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……
|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.
· 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
· 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