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…...
· 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.
· 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.
· 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 ***