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......
· 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.
· 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.
· 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.
· 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.