Woods, who tweaked his knee in Thursday’s semifinal victory over Bedford Chanel. Assuming Woods is good to go then Summit should enter this game as favorites because of their guard play. There simply isn’t a team here in Columbus at the D-III level that can contain Summit’s combo of Woods and junior Kevin Johnson. Combine those two with the interior scoring of senior Holden Hertzel, and the role play of Mike Barwick, Jake Rawlings, and Tommy Kreyehagen, and you have a Summit team that seems destined to win themselves a ring. Portsmouth has three main scoring options that Summit will have to contain with their disciplined defense. 6’6 senior center Dion McKinley should bang down low with Hertzel after going for 13 points and 13 boards in their semifinal win over Ottawa-Glandorf, junior guard Jayllen Carter will most likely draw Woods after posting 23 points in their last game, and Johnson should see senior guard Wayne Evans who tallied 22 points last game for Portsmouth. With Summit’s top three players facing Portsmouth’s top three the game will likely be decided by individual matchups.
o   Prediction: Summit’s guards, and stingy defense, will be too much for Portsmouth and the Silver Knights will win their first ever State Championship.

Division IV
·         Jackson Center vs Berlin Hiland: Saturday 10:30 AM – Another Southwest regional champion has made the State Title game in Jackson Center, who knocked off Columbus Africentric in a thrilling comeback win on Thursday. JC has their work cut out for them in matching up with defending D-IV champions Berlin Hiland, who feature two stars in senior SF Dylan Kaufman and senior PF Seger Bonifant. Andy Hoying, Jackson Center’s star senior forward, will have to neutralize Bonifant and hope his team is able to find a way to slow down Kaufman. Adding to Berlin Hiland’s advantage they also feature 6’7 senior post Neil Gingerich. To win the game JC will have to really shoot the three well like they did with 7 makes in their semifinal win.
o   Prediction: Berlin Hiland makes it a repeat with a comfortable win. 

Mar 23, 2012

Fairfield's Magical Run Ends in State Semis

Pickerington Central forward Jae'sean Tate
The Fairfield Indians came out of nowhere this season to reach the State Semifinals after winning the Division I Southwest Regional Championship. On Friday the Indians were eliminated in the semifinals by a very talented Pickerington Central team......

Pickerington Central 60 Fairfield 45: The Indians competed all game long with the tall and talented local team but a big third quarter run led by the powerful play of 6'5 sophomore forward Jae'sean Tate gave the Tigers a comfortable lead that they would hold on to for the remainder of the game. Tate would finish with 16 points and 13 rebounds to lead Pickerington Central, while senior guard (and Ohio University signee) Caris Levert scored 13 points. Versatile 6'5 sophomore Javon "JB" Bess added 10 key points for Pickerington Central, while senior guard Chad Nelson chipped in 9 points. Fairfield was led by the 11 points of senior Devon Barlow, the 10 points of senior center Brandon Murphy, and the 8 points of Jeff Woods in the loss.

CPHR would like to congratulate Fairfield, especially Coach Austing and their great senior class, in run to the Final Four! The Indians finish the season with bragging rights among Cincinnati D1 schools.

**Check back early tomorrow morning for a preview of the four State Championship games**

Mar 22, 2012

Summit Moves on to the D-III State Final

Antonio Woods
The Silver Knights are 26-1 and on the verge of their first ever State Title after a victory over Bedford Chanel in the Division III State-Semi Final......

Summit 49 Bedford Chanel 41: Less then two minutes into the third quarter Summit sophomore point guard Antonio Woods drove through the lane and scored an old fashioned three point play to give the Silver Knights a lead of a dozen at 28-16. That play marked the first real offensive spurt in a first half defined by defense, and also gave Summit a big enough lead to remain comfortable for the rest of the game as they advanced to the State Title game for just the 2nd time in school history. Woods caught fire in the second half by using his speed to blow by defenders for short range pull-up jumpers on his way to a team high 12 points, with 4 assists and 4 rebounds. The other key to the second half to the Silver Knights was the inside play of senior post Holden Hertzel and sophomore forward Mike Barwick. Both players used their strength advantages to dominate the painted area as Barwick contributed 9 points and 7 rebounds while Hertzel added 10 points and 5 rebounds. Although he didn't have his best shooting game star junior guard Kevin Johnson was all over the boards for Summit as he totaled 10 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals in the victory. Summit's lead swelled to as large as fifteen at 43-28 with just under three minutes left on a Hertzel layup off a nice pass from Johnson. From there Chanel was able to get some offensive rebound points late but Summit remained in control. The Silver Knights earned the win by taking care of the ball against the Firebirds press and by using a zone defense to force Bedford Chanel into launching long jumpers, which they did not convert. Forwards Kyree Brewer and Ishmael Hargrove each tallied 13 points for BC in the loss. Summit advances to play the winner of the other Division III Semifinal between Ottawa-Glandorf and Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon.

Note: Antonio Woods suffered a strained knee in the closing seconds of the win but is expected to recover fully in time for Saturday's State Final.

Mar 21, 2012

State Championship Weekend Preview

State Championship weekend is finally here with the winners from all four Ohio regions in each division descending upon Columbus to play at the Jerome Schottenstein center on the campus of Ohio State University. Two local teams remain in the hunt for State Titles as Fairfield will play in Division I and are joined by Summit at the Division III level. On Saturday four new champions will be crowned as the best team in Ohio for the ’11-’12 season. Before we get to Saturday’s finals let’s take a look at the semi-final matchups that will be played on Thursday and Friday……

Division I
SW regional champion Fairfield wants to make the
most out of the school's first State Final Four appearance
·         Lakewood St. Edward vs Toledo Whitmer: Friday 5:15 PM – Star studded game as Kennesaw State commit Myles Hamilton, a senior combo guard from St. Ed’s, will take on superstar junior forward Nigel Hayes of Whitmer in a game that many are billing as the de facto title game. The same situation happened last year with Columbus Northland vs Garfield Heights before Cincinnati LaSalle knocked off Northland in the title game the next day, so this is a potential trap game for the winner. The Lakewood squad is known as a defensive juggernaut with a great full court press. Will Nebraska football commit and Whitmer senior guard Leroy Alexander be able to handle the pressure? That could be a big deciding factor. If Whitmer can break the press and get the ball to Hayes then they should be able to dominate the painted area. This one should be exciting. 
o   Prediction: Tough call, going to go with Toledo Whitmer because of the power of Hayes.
·         Pickerington Central vs Fairfield: Friday 8:30 PM – The winner of the Columbus region wasn’t Northland or Walnut Ridge, it was Pick Central led by Ohio signee, and Mr. Basketball candidate, Caris Levert who has emerged as senior as one of the top wingmen in the state with his pure shooting stroke. Central also features bruising sophomore forward Jae’sean Tate, probably the most physically imposing prospect in his class and son of former Univ. of Cincinnati PF Jermaine Tate (’00). Those two and a solid cast of supporting characters, including Michigan commit Taco Charlton on the inside and talented 6’5 sophomore guard Javon Bess, will take on a feisty Fairfield team that had to upset the likes of Cincinnati LaSalle, Cincinnati Withrow, and Middletown to get to this point. In fact, CPHR has picked Fairfield to lose three times in the playoffs and they’ve proven us wrong all three times! This leads to a dilemma as to if we should support the local team or not, with fears of jinxing the Indians. Fairfield will have their work cut out for them but look for Coach Austing to have some new defensive schemes implemented to stop the Pick Central attack. If the Indians can put points on the board, and they have lately led by senior guards Kyle Smith and Jeff Woods, then they absolutely have a good shot at this one.
o   Prediction: Going to stick with out trend at go against the Indians. CPHR thinks that the hometown Pickerington Central boys win a close game.

Division II
·         Dayton Dunbar vs Mentor Lake Catholic: Friday 10:45 AM – The Wolverines fans feel like they won the State Championship last Saturday by surviving the brutal Southwest region that included Dayton Thurgood Marshall, Cincinnati Taft, Cincinnati Aiken, Dayton Chaminade Julienne, Dayton Northmont, and Franklin. To say that Dunbar already has the title in the bag is an exaggeration but the Wolverines do enter the Final Four as clear favorites. Expect another focused performance from Dunbar and a semi-final win.
o   Prediction: Dunbar wins big.  
·         St. Clairsville vs Elida: Friday 2:00 PM – Two of the state’s top players will duel on the perimeter as SC junior wing Danny Monteroso will battle Mr. Basketball candidate, and Akron signee, Reggie McAdams, a senior wing from Elida. Sources from up north have dubbed Elida as favorites in this game, but if Monteroso can get loose then St. Clairsville has a chance.
o   Prediction: Elida

Division III
·         Beford Chanel vs Cincinnati Summit: Thursday 5:15 – The Silver Knights are the only Cincinnati team that is favored to win the State Title heading into the Final Four. By getting past Miami East, Versailles, and Roger Bacon the Knights have proven that they can handle the big stage. In their first time here can they return to Cincinnati with a trophy?
o   Prediction: Summit
·         Ottawa Glandorf vs Portsmouth: Thursday 8:30 – Even matchup between two very good small town teams. Watch out for Ottawa Glandorf freshman forward Noah Bramladge, one of the state’s most explosive young big men, he could make a big impact in this game.
o   Prediction: Going to go with Portsmouth

Mar 17, 2012

Taft Eliminated in Regional Final

The Division II Regional Final was one of the most hyped games in recent memory, as the two most talented schools in the state met up for the right to advance to the Final Four. Unfortunately for our local squad the game did not turn out the way that they had hoped that it would….

The Wolverines starters- Gary Akbar, Damarion Geter,
AJ Harris, Andre Yates, and Deontae Hawkins
Dayton Dunbar 81 Taft 59: With all of the state’s experts split on who they thought would win one thing that everyone did agree on was that it would be a competitive game. We were all wrong. Dunbar remained undefeated and improved to 26-0 in a thoroughly dominating win over Taft. The Wolverines of Dunbar turned Taft over time and time again, leading to fast-break scores and making a rowdy Dayton crowd even more wild early in the contest. Dunbar used their pressure defense in the full-court mixed with a half court 2-3 zone to frustrate the Senators early as they jumped out to a 25-12 just one minute into the second quarter. Dunbar was able to break Taft’s signature press and create easy layups, forcing Taft coach Mark Mitchell to reluctantly make some changes. By the end of the half Taft trailed 43-32. In a game marred by 56 total fouls some Taft supporters thought that with all the foul trouble that Dunbar had suffered that the Senators still had a fighters chance to win. However, Dunbar opened the second half with two quick buckets and it seemed that the route was on. Over the next few minutes the Senators played their only winning basketball of the afternoon as they dug deep and were able to move the ball better as they cut their deficit to just four at 45-41 with 2:54 left in the quarter. That was the last run that Taft would have in them as Dunbar senior reserve Tayvonne Hunt hit a huge three pointer with just seconds left in the third to give Dunbar a 43-32 lead headed into the final period. Less then two minutes into the fourth quarter Dunbar senior forward Gary Akbar, the team’s emotional leader, took it strong to the cup and finished the basket, plus the foul, to extend the Dunbar lead to 58-43 and it was basically a route from then on. The lead eventually swelled to over twenty points as senior guard Andre Yates made coast to coast drives for layups and then found Deontae “Teddy” Hawkins who hammered home two dunks while Dunbar’s margin reached a game high twenty eight at the 1:55 mark when they led 77-49. From there seniors from both teams exited to ovations from their fans in an emotional farewell to a group of eight Taft seniors that have meant so much to Cincinnati basketball. In their final game together Adolphus Washington led Taft with 18 points to culminate one of the all-time great high school careers that the city has ever seen. Orlando Berry and Ra’Saan Jackson scored 7 for Taft, Fred Cannaday chipped in 5, Jalean Lowe and Jermaine Freeman tallied 4 points, and Dwayne Stanford added 2 in the loss. Dayton Dunbar, who is now the overwhelming favorite to win next week’s Division II State Championship was led by the 15 points of freshman point guard AJ Harris who played mature beyond his years in the biggest stage of his career. Hunt finished with 12 points for Dunbar while energetic junior forward Damarion Geter had one of his better games with 11 points. The big three seniors for Dunbar performed at their usual level as Gary Akbar and Teddy Hawkins each scored 12 points while Andre Yates finished with 11. 

Mar 16, 2012

Fairfield Indians Headed to 1st Final Four

It took overtime to decide the Division I Regional Final at the Cintas Center on Friday night, and at the end of the night the Fairfield Indians were the team cutting down the nets. The last team in Southwest Ohio standing in the big school division the Indians now advance to their first ever Final Four........

Brandon Murphy, Kyle Smith, Jeff Woods,
and Coach Austing of the Regional Champions Fairfield
Fairfield 62 Middletown 49: The Indians won their first ever Regional Title and have earned the right to be the Southwestern representative in next week’s State Championships where they will face the winner of the Columbus bracket at Ohio State in the Division I Semi-Final. After a slow start from both teams Fairfield built a 26-13 lead midway through the second quarter as senior guard Kyle Smith knocked down a three pointer to bring the crowd to their feet. Middletown would battle back to within nine at the half and cut the deficit to seven on a three pointer by senior guard Geovonie McKnight as the horn sounded to end the third quarter. With 3:14 remaining in the game McKnight pulled up for a triple to bring the Middies within one at 43-42, the closest they’d been since early in the first quarter, and the purple crowd was going wild believing that a comeback was imminent. McKnight traded buckets over the next three minutes with Fairfield senior wing Jeff Woods, who knocked 10/11 free throws most of which came in the fourth and overtime, until Middletown sophomore forward Vincent Edwards nailed a three from the wing to tie the game at 48-48 with just 31 seconds left in regulation. Fairfield tried to hold for the last shot but turned the ball over as Edwards stole the ball with just over ten seconds left, the Middies turned it right back over, however, on critical over and back violation with just 8 seconds left. The Indians were unable to get a quality shot off in the last eight seconds of regulation and the table was set for overtime with Middletown feeling the momentum. Woods would give Fairfield their mojo back in overtime as he struck first with a free throw to give the Indians the lead back. The Indians would continue to convert from the foul line and build a four point lead until the Middies battled all the way back to tie the game on a McKnight hoop plus the foul to make it 53-53 with 1:14 left in overtime. Fairfield’s Kyle Smith made the play of the game after that by cutting backdoor and scoring an and-one of his own to give the Indians a 56-53 lead and just 59 seconds left on the clock. If that wasn’t the play of the game then Devon Barlow, a senior guard for Fairfield, had the top play as he stole the ball and took it coast to coast with 25 seconds left to give the Indians a 58-55 lead. McKnight would convert two more free throws and Jeff Woods would step to the line with 2.4 seconds left. Woods knocked down both shots to give the Indians the final margin at 62-59; McKnight launched a half-court shot at the buzzer that drew rim but didn’t quite fall. The Indians wildly celebrated a surprising Regional Title led by second year coach Tim Austing. Woods led Fairfield with 19 points while Smith added 16 to the scoring column. Senior post Brandon Murphy had another good game inside for the Indians with 14 points and 8 rebounds, while Barlow chipped in 8 points and 5 steals. McKnight finished off a great career with a game high 31 points, as well as 9 rebounds and 5 assists, for Middletown in the loss. 

Regional Finals Previews

Three games in two days will determine who moves on to next weekend’s State Championships in Columbus. With Cincinnati guaranteed to have a participant in both Divisions I & III will Taft be able to pull off a win in Division II to give The Queen City three teams in the state capital?

Division I
·         Middletown vs Fairfield: Friday at Cintas 7:30 – The Middies are one of Ohio’s storied programs (although they haven’t been to the Final Four since 1983), while Fairfield has never advanced past the Regionals. These two teams will meet on Friday night and history will be made for one school. The Indians have been one of the surprise teams of the season, a team that CPHR has even wrongly picked against in earlier rounds. They have shown tremendous toughness, discipline, and resolve to beat opponents like LaSalle, Troy, and Withrow. Middletown had their peaks and valleys during the regular season but ended up winning the GMC (including a 60-53 defeat of Fairfield in league play). In the tournament the Middies have defeated talented teams like Winton Woods, Princeton, and Moeller in convincing fashion. Coach Andrews has a team full of great athletes and a superstar on top of his game in senior guard Geovonie McKnight. Expect Fairfield to rotate defenders and change defensive schemes on McKnight to try and slow him down; when you slow down McKnight you take away the heart and soul of the Middletown team. Offensively you never know who the points will come from on a deadly shooting group of Indian players. Senior Jeff Woods has been hot lately, but Keon Benjamin might be their most dangerous player off the bench and seniors James Turner and Kyle Smith are known to make plays. Fairfield plays seven guys with six being seniors so experience is not a problem. While Middletown might play some younger players, three of their main five are underclassmen, all their players have showed poise in the big moments (especially in their last outing where they defeated Moeller with clutch free throw shooting). With two league rivals meeting in the regional final again the game promises to be intense and exciting.
o   Prediction: In a game full of tough minded and physical teams CPHR feels that Middletown’s athleticism edge will be just enough. With both teams knowing each other so well we will probably see a low scoring affair but we think that the Middies advance with a win by a narrow margin.

Division II
·         Taft vs Dayton Dunbar: Saturday at Kettering Trent Arena 3:00 – Many people are calling this the de facto State Championship game as the two most talented Division II teams in the state (and possibly the best two teams in the state regardless of division) will meet for a spot in the Final Four. Dunbar starts three players who have signed with Division I colleges in strong PG Andre Yates (Creighton), smooth forward Deontae “Teddy” Hawkins (Wichita State), and bruising scoring forward Gary Akbar (Cleveland State). They also feature the state’s best young point man in freshman Amos “AJ” Harris and a talented athletic junior forward in Damarion Geter. We all know what Taft is about, tough play from their seven man senior rotation, led by five players that have been together since they were knee high. Adolphus Washington should be too much for Dunbar to handle down low as he is too big for the powerful Akbar to contain and too strong for the 6’7 Geter or 6’7 Hawkins. The athleticism of Dwayne Stanford could give the Wolverines problem, as could the shooting of Jalean Lowe and the playmaking of Dwayne Stanford. One of the interesting matchups in this game will be who Coach Pullen, of Dunbar, puts on Taft PG Orlando Berry Jr who’s experience gives him an advantage on Harris while his quickness might be too much for Yates. The Senators will have to guard Dunbar as well though. Does Taft have an answer for Akbar? Washington might not have the foot speed to contain the lefty, and the Senators certainly don’t have another player strong enough to guard him. How about Yates, who’s size could overwhelm Berry but he also has the speed to give Freeman or Lowe fits. The individual matchups in a game that will not be lacking in talent will probably determine the outcome between two teams who have been waiting all year to play each other.
o   Prediction: The arena is going to be sold out and rocking, we know that much. As for the game, this is a tough one to pick. Both teams excel in scoring the ball in the full-court game, as well as forcing their opponents into turnovers to create easy buckets. Whoever executes in the half-court should win. Because of that we’re going to take Taft because they have Mr. Basketball candidate Adolphus “Diesel” Washington. The will to win and discipline of Taft might be just enough to advance them back to States.  

Division III
·         Summit vs Roger Bacon: Saturday at Kettering Trent Arena 7:30 – The Spartans have proven time and time again that they’re one of the premiere defensive teams in Southwest Ohio, and have some of the region’s best young offensive talent led by sophomore wings Austin Frentsos and Carlas Jackson; as well as junior Erik Edwards and freshman Dahmere Epperson. However, Summit has been consistently productive all season long on both ends of the floor. Guards Kevin Johnson and Antonio Woods are going to get loose at some point in the game, we know that. They key for Summit might be senior post Holden Hertzel, who has been unstoppable late in the season with his power and skill down on the block. If Bacon can find a way to stop those three from scoring then they should have a good chance to win, provided they can also prevent Summit senior sharpshooter Tommy Kreyenhagen from getting a look off. Summit has the overall talent advantage and like Bacon is a disciplined defensive team. But Bacon has the heart of a champion which can never be overlooked.  
o   Prediction: Summit advances to the Final Four.

Mar 15, 2012

Taft defeats Thurgood to set up clash with Dunbar

The 26 points of Adolphus Washington brought
Taft within one win of another trip to the Final Four
Since the day that it was announced that Taft had moved up to Division II, from Division III where they won the State Championship last season, fans had been hoping and praying for a Southwest Regional Final matchup between the Senators and perennial powerhouse Dayton Dunbar. After Wednesday's Regional Semi-Finals in Kettering Trent arena that wish has come true.........

Taft 76 Dayton Thurgood Marshall 67: Through three quarters the Senators played as well as they have all season, building a 52-36 lead at the the end of the third quarter. Taft had jumped out to a seven point lead at the half, behind 13 first quarter points from senior post Adolphus Washington, then extended the lead eleven at the half. When the Senators opened the third with a quick 8-0 run the game appeared like it was headed for a blowout. But the DTM Cougars would come alive in the fourth quarter. Thurgood pulled to within ten at 63-53 with 3:05 remaining on a three-pointer by junior wing Mark Alstork and eventually got to within five at 66-61 with 1:45 left on a crafty layup by sophomore guard Ra'chaun Martin. The ensuing play Adolphus Washington fouled out, after Taft senior guard Jalean Lowe had already received his fifth foul. The crowd, who was heavily favoring Thurgood in hopes of an all Dayton city league Regional Final, was on their feet but Senators senior guard Jermaine Freeman answered with a floating layup to provide the dagger points with just over a minute left. From there Taft hit enough free throws to win a close game between two of the best Division II teams in the state of Ohio. Washington was the game high scorer with 26 points for Taft while Dwayne Stanford added 13 for the Senators, Orlando Berry scored 16, and Freeman chipped in a crucial 8. The Cougars were led by the 21 points of senior guard Joe Thomasson and the 10 points of Martin. Senior forward Joe Ballard, a freak athlete who brought the crowd to their feet with a huge second-quarter alley-oop dunk, also played a good game for Thurgood by scoring 8 points. 

Dayton Dunbar 52 Columbus Eastmoor 35: The Wolverines played a bit sloppy as they handily defeated Eastmoor, in a game that was not nearly as close as the margin would indicate. After leading by 13 at the half Dunbar opened up a lead that at one point late in the third reached 25 points before brining in many of their substitutes for the final period. In a balanced team offensive effort freshman point guard Amos "AJ" Harris and senior forward Gary Akbar led Dayton Dunbar with 10 points a piece. Senior forward Deontae "Teddy" Hawkins and junior forward Damarion Geter added 8 and 7 points respectively for the Wolverines. 

Taft and Dayton Dunbar will now face each other in the Regional Final, with the winner advancing to the Division II State Final Four. The game will be played on Saturday at Trent Arena in Kettering at 3:00 PM

New Highlight Tapes

'11 Cincinnati Withrow grad Aaron Thomas, a 6'5 SG headed to Florida State
dominates the competition in his postgrad year at Brewster Academy (NH)

         '14 Hughes PG Angel Rivera made a big splash in his first year in the USA. The Puerto Rico
            native emerged as one of the best pure point men, and most exciting playmakers in the city.

Wednesday Regional Semi Finals Results

Geovonie McKnight
Both Cincinnati teams were victorious in Dayton in the Division III Regional Semi's, setting up an all Cincinnati Regional Championship for the right to go to the Final Four. In Division I both of the underdogs came through with great performances to earn their spot into the round of eight...... 

Middletown 41 Moeller 37: A slow start saw Middletown fall behind by double digits early but senior guard Geovonie McKnight made it perfectly clear the Wednesday night would not be his last game in the purple and white. McKnight scored several key buckets, in his usual variety of ways off of mid-range jump shots and strong takes to the basket, as he finished with a game high 21 points in the win. Middletown trailed by just five at the break and tied the game midway through the third quarter after junior wing Jalin Marshall caught an alley-oop dunk and then hit a three pointer to square the teams up at 22-22. Middletown would finish the quarter on a 12-2 run to take a three point lead into the final period, really exciting the strong support of the vast Middies crowd at Cintas. The two teams would battle over the fourth quarter and Moeller even took a brief lead at 32-31 with 2:28 remaining on a hanging jumper from junior wing Josh Davenport; but Middies senior guard Zach Edwards would give the boys in purple the final lead of the game seconds later with a jumper to put Middletown up 33-32. Over the last minute and a half Geovonie McKnight was able to beat Moeller defenders to the ball and draw fouls where he finished 11/13 from the line, ending all hope of a Moeller comeback. The Crusders were able to get as close as within two on a Tony Sabato tip-in with less then a minute to play; but couldn't come up with enough plays to draw even. With just twenty seconds left McKnight returned to the line and iced the game with another two free throws to make the score 41-34 Middletown and the celebration essentially started then. In addition to McKnight's 21 points the Middies got 12 points from Marshall and solid play from their supporting cast, which was crucial because Vince Edwards was held to just two points tonight by Moeller. The Crusaders were led by Davenport's 16 points while Tony Sabato and Keith Watkins each added 10. Middletown now advances to Friday's Regional Final. 

Jeff Woods of Fairfield
Fairfield 64 Withrow 55: After three even quarters Fairfield led by two heading into the final period. In the last eight minutes the Tigers absolutely imploded, allowing the Indians to build a lead as big as 13 at one point. Using a zone defense for the majority of the second half Fairfield was able to neutralize Devin Williams and some cold perimeter shooting from Withrow spelled doom as Fairfield built a three possession lead less then two minutes into the fourth which the Tigers were never able to recover from. Fairfield played out another great team performance on both ends of the floor, led by senior wing Jeff Woods who scored a game high 20 points (including 13/14 shooting from the foul line). Shaprshooting senior guard Kyle Smith hit some key shots and finished with 14 points for Fairfield while sophomore guard Tim Fleming did a great job controlling the pace on his way to 10 points and 4 assists. On the interior senior big man Brandon Murphy totaled 7 points and 6 rebounds for Fairfield but it was his defensive effort that was most impressive. Murphy was the catalyst behind a smart Fairfield strategy that limited Withrow star junior forward Devin Williams to just 12 points, and 10 shot attempts, along with 11 rebounds. Withrow was led by senior guard Kendall Beamon, who knocked down 3/4 three point shots en route to 13 points, and also got 10 points and 7 rebounds from senior forward Tyler Jordan. The Indians, by pulling off the mild upset, continue their magical run to the Regional Final where they will meet up with league rival Middletown on Friday night. 

Roger Bacon 58 Columbus Academy 52: Sophomore wing Carlas Jackson had another great night in his young Spartan career by totaling a game high 20 points as Roger Bacon makes their return to the Regional Finals, last year they made the Division II Regional Final. Junior forward Erik Edwards added on 11 points to help the Spartans advance to a showdown with Summit for a trip to the State Semi Finals in Columbus next week. 

Summit 61 Versailles 46: The Silver Knights pulled away late in the third quarter as they turned a single possession game into a ten point lead behind the hot shooting of the Kreyenhagen brothers, Tommy and Joey. Junior guard Kevin Johnson torched a talented Versailles team with 21 points, a game high, to lead Summit to victory; while senior post Holdy Hertzel provided timely buckets and did a great job defensively on the interior against a bigger Versailles front line. 

Mar 12, 2012

Regional Semi-Finals Previews

With Final Four spots just two wins away the competition is going to be as intense as it’s been all year. Division I-III are all going to be stockpiled with talent this week in the Semi-Finals…...

Division I
·         Moeller vs Middletown: Wednesday 6:15 @ Cintas: When these two teams met two days before Christmas the Crusaders won by 17 at their gym. Both teams have changed since then, Middletown is playing the best basketball of the four remaining Division I teams in the Southwest (evidenced by commanding wins over Winton Woods and Princeton) while Moeller is struggling some offensively. Style of play will dictate who wins, as will the ability of Geovonie McKnight to patiently attack Moeller’s defensive schemes designed to stop them. Josh Davenport has been very good in two career games against Middletown (with a 1-1 record), if he can attack Middies sophomore forward Vincent Edwards then the Middies can be worn down. Athleticism will meet size and execution, we’ll see who prevails.
o   Prediction: Very tough game to pick as well as Middletown is playing right now. Moeller flat out wins in the Cintas Center so we’re going to pick them, but it’s 50-50.
·         Fairfield vs Withrow: Wednesday 8:00 @ Cintas: The surprise team to reach the regionals in Fairfield will bring their usual intensity in facing a more talented Withrow team. Coach Austing of Fairfield has a way to win big games over his two years of coaching and the Indians will not be intimidated by Devin Williams and company. Guard play will be the key here, if Withrow is able to turn Fairfield over then they have the edge. Fairfield also has some streaky three point shooters, led by Kyle Smith, that could neutralize some of Withrow’s perimeter depth. Will Indians center Brandon Murphy be able to contain Devin Williams on the low block? That will go a long way towards deciding who advances.
o   Prediction: Going to be a good game, we’re going to take Withrow in a close one.

Division II
·         Columbus Eastmoor Academy vs Dayton Dunbar: Thursday 5:30 @ Kettering Trent Arena
o   Prediction: Dayton Dunbar wins big.  
·         Dayton Thurgood Marshall vs Taft: Thursday 8:00 @ Kettering Trent Arena: Taft has to avoid looking forward to the hype of a Dunbar-Taft game for the Final Four to beat a very tough and talented Cougars team. TM has the guard play to contain Orlando Berry some while Joe Thomasson of the Cougars can take over the game as a scorer. The interior depth of TM is a big factor as Taft’s Adolphus Washington has the ability to wear down any big body that stands in his way. Another storyline in this one; the Cougars senior forward Joe Ballard and Taft’s senior forward Dwayne Stanford are two of the best athletes in the state; who wins that battle?
o   Prediction: Have to go with Taft.

Division III
·         Columbus Academy vs Roger Bacon: Wednesday 5:30 @ Kettering Trent Arena: Columbus Academy comes in to the game ranked as one of the top Division III teams in the state.
o   Prediction: Columbus Academy
·         Summit vs Versailles: Wednesday 8:00 @ Kettering Trent Arena: One of the top D3 frontcourts in the state will face off against the state’s premiere backcourt in Summit’s Antonio Woods and Kevin Johnson. Versailles boasts one of the best freshmen in Ohio in big wing Kyle Ahrens who’s athleticism on the wing could give Summit real problems. Last time out the Summit guards got in foul trouble, really hampering their minutes.  If Summit’s guards come to play then they can win this game.
o   Prediction: Going to be a close game, with State Championship implications possibly. Versailles might be a slight favorite in Dayton but CPHR is going to go with Summit.  

*** The winners will advance to the Regional Finals on Friday (Div. I) or Saturday (Div. II & III) at the same sites. Winners from the Regional Finals will advance to the State Final Four the next weekend in Columbus ***

Mar 11, 2012

Saturday's Division I District Title Scoreboard

The Fairfield Indians seven man rotation

Saturday was a day full of hoops at the University of Dayton arena as all four Southwest Ohio Division I District Titles were decided, setting up the Regional Semi-Final matchups next week at Xavier. The first session of two games might have been lopsided, but the second section provided two thrilling contests that came down to the final possession……. 

Fairfield 59 Troy 45: The Indians built a double-digit lead by outscoring the Trojans big in both the first and third quarters with their pressure defense and total domination on the boards. Fairfield started the game off hot as they raced out to a seven point lead behind the hot shooting of senior guard Kyle Smith who scored all 8 of his points in the first period. In the second half it was senior wing Jeff Woods, who scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half, and senior post Brandon Murphy who controlled the paint with 15 points and 14 rebounds (including two thunderous dunks to keep the momentum in the Indians favor) that led the way to victory. Fairfield captured their first district title in over 25 years as the massive Indians student section stormed the floor to celebrate with their team as the buzzer sounded. Fairfield’s rotation of 6 seniors and 1 sophomore has now added a new trophy to the school collection while earning a trip to the Regional Semi-Finals next week. In the loss Troy was led by the 17 points of senior wing Cody May.

The Middletown Middies
Middletown 68 Princeton 59: The Middies advanced to the Regionals behind a huge run to finish the first quarter and start the second quarter; defeating the Princeton Vikings for the third time in as many tries this season. Trailing 11-7 Middletown got back to back dunks from Jalin Marshall followed by Vincent Edwards at the buzzer to tie the game going into the second quarter. Middletown then caught fire behind the tough shot-making of Geovonie McKnight and the distributing of Vince Edwards, who found Zach Edwards for back to back three’s to extend the run, as the Middies took a commanding 31-17 lead midway through the second quarter. A spark from senior guard Deion Isham kept the Vikings alive as they were able to get to the half only down by ten, at 33-23. The third quarter played out evenly and was highlighted by the 9 points of Deion Isham on some acrobatic takes to the rim; after the third Middletown led 49-40. Behind the rebounding of Vincent Edwards, made free throws from the team, and the aggressive penetration of Jalin marshall the Middies were able to re-establish a big lead early in the fourth as they pushed the margin all the way up to 58-43 with just 4:34 to play. The last four minutes turned sloppy but Middletown hung on to the margin to preserve a nine point win and a spot in the Regional Semi-Finals. Marshall led Middletown with 21 points in District Title win, Vincent Edwards went for 13 points and 9 rebounds, while sophomore center Chance Sorrell and senior guard Geovonie McKnight each added 11 points. Senior guard Deion Isham finished with 24 points for Princeton.

The Withrow Tigers
Withrow 50 Springboro 48: The Panthers controlled the game for the entirety of three quarters, holding a 36-33 lead headed into the final period. Springboro who had led by as many as late in the first half was beginning to struggle with the Tigers pressure however. With 6:39 to play senior guard Kendall Beamon gave Withrow their first lead of the night at 39-38. Springboro counted suit however by feeding the ball into their highly recruited junior center Maverick Morgan who, along with Jake Pfahl led the Panthers with 18 points (Morgan also added on 9 rebounds and 3 blocks). Springboro continued to lead until a three-point play by junior guard Tim Coleman of Withrow tied the game back at 46-46 with just under two minutes to play. The Tigers immediately got a steal and sophomore guard Tyonte Robertson laid the ball in to give Withrow the lead back at 48-46 with 1:30 to play.  The ball ended up in Withrow’s hands with a minute to play before eventually calling timeout to set up a play with 15 seconds left. They got the ball back to Coleman and he attacked the rim and was able to floater the ball over the 6’11 Morgan with 1.2 seconds left to give Withrow the final lead at 50-48. Springboro’s final attempt from Morgan from 17 feet fell short and the Tigers celebrated their second consecutive D1 District Title, and trip to the Regionals. Senior Tyler Jordan led Withrow in scoring with 12 points while Coleman added 10, and Damon Gooch and Devin Williams each chipped in 7 points. Sophomore guard Tyonte Robertson also played well for Withrow contributing 4 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals off the bench.

The Moeller Crusaders
Moeller 55 Beavercreek 52: A slow offensive start and poor shooting plagued the Crusaders through three quarters as they opened the final period trailing the inspired Beavers 36-33. From there the contest became possibly the most entertaining of the day, Moeller took the lead back just one minute into the fourth as Tony Sabato’s stick-back seconds later caused Beavercreek to call timeout suddenly trailing by four. The lead see-sawed back and forth over the next few minutes until with forty six seconds left and Moeller leading by four the Beavers secured two steals but were unable to convert either offensive opportunity. Moeller senior center Tony Sabato was then fouled and after he made both shots sophomore Airius Moore of BC knocked down a triple to bring the deficit to 53-50 with 30 seconds left. After getting the ball back on a jump ball with 20 seconds left and only trailing by two the Beavers dribbled most of the clock out before Kyle Rader was fouled with 4.4 seconds remaining. Rader made one of two and Moeller got the ball to senior sharpshooting guard Ben Galemmo who made the final two free throws with 2.6 seconds to make it 55-52. Airius Moore had a half court heave to tie the game at the buzzer but it fell short and Moeller won another District Title (their 7th title in their 9th appearance in the last 10 years), setting up a return to the Regional’s. Moeller couldn’t have won without the second half play of junior PG Keith Watkins who’s toughness on both ends got the job done. Watkins finished with 13 points on an array of physical drives to the rim and was complemented by fellow junior Josh Davenport who scored a game high 15 points. Moeller found a lot of success late by extending the defense and finding Davenport, as well as Alex Voss (8 points) and Tony Sabato (9 points) for layups. Ben Galemmo added 8 points as well for Moeller and along with Watkins led the Crusaders with 3 steals. In the loss the Beavers were led by the 14 points of Rader and the 10 points of smooth junior wing Jalen Camper.

Mar 8, 2012

Thursday's Division III District Title Results

Kevin Johnson led the Silver Knights
to another Division III District Title
Two Cincinnati teams clinched Division III District Titles on Thursday night at the University of Dayton. All three winners will move on to the Regional Semi-Finals next week.......

Summit 50 Miami East 39: Silver Knights fans were a little nervous at the half as Summit trailed by two to the Vikings at the break, but a big 8 point third quarter from junior forward Mike Barwick gave Summit the lead for good as they held on to win their third District Title in the last four years in Division III. While Barwick provided the spark it was the all-around play of senior post Holden Hertzel and junior guard Kevin Johnson that pushed the Silver Knights over the top. Both battled foul trouble but were extremely productive while in the game, much credit is also deserved by sophomore PG Antonio Woods who ran the offense while Hertzel and Johnson sat with foul issues. Summit was led by Johnson with 15 points, Hertzel with 10 points. The Knights also got 8 points from Barwick and Tommy Kreyenhagen as well as 9 points from Woods. Miami East was led by the game high 18 points of Gunner Shirk. The Silver Knights advance to next week's Regional Semi-Finals to play Versailles.

Roger Bacon 54 Bishop Fenwick 48: In the final D3 District Final of the night two GCL rivals met with the Spartans playing tough enough defense, and hitting timely three-pointers, to earn another trophy for the school with proud tradition. Sophomore wing guard Carlas Jackson led the Spartans with 20 points, including a pair of big third quarter three-pointers to extend the lead. Sophomore guard Austin Frentsos and junior forward Erik Edwards also scored in double figures with 13 and 11 points respectively. Roger Bacon advances to play Columbus Academy next week in the Regional Semi-Final. Fenwick was led by sophomore PG Frank Catrine who scored 14 points in the loss. 

Versailles 62 Hamilton Badin 34: A talented Tigers team used some stingy defense to jump out to an 18 point halftime lead, eventually ending the Rams season as one of the D-III District Runners-up. Badin struggled to score against a Versailles team that will threaten for a spot in State Final Four. Ethan Bruns led four double-figure Versailles scorers with 14 points in the win as they move on to next week's Regional Semi-Final where they will face Summit. Senior forward Morgan Reynolds, a first team All-GCL performer, led Hamilton Badin with 8 points in the loss.

  • Cincinnati natives Aaron Thomas and Semaj Christon, both 2011 graduates, won a National Prep School Championship with Brewster Academy (NH) yesterday. Today, Christon was named 1st team all-league for Brewster; while Thomas was placed on the 2nd team. Fellow Ohioan, Akron native Jakarr Sampson was named league player of the year. Here's the story on Brewster's 32-1 season from Triple Double Prospects: Story
  • Miss last night's Taft victory over Graham for the Division II District Title? Here's the video highlights courtesy of Taft vs Graham Highlights

Mar 7, 2012

Wednesday Division II District Title Results

CPHR had a chance to watch Taft dominate the District Title game, while Aiken put up an effort all Cincy hoops fans should be proud of against the co-favorites (along with Taft) to win the D2 State Title, the Dayton Dunbar Wolverines. With tons of future college players on the floor the action was as good as any we've seen all year.......

Taft PG Orlando Berry
Taft 73 St. Paris Graham 47: The Senators blew the game wide open behind a 19-3 first quarter, forcing the Graham Falcons into 22 total turnovers as Taft took the ball and shot layups on the other end. The Senators, coming off of last year’s State Championship run, won another Division II district title and only needed to play their starters limited minutes in the second half to do so. Senior PG Orlando Berry was the top Senator performer in the game as his speed was too much for Graham, Berry totaled 22 points (on 9/13 shooting) and dropped off 4 assists in the game. Next for Taft was senior post Adolphus Washington who dominated inside with 19 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 ferocious blocks. The size and strength of Washington was a clear intimidation factor from the opening tip. Senior wing Jalean Lowe added 13 points for Taft while the Senators also got 10 points from senior guard Jermaine Freeman. It only gets better for Taft as they will get senior forward Dwayne Stanford back for Thursday’s Regional Semi-Final game at Kettering’s Trent Arena.

Dayton Dunbar 67 Aiken 60: The white and blue crowd was stunned with 4:17 remaining in the first half when the Falcons had the lead on heavily favored Dunbar 27-14. From there the Wolverines woke up behind the inspired play of freshman guard AJ Harris and senior forward Gary Akbar; the duo scored at will around the rim to give Dunbar a 30-27 lead going into the half. Feeling the emotion of the crowd coming out of the gates in the second half Dunbar scored the first 7 points of the third quarter to take a 37-27 lead with 5:10 remaining in the quarter, the crowd thought it was over but Aiken would make enough plays to cut into the margin and make it a 43-39 Dunbar lead going into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter went see-saw the whole way as Aiken got back to back three-pointers from junior wing Mikey Thompson to cut the deficit to 56-54 with 2:21 remaining. From there Aiken just had too many turnovers as Dunbar held on to win the Division II District Title. Dunbar senior guard Andre Yates was the key man in the second half as he scored 17 of his team high 21 points after the break. Yates scored from three-point range, three times, as well as took the ball to the basket with authority to break Aiken down. Gary Akbar pounded his way inside to 19 points and 7 rebounds, as the Falcons couldn’t match his relentlessness on the interior. Freshman guard AJ Harris scored all 12 of his points in the first half, while forwards Damarion Geter and Deontae “Teddy” Hawkins scored 9 and 6 respectively. Aiken was led by the fearless 22 points of star senior guard Willie Moore, who also tallied 7 assists. Moore never gave up in the game and was able to penetrate into the heart of the Wolverine defense as well. Senior forward Paul Woodson and junior guard Austin Grimes also had admirable performances in the game as Woodson totaled 12 points and 12 rebounds while Grimes finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds.

Dayton Thurgood Marshall 78 Trotwood Madison 65: The Cougars, who are defending D2 Regional Champions, captured another District Title behind a first quarter run where there pressure helped them build a 12 point lead. Junior guard Edmond "Junior" Early was the catalyst for Thurgood as his on-ball pressure of TM point guard James Brown started the Cougar run. Early also led the Cougars in scoring with 16 points, while guards Mark Alstork and Joe Thomasson scored 15 and 13 respectively. Brown led the Trotwood Rams with a game high 19 points. Thurgood advances to play Taft in the Regional Semi-Final in Division II on Thursday at Kettering Trent Arena. 

  • Yesterday senior point guard Josh Lemons, of LaSalle high school committed to the University of Toledo. Here's the story from Triple Double Prospects: Lemons to the Rockets

Mar 5, 2012

Divisions I-III District Final Previews

It’s officially time to cut down the nets, as any team that wins at UD Arena at the University of Dayton this week will be named a District Champion in their respective division. With three days of action, each division plays all their games on the same day, CPHR and other basketball fans will be plenty busy keeping up with who will be moving on to Regional play……

Wednesday (Division II Games)
·        Taft vs St. Paris Graham: Univ. of Dayton 5:30 – The Senators will still be without forward Dwayne Stanford again, although should they advance Stanford will return for the Regional’s, but will still have their usual major talent advantage headed into this one. SPG has only lost 4 games all season and is a formidable opponent but they shouldn’t slow down Taft too much.  
o   Prediction: Taft wins big.  
·        Aiken vs Dayton Dunbar: Univ. of Dayton 7:15 – The Falcons advance to face undefeated, and #1 ranked in the AP poll, the Wolverines of Dunbar (playing just a couple miles from their campus). Dunbar starts five Division I recruits, where Aiken starts three, so this game should be played at a high level. Aiken’s Willie Moore will have to be the best player on the floor for Aiken to have a chance; while Falcons forwards Austin Grimes and Paul Woodson will have to a great defensive job on Dunbar’s star senior forwards Deontae “Teddy” Hawkins (Wichita State signee) and Gary Akbar (Cleveland State signee).
o   Prediction: Aiken puts up a fight but Dunbar gets the win.
·        Trotwood Madison vs Dayton Thurgood Marshall: Univ. of Dayton 9:00 – A little CPHR bonus pick. After knocking off Franklin the Cougars of Thurgood Marshall should have a very winnable game on their hands against the Trotwood Rams.
o   Prediction: Thurgood Marshall by double figures.

Thursday (Division III Games)
·        Badin vs Versailles: Univ. of Dayton 5:30 – Tough game for Badin, who has had a great postseason run to advance to the District Title game. Versailles is considered the top team in Division III in SW Ohio, along with Summit, and should contend for a Final Four spot.
o   Prediction: Versailles
·        Summit vs Miami East: Univ. of Dayton 7:15 – The Silver Knights will be favored heading into this game but Miami East is a formidable opponent. What separates the two teams is guard play. Miami East shouldn’t be able to find a way to contain both Kevin Johnson and Antonio Woods.
o   Prediction: Might be closer then people think, but Summit wins comfortably in the end.
·        Roger Bacon vs Bishop Fenwick: Univ. of Dayton 9:00 – Fenwick has had a great postseason run to get this far and now has to face a team that they lost to early in the season, on the road, by just five points. The problem for Fenwick is that Roger Bacon has improved immensely since then. The Spartans played very well to knock off perennial powerhouse North College Hill last game and are a team capable of outstanding defensive performances. This one will probably be low scoring but look for the athletes of Bacon to give Fenwick guards fits.
o   Prediction:  Roger Bacon wins.

Saturday (Division I Games)
·        Fairfield vs Troy: Univ. of Dayton 1:00 – The Trojans finished 10-0 in their division in Dayton’s biggest lead, the GWOC, and are led by senior guards Cody May and Zach Martinez; both of whom average right around 15 points per game. Fairfield’s pressure defense should slow those guards down some, and if the Indians are able to hit shots they could blow this game wide open. The key for Fairfield will be senior center Brandon Murphy, who was great in the win over LaSalle in the Sectional Final. If Murphy can match that performance, against another team without a dominant post player then Fairfield should be favored.
o   Prediction: Not too sure how good Troy is but Fairfield should be able to win this one.
·        Middletown vs Princeton: Univ. of Dayton 3:00 – So far this season the Middies, who were outright GMC champs, have defeated their league rival twice (once in overtime by three points, the other time by just two points). Two teams that are evenly matched, but different, will play for the third time this weekend. Last year, Lakota East was able to defeat Princeton for the third time in a season in the District Title game, and it certainly isn’t a feeling the Vikings want to taste again. The troubling thing for Princeton is that, along with Fairfield, the Middies were the most impressive team in the Sectional Finals as they dismantled a very good Winton Woods team. The factor that decided the first two games will decide this one; can the depth of Princeton counteract the outstanding production of Middletown’s Geovonie McKnight and Vincent Edwards? We’ll find out!
o   Prediction: Tough pick but we’ve got to go with Middletown.
·        Withrow vs Springboro: Univ. of Dayton 7:00 – Everyone knows the story here! It’s Panthers junior center Maverick Morgan, a high major Division I recruit, against Withrow’s Devin Williams. Whoever gets the better of the other, and they’ve already had plenty of summer battles, should give their team the boost to win this one. However, CPHR feels that it will be the depth on the perimeter (as well as Withrow’s other size with seniors Rozelle Nix and Tyler Jordan) that will be the difference. Withrow junior PG Tim Coleman is as hot as any guard in SW Ohio right now, if he keeps his pace up the Tigers won’t lose. However, the three-point shot is the great equalizer and Springboro has some guys, mainly junior guard Ryan Murray that can light it up.
o   Prediction:  Withrow seemed to have their swagger back in the win over Mason. We’re going to assume they hold on to it and roll past Springboro in this one.
·        Moeller vs Beavercreek: Univ. of Dayton 9:00 – The Beavers were the consensus number one team in Dayton in Division I all season long, as all the top seeds ran away from them in the Sectional drawing, and have won 18 games already. Junior wing Jalen Camper leads the way for the Beavers with 14 points per game, expect him to draw Moeller senior forward Alex Voss defensively, who did a great job in holding Turpin’s Zach McCormick way below his average last weekend. The Crusaders have more quality on both the interior and perimeter to beat Beavercreek, but they always play close games in their District Final games in Dayton; however, they almost always win!
o   Prediction: Moeller wins by about ten.

***Winners will be named District Champions and advance to the Regional Semi-Finals***