High School Basketball in the Northeast Ohio area is going to be absolutely insane this season! In this article I’m going to be giving a breakdown of the best games every day that fans should want to attend. Hope you enjoy this article, if any players are no longer on rosters that I listed them on please let me know, high school basketball is filled with transfers and while I try my best to know who is playing where, it is difficult before the season without having contact info for any coaches. Final thing before the calendar beings, if any of these dates are incorrect please let me know, I used the school’s official website whenever possible and used the cleveland.com schedule when that was unavailable. Hope you enjoy.
Spire Vs Garfield Heights (At Euclid): By the time this gets published this game will likely be sold out, but what an intro to high school basketball in the NEO area. Spire is absolutely loaded and everybody around the area knows what Sonny Johnson and his Bulldogs bring to the table. Imagine being Sonny Jr, your first high school game is against Rocket Watts and Lamelo Ball, what a challenge. Meechie will likely guard the other stud guard on Spire, but seeing him go against Lamelo will be fascinating, his 50 point game Vs Benedictine last season reminds me of a Lamelo type game, they have similar qualities and could get into a 30 foot shooting contest. Myron Gardner is also the most underrated player in this game, he will give Jesse Laster and Brent Darby all they can handle and then some. Gardner recently scored 21 points on 7-7 shooting and had 29 points in his past two games, but because he isn’t highly ranked he doesn’t get the hype some of his teammates receive, he’s a beast too. Finally, the battle down low between Brison Waller and Isaiah Jackson is incredible, both are high major type players with Jackson being a five star recruit. Waller was disappointing last season with Alonzo Gaffney and Donovan Fotre being more productive players but there is no better chance for Waller to kickstart a dominant senior season than by competing all night with Jackson. This game will have dunks, flashy passes, 30 foot threes, and also plenty of turnovers. If Garfield can handle the pressure that Spire will bring and not let them get out in transition this game can be competitive, if the Johnson guards show their youth this could get ugly quickly.
1 Gilmour At Lake Catholic: These two teams matched up at the Dunk for Diabetes and it was a very competitive match that Gilmour took. Gilmour returns one of my favorite players in the area in Cj Charlston who is an absolute freak on the gridiron (somebody get this man a FBS offer) but is also a baller on the basketball court too. Connor O’Toole is one of the best shooters in the area and it will be interesting to see how he develops this season in an increased role. Lake Catholic is led by two of the best juniors in the state in Luke Frazier and Luka Eller, each of them hold division one offers and are incredible talents. This game should be pretty high scoring and competitive on an opening night without a super marquee matchup after the Eds game got pushed back a day due to the Football state championship.
2 Canton Mckinley At Copley: This is the season opening game for Copley after the Indians had a crazy run to the state elite 8 last season before falling to Solon, they lose a solid amount of talent but return Vann Aubrey Thomas will now have a primary scoring role after Brian Roberts and Aamir Solomon graduated. Sam Emich will return and his size and shooting ability will be crucial for Copley this season. Without many stud guards and a shooter in Anthony Detente this team comes in with plenty of questions after an incredible run last season but shouldn’t completely fall off. Mckinley meanwhile will be very young, their two most exciting players will be Sophomores this season. Kobe Johnson and Brent Walker will be a great guard-big combo for the next three seasons and Walker should fit right in after transfering from Huber Heights Wayne in Dayton.
1 Lakewood At Saint Edward: A huge rivalry to open the season is exactly where the attention should be, Lakewood and Saint Edward have a fierce rivalry that should be intense when they meet to open up the 2018-19 season. Lakewood only lost three games last season and two of those were against these Eagles. Lakewood returns three players that have committed to further their playing careers, Zion Darby, Tommy Sala, and Tim Smith all have the size to battle with the top teams in the area. Prep Hoops actually listed Lakewood with the second best frontcourt in the state due to this trio. Saint Eds is no pushover either, the Eagles will be playing a very difficult schedule but they have a trio of their own that can compete with anyone in the state. The junior class of Montorie Foster, Grant Huffman, and Devonte Blanton is incredible and they will be the leaders of the team this season. Meechie Terry is also one of the most exciting dunkers in the state and could finally crack the starting lineup.
2 Great Lakes Classic: This is an all day event starting at 11 AM when John Marshall takes on Padua. The event is hosted at Cleveland Heights high school and the premiere matchups are in the evening. At 4:15 Garfield Heights battles John Adams, while I don’t expect the Bulldogs to be challenged, it will be interesting to see the cousin combo of Meechie and Sonny Johnson. Garfield Heights also has one of the best frontcourts in the state with Brison Waller, Gilbert Davis, Brent Darby, and Jesse Laster. At 6:00 Lutheran East takes on Saint Ignatius, I never got the chance to see Iggy play in person last season, but stud point guard Tevin Jackson has left for CCC. Lutheran East is stacked and Ej Farmer is a clear high major player in my opinion, the Falcons should be a top competitor for a state title in division three. The final game of the night is CCC Vs Solon. CCC will have a much different team as the Jackson brothers have graduated and left, but Tevin Jackson (unrelated) is taking over at point guard but when I watched CCC in the summer it was a different guard who caught my eye, that was Josh Ortiz. Watching them go against Trent Williams and Mike Bekelja should be awesome as Solon should once again have one of the top offenses in the area.
Bonus: Midview shootout: This is classified as a bonus game because originally this was second on the list because Lakewood Vs Saint Edward was on Friday. Midview is hosting a shootout the same day as well, it tips off with the hosting Middies taking on Medina, Midview returns Johnny Manning while Medina is led by Corey Tripp. Elyria takes on North Ridgeville, it will be interesting to see who takes over for the Rangers as Mj Smith has graduated. The final game of the night is the one to watch because Lorain takes on Euclid, the Titans are fresh off a final four appearance and return pretty much everyone. Devon Grant is an absolute beat, Taevon Pierre-Louis has one of the highest motors in the state, and Jordan Jackson is a two sport stud. Euclid is led by Garvin Clarke, one of the top players in the state for the class of 2020.
1 Great Lakes Classic: The only games on the second are in Cleveland Heights but there are some interesting matchups regardless. Warrensville Heights plays East Tech at 2:30, that gives fans the chance to see Brandon Rush and Ramelle Arnold once again. Warrensville Heights should compete for a state title in division three and Rush is one of the most explosive guards in the area. Cleveland Heights, the hosting team is battling Shaker at 6:00, Heights was looking at a rebuilding season but with Jaelyn Withers transferring in from North Carolina, Heights should be one of the most physical teams in the area. Heights also adds a transfer from John Hay who averaged over 20 points per game last season in Nigel Martin. Seeing Martin play on a better team against better competition will be fascinating. Shaker is going to likely have a rebuilding season, but Dakota Cochran is one of my favorite players in the area. The wing is just so polished for his age and last season really played his role well for a team led by Christian Guess and Dale Bonner. Without those two and Kevin Bishop, who transfered to Benedictine, the keys to the offense will be running through Cochran and Danny Young Jr. Cochran also shined without Guess at the play by play classics event (which I will preview later in the article) the then Sophomore hit eight threes and had over 30 points in a losing effort against Saint Edward. I watched Young over the summer and was impressed with his poise and shot, it makes sense that the coaches kid would have a high basketball IQ, but Young still impressed me so much as just an incoming freshman. Evanell Lightly will be playing for the Raiders this season after playing at VASJ last season, with this transfer the Raiders have replaced Bishop with a younger piece to build for a 2019-20 run. The night is wrapping up with Richmond Heights taking on NDCL, the Spartans should contend for the division four state title and return four starters who scored in double figures last season. They also add a 6’5 transfer named Anthony Maxie from Benedictine, his added presence inside should help out rebounding and competing against teams in higher divisions throughout the regular season.
1 SVSM Vs Spire (At Canton Memorial Fieldhouse): So I’m not even sure if this game is actually happening because SVSM doesn’t list this game on their schedule and Spire doesn’t have a reliable schedule anywhere. However playbyplayclassics.com lists this game as happening at 7:30 and cleveland.com has the game tipping at 8 so double check when and if this game is happening. After that caveat I am going to give a quick preview of this game because I talk about both of these teams in detail throughout the article, Spire will give SVSM some trouble with their size, Isaiah Jackson will be tough to handle inside but I’m confident that coach Joyce will have a gameplan ready to deal with him. My favorite matchup of this game is Seth Wilson against Rocket Watts. Watts is such a polished player and can score from anywhere on the court, I’m a huge Wilson fan and seeing him go against somebody as skilled as Watts will be fun to watch. Neither guard forces a ton of shots so they might not put up insane counting stats but I’d expect this matchup to decide who wins this game. I talk about the rest of the Irish squad later in the article so don’t worry about me leaving out plenty of the talent they have here.
1 Maple Heights At West Geauga: This may come as a surprise but this is the game I’m most interested in on this date. West Geauga is led by Sophomore beast Josh Irwin. Irwin averaged a double double in his freshman campaign and has already added division one offers before his sophomore season begins. I’m honestly not sure who Maple Heights will have leading their team with Alfonse Hale graduating, but Maple should have a physical team that really gets after it. I’m very interested to see how Irwin will handle a physical and aggressive team like Maple and with a schedule that is light with premier matchups on the night, checking out a dude with interest from Ohio State and Michigan as a Sophomore is never a bad idea.
2 Richmond Heights At Lorain: I know I’ve already talked about both of these teams but this is a fantastic matchup, watching Devon Grant and Jordan Jackson go against Curtis Houston and Gbolahan Adio will be exciting.
1 Cleveland Heights At VASJ: I typically won’t have a game on a Thursday unless it is a huge matchup, but this fits that criteria. Heights is led by Withers and he will be one of the best players in the state, watching him any chance you can is a good idea. VASJ will feel the loss of Jerry Higgins but with Jaden Hameed taking over there should be too big of a drop off for the Vikings. Latrace Jackson will be a huge body down low for VASJ, watching how Withers handles one of the few players in the area who will be bigger than him will be interesting. Jackson isn’t the most skilled offensive player but has the body to compete all night against the Louisville commit. Jordan Calhoun is also another player to watch for VASJ, he didn’t have a ton of ball handling responsibility last season with Higgins and Hameed but could be more than just a spot up shooter this season for the Vikings.
1 Canton Mckinley At Glen Oak: With this preview I don’t want to keep going back to the same group of schools, and this matchup gives fans a chance to see some of the top young talent in the Akron Canton area. Each of these teams have one stud guard and an athletic big. Mckinley has Kobe Johnson running the show at point, the Sophomore guard can shoot off the dribble and take it coast to coast with his 6’3 frame. Down low Brent Walker is a force, the transfer from Huber Heights Wayne should have an instant impact. The 6’5 big is very athletic and can throw down some vicious dunks. Mckinley might have sophomore sensations, but Glen Oak boasts a pair of incredible freshman this season. Ramar Pryor should be one of the top guards in the area for the class of 2022 (a class stacked at guard) and Josiah Harris has already picked up division one offers, the 6’6 forward doesn’t look or play like a freshman at all.
2 Stow At North Royalton: Stow was one of the best teams I never got the chance to see last season but now at Ohio University I can see Mason McMurray do crazy dunks in person every time the Bobcats play at home. What I can’t see from Athens is his partner in crime in Evan Bainbridge, Bainbridge is committed to Kent State and threw down an alley oop to cap off the upset victory over SVSM last season. North Royalton has Omar Abuhamdeh who has an offer from Iowa among other division one schools. When I saw Abuhamdeh he was held scoreless in the first half and looked rushed during his high school debut. He did possess a jumper with solid form and quick handles and potentially seeing his growth would be soon because the only frame of reference I have for his game isn’t exactly pretty.
Bonus: SVSM At Moeller: This would be game of the season, but it’s being played in Cincinnati. If you have the means to go to this game, do it. These are two of the top teams in the state and both teams have division one talent across their roster, however with it being played around three hours away I can’t exactly post it as an attainable game to attend.
1 Toledo Saint John’s At Saint Edward: We were all expecting this matchup last season with a chance for a final four appearance on the line but Devon Grant had other plans. Each team loses some key pieces from last season, but it will be Toledo Saint Johns that has to replace their star after Vincent Williams left for VCU. I’m going to be honest here I know nothing about Saint John’s after they lost Houston King and Williams but I’m sure they will be talented again this season, they are one of the best teams in the Toledo area year after year so they should be competitive in this game. It’s the only time the Toledo powerhouse comes to Cleveland this season and they will host CCC later in the season, so seeing the Titans should be a priority on the 8’th for all Cleveland high school basketball fans.
2 Solon At Benedictine: This is a fantastic matchup, Solon is replacing Sincere Carry, who is already starting at Duquesne! But I mean who could’ve predicted Carry would have early success in college, I don’t know maybe anyone who watched him play during his senior season? Carry will be impossible to replace, but we could see JV stud Marcus Steele take over his guard spot in the starting lineup, Steele was fantastic at the JV level as a freshman but couldn’t see the floor with the best trio of guards in the state playing above him. The Comets are fresh off a state title appearance where they fell to Moeller, but with the splash bros, Trent Williams and Mike Bekelja back, expectations are high again. David Marbury could be one of the players taking a huge step up, without Carry somebody else has to help out the offense and Marbury was inconsistent offensively when I watched him last season, but he showed enough flashes that he could eventually become that guy this season. If Marbury can limit turnovers, space the floor, and compete down low, the Comets could see another 20+ win season. Nick Close is another returning starter for the Comets, him and Marbury both have experience down low after last seasons state championship run. Marbury also has a younger brother named Sam who is a freshman, Sam could be a prospect to watch down the road. Benedictine will be one of the most exciting teams in the area with Davin Ziegler running the show at point for the Bengals. Ziegler, a Bowling Green commit can fly and he’s always a candidate for a highlight dunk. (He’s already caught a body this preseason) Andy Barba is another MAC commit who will be going to Miami (OH) after the 2020 school year. Barba was inconsistent when I saw him last season but the physical tools are obvious, he is a taller wing who is an elite shooter and can slam. If Barba can put it all together he will be a nightmare for defenses to game plan against. Benedictine also adds some needed size down low with Kevin Bishop coming in from Shaker Heights, he will bring experience down low. Eric Buckner Jr and Jashun Cobb should see more responsibility with Chris Jefferson leaving, and BJ Busbee could be a younger player to watch, he scored around 20 PPG in JV last season as a freshman. Potentially Busbee and Steele could become stars in the future, but for now they’ll likely play lesser roles.
1 Euclid At Garfield: These two teams squared off in the sectional final last season and the Panthers gave Sonny Johnson and company all they could handle before falling short of the upset bid. William Saunders is gone for Euclid but Alex Heath, Julian Whiteside, and most importantly Ohio State commit Alonzo Gaffney have left Garfield Heights. Garvin Clarke Vs Meechie Johnson is one of the best guard matchups you could create in the state and watching them go at it should be a treat. Reggie Priah, Mario Lacy, and Octavious Hardy will all have the challenge of trying to slow down Garfield Heights talented frontcourt. This will also give fans the chance to see some talented freshman, Sonny Johnson Jr gets plenty of hype from his dad (and for good reason) but Jaiden Cox-Holloway should be an instant contributor for Euclid and seeing him battle against an experienced and talented Garfield Heights team will be a great early season test. These two teams know each other well and Euclid seems to always compete well against a more talented Bulldogs squad even when they have to go on the road to do it, I’d expect nothing less this time around from the Panthers.
2 NC Hoover At Glen Oak: I’ve already talked about how talented Glen Oak’s freshman duo is, but NC Hoover has one freshman that is probably more talented than either of the Golden Eagles. Sencire Harris is one of the better guard prospects in the country for the class of 2022. I’ve never seen Harris in person but his highlight videos are insane! Harris has solid vision and can make the flashy pass to his teammates often. He has crazy vertical explosiveness for someone his age and this allows him to not only throw down crazy dunks but also block shots when he’s playing helpside defense. If Harris continues to grow as a player there is no doubt in my mind that he won’t be playing college basketball at a high major program. It’s also awesome that this is a freshman vs freshman point guard battle, obviously both players have a lot to learn but I’m pretty sure their talent is going to be clear when they step on the floor.
1 Cleveland Heights At Lutheran East: This will be one of the best matchups of the season with both teams having a ton of talent. Lutheran East has Farmer, Nehemiah Benson, Jay Billingsley (who will be ineligible for this game due to a transfer), Collin Albers, Davyon Adams, and Sirr Hughes. The best thing about Lutheran East is that none of these players will be seniors, this team should be even better next season, which is a scary thought for the rest of division three. Cleveland Heights is a team I’ve talked about enough, we know Withers is one of the best players in the area but I want to see who will step up at guard, going up against Lutheran East isn’t going to be easy for ball handlers and if Cleveland Heights hasn’t figured out who their decision makers will be at the guard position it could cause trouble.
2 Hoban At VASJ: This is a NCL matchup that should be very competitive, Hoban loses Garrett Houser and Collen Gurley but return high flyer Dominick Moegerle. Darryl Peterson could step into a larger role this season along with Quan Easterling. Matt Salopek is a Miami (OH) football commit but he could make a bigger impact on the hardwood this season, potentially stepping in for Houser taking over ball handling responsibilities. VASJ will be a team I want to see more this season because of Jaden Hameed, the sophomore guard has to step up this season if the Vikings want to compete for a NCL title. The Vikings are also very senior laden this season so if they will make a run in division two for the playoffs this seems like a perfect year to do it now that SVSM has left their region.
1 SVSM At CCC: I absolutely love watching SVSM, they play with such an aggressive style and when you are as talented as the Irish are it creates many highlight plays. This is probably the best chance to see the Irish before they battle it out with Garfield Heights at the winter tournament, and getting a reference for what the Bulldogs will be facing is crucial. Lunden Mcday is an Ohio university commit and I cannot wait to watch him in Athens the next three years, but he should be fun to watch as a high school senior as well. Seth Wilson is probably my favorite player in the area, the man is just so poised for a Sophomore and he impresses me with his high IQ every time I watch him. Wilson understands he doesn’t have to force shots with teammates as talented as his and his efficiency is incredible because of this. Malakai Brenham is a player I first found out about this summer watching the Irish and I feel in love after he made multiple steals and layups for the Irish press. The sophomore forward is very athletic and his wingspan makes it difficult for opposing players to advance past. Brenham is a player I will be watching closely because if he develops he could be a high major type player, he’s still a bit raw offensively but has loads of potential. Chris Painter and Keyshawn Jones are also two senior returning starters who should be leaders for a team with plenty of experience coming back. CCC doesn’t return a single starter from last season, but with Tevin Jackson transfering in they have some talent joining the program. Coach Duke also consiscently has one of the scrappiest teams in the area which always makes them a tough team to blow out. CCC will also have some size this season with Taryl Davis, Trevon Wells, Quintin Stephens, and Deshaun Nettles all standing 6’4 or above.
2 Solon At Saint Ignatius I’ve already talked about Solon in detail but Ignatius should be a good test for the Comets offense. Kevin Davet will give David Marbury, Nick Close, and the rest of Solon’s frontcourt issues with his size, Davet stands at around 6’8 and will be a force down low. Nate Hubbard is another big body that the Wildcats will possess this season. This will truly be a battle of contrasting styles and it will be fascinating to see if Solon can speed up Ignatius or if the size of the Wildcats dominate the Comets. The Comets also have a clear advantage at the guard position, but it will be interesting to see how Chase Toppin and Lukas Bielek handle guarding Bekelja and Williams.
1 Saint Edward At Brush: There isn’t a wrong answer for the top spot today because there are two crazy matchups, but since I haven’t talked about Brush I thought it was fitting I include them in the top spot here. Brush has three upperclassmen with division one offers in Dj Dial, Andre Harris, and John Hughley. Dial is a very small point guard but he competes and is a great floor general, that was on display when he hit the game winning layup against Cornerstone Christian at the Dunk for Diabetes last season. Harris is an athletic wing who I would like to see more self creation, it seems like he might rely too much on transition opportunities and Dial and Hughley feeding him. If Harris can become a better scorer in the halfcourt Brush will be difficult to stop. I love this matchup because despite St Eds being slightly smaller, I know head coach Eric Flannery will come up with a gameplan to make things difficult for Hughley all night. I also want to see Grant Huffman become the player he was his freshman season, last year he was battling an injury and every time I watched him play I was disappointed, if he plays like his reputation he could be the most improved player in the area. I also want to see how Montorie Foster handles an experienced point guard matchup with Dial, Foster is bigger and stronger but won’t have the experience in this matchup, I think Foster is one of the most underrated players in the area and he will have to win this matchup to prove that statement correct. Brush also has a talented freshman in Elmore James, coach Chet Mason has hyped him up and I’m sure Flannery will make things difficult on a freshman handling the ball.
2 Lutheran East At Lorain: I will actually likely be going to this game, I never got to see either of these teams last season and because I’m back for Christmas break for only around a month this is a perfect opportunity to knock out two birds with one stone. I’ve gone in depth on both of these teams already in this article but I just can’t wait for this matchup, if only I could attend both of these games that would be ideal, but settling for Lutheran East and Lorian will be just fine by me.
1 Garfield Heights At Shaker Heights: If you watched these two teams compete last season you would understand just how hype this rivalry is. The first matchup included MGK, a Christian Guess poster on Alonzo Gaffney, and a crazy Garfield Heights comeback. The playoff matchup had tickets selling for $50 on twitter and was the nail in the coffin for Alonzo Gaffney’s Ohio high school basketball career. Neither of these teams are as individually talented as last season, but there is a new added storyline that I’m going to love watching and that is Sonny Johnson Jr Vs Danny Young Jr. With both of the coaches having their son running point for their respective teams, it’s going to be an awesome chess match. I’ve talked about the wings and bigs for both of these teams but Jesse Laster against Dakota Cochran should be a good test for where each player is.
1 Solon At Mentor: Whenever these two teams play, there will be points and this season should be no different. This game will probably be one of the most aesthetically pleasing games of the season with two teams that are well coached with talented guards. I’ve broken down Solon enough this article so for this matchup I’ll focus on a Mentor team that I didn’t get to see last season. A pair of Luke’s are the most well known players for the Cardinals. Chicone stood at 5’5 his last season and appeared in 21 games in his freshman season. He’s grown to 5’8 and after losing experienced scorers he will be going into a role where he has much more responsibility. Floriea is the only returning starter on the team and could be their leading scorer this season. Alex Edwards and Caleb Piks also project to be starters on a Cardinals team that could be due for a huge rebuilding season by Mentor standards.
2 Benedictine At Hoban: I’m glad the NCL has changed up their divisions to create more matchups between good basketball teams and good basketball players, I’m a fan of when that happens. I think the matchup that everyone will be watching is Andy Barba and Dominick Moegerle, the two wings are both athletic and could be guarding each other all night.
1 Lexington Vs Copley (Wooster College Shootout) I’m not sure what the exact schedule for the Wooster college shootout is because I can’t find it anywhere but according to Copley’s team website they will be playing this game at Wooster College. I’m guessing there are other games at Wooster that night (Olmsted Falls plays Wooster so I’d imagine that’s at the same location) but this Copley matchup intrigues me. This season Copley is led by Vann Aubrey Thomas and Sam Emich but I’m more interested in this matchup because of one guy on Lexington, Cade Stover. Football fans probably recognize this name because he is the third ranked player in the state and an Ohio state commit. His achievements on the gridiron are well documented but he is also close to becoming the all time leading scorer for his school, entering the season 91 points short of setting the record. Lexington is also coming off a season where they made the state final four after beating Bay Village, before falling to SVSM in the Schottenstein Center.
2 Rhodes At Revere: This is a game I’m pretty much only interested in because of one individual matchup and that’s Hunter Drenth against Amarion Dickerson. Drench played a sidekick role with Pete Nance last season but he’s the guy for Revere this season, Dickerson is a 6’4 wing who showed flashes as a freshman and should develop this season. Rhodes also has a freshman point guard named Jamal Sumlin who could be a prospect to keep an eye on.
1 NEO Christmas Classic: It’s events like this that makes me love high school basketball, and nobody creates hype around his events quite like Sonny Johnson does and this season is bigger and better than ever for the christmas classic he hosts every year. The festivities tip off at 11 AM on Thursday December 27’th when Cornerstone Christian takes on Maple Heights, I’m not too familiar with either of these teams because Cornerstone loses a majority of their scoring from last seasons state runner up squad in division four and Maple loses Alfonse Hale so I’ll consider this an early learning experience for me. Euclid takes on Shaw and this will be the first time I’ll be watching Garvin Clarke in person, something that I can’t wait for, not sure what Shaw will really bring to the table but Clarke will make the game worth watching. Elyria Catholic takes on Glen Oak in a super underrated matchup. Jarred Logan has apparently taken huge strides this summer, the wing has received an offer from Air Force and many experts have raved about his game. The matchup between Logan and Glen Oak freshman Josiah Harris will be awesome to watch. Elyria Catholic is projected to be one of the better teams in division three this season while Glen Oak should be building towards the future with Harris and Pryor being freshman projected to play major roles. Cleveland Heights takes on CCC in the third matchup of the day and I’ll be interested to see Withers for the first time in person in this matchup. Once again I’m not sure who will be running the point for Heights this season, but their matchup with Ignatius transfer Tevin Jackson should be fun to watch. I do expect Cleveland Heights to simply outmuscle CCC with their size in this contest so it’s not one of the ones I’m most excited for throughout the entire weekend. Brush takes on Warrensville Heights in the best game of the opening night, Brandon Rush and Ramelle Arnold against Dj Dial and Andre Harris will be awesome from the guard spot. Once again I think Brush controls this game because of a size advantage but that is from just one man, big John Hughley. Hughley has gained multiple high major offers this offseason and I expect him to become an even bigger force than he was last season for the Arcs. Without the proper size to compete with Hughley down low, Rush and Arnold will have to be on top of their game for Warrensville to have a shot at the win. Solon takes on Green and I’ve mentioned Solon enough but Green is a team I’m unfamiliar with, I know they lost to Hoban in the district semis by three points. Kaleb Martin is their point guard and he will likely need to outplay Williams and Bekelja to give his team a chance. Friday is in my opinion the best day of the classic, it all starts off at 11 AM when Revere battles Beachwood. Hunter Drenth will be the main attraction for Revere who will be replacing Pete Nance, but he will be aided by guard Samson Albert and wing Chris Richardson who each played major roles last season. Beachwood must replace Sirr Hughes and Collin Albert, two freshman who contributed for the Bison last season as they each left for Lutheran East. Jayson Woodrich is one of the top shooters in the area but when I watched Beachwood in the summer, he was forcing bad shots and had a tough time creating space without his talented teammates from last season. Buchtel takes on Gilmour in the 12:30 contest. If you don’t know the name Chris Livingston yet, get to know it. Livingston is currently ranked second in the country for the class of 2022 and had Lebron James checking out his game during an AAU tournament this summer. Livingston appears to already be a polished prospect, he already has the size and body needed to play at the next level and his ball handling and shot are good enough for his age. If Livingston just improves at a baseline level for the next four seasons he will be playing college ball at the school of his choice or be going straight to the NBA if the rules are changed by that time, he’s already that good. If there was any knock on his game it’s probably quickness, he timed very slow at the NEO super 60 combine, in the pro agility and the 3/4 court sprint, finishing last among players tested. His brother Cordell Livingston isn’t quite the player Chris is but the two of them should be exciting to watch together, I hope they have the great chemistry and that is on display this season because with a talent like Chris there is always the chance for a prep school to swoop in and amaze him. Buchtel aren’t just a squad with two freshman, they return two senior starters in Jonathan King and Anthony Hunt Jr, King was a double double machine last season averaging eight rebounds per game. Gilmour are no slouches either though, I already talked about Cj Charleston and Connor O’Toole but I want to see who else contributes this season for Gilmour, they lost Dechlan Kirincic to graduation who was a 1,000 point scorer during his career for the Lancers. Richmond Heights takes on Padua at 2:30, obviously Richmond Heights, a division four contender is the headliner but I want to see who Padua is rolling with this season. Aaron Whitehead was supposed to be their main guy this season but he’s now at Lorain. Kevin Peterson was a loss the Bruins knew they were taking, but it’s always difficult to replace someone as individually talented as Peterson. I know coach Brain Ansbury was high on his youth coming through his program but I’m unfamiliar with any of their individual games so I could potentially find a sleeper player I like in this game. Lakewood takes on Massillon Washington in the fourth game of the day and this could be a battle of guards vs bigs. I already talked about how much I love Lakewood’s size, but their guards are still a question mark right now. Massillon is led by Jalen Pope, Jayden Ballard, and Brett Martin. Pope is an experienced off guard, Ballard is an athletic wing who has a football offer from Ohio State, and Martin will be battling down low with one of Lakewood’s big men all game. I want to see Ballard show off his athleticism and also if any of Lakewood’s senior bigs have separated themselves and if they look like a division one player. Ballard against Tim Smith is also one of the more underrated individual matchups for the weekend, Smith is a taller wing who can score but Ballard is an insane athlete, it will be interesting to see who gets the best of who when the Rangers have the ball. The main event of the tournament proceeds that game though, and that is host Garfield Heights welcoming SVSM to their gym. Last season Seth Wilson hit a buzzer beater to send the game into overtime before the Bulldogs took over and got the win. This season SVSM comes in as the favorite on paper, with the Irish returning everyone from their rotation but point guard Scott Walter. Josh James and Chris Painter are incoming seniors who could take over some ball handling responsibility but I think that Seth Wilson will have the keys to the offense as a sophomore. If you watched Wilson play you wouldn’t think he’s an underclassmen, he plays with a poise that few players show on the floor and he understands that his teammates are very talented. Malakhai Branham and Keyshawn Jones should be forces down low along with Lunden Mcday providing more winning experience at the wing. The Irish only had one senior last year but this time around they have six players that will be leaving after this season. Garfield Heights isn’t lacking for talent but losing Alonzo Gaffney a year early will hurt. Meechie Johnson going up against Seth Wilson is probably a matchup of the top two guards in the state for the class of 2021, I’d say Wilson won the individual matchup last year but Meechie walked away victorious, could we see a role reversal this time around? Branham going against Brent Darby is also a great matchup of two younger forwards, both are skilled and could develop into stars in the future. Shaker Heights battles Lutheran East to wrap up the second day and I’ve already gone in depth on both teams but two matchups I want to see are Collin Albert against Danny Young Jr and Dakota Cochran against Ej Farmer. If Young can handle himself against Albert and the rest of the Falcons defense that would be impressive from the freshman. Farmer is a higher rated recruit than Cochran but I think Dakota’s size and length could give Farmer fits, if Ej can score with any sort of efficiency I’d say that’s a win for Lutheran East because of their depth advantage. The final day begins with Parma taking on Warren Harding, I honestly don’t know much about either of these teams for the upcoming season, I know Harding played Garfield Heights to a stalemate in the district final with less than 70 total points scored between the teams, so hopefully they let the game have a little more pace than that or it could be a sleepy start to the third day of the tournament. Bedford takes on East Tech in the second game of the day, East Tech could be one of the top teams in the senate league this season so seeing them should be fun. Bedford is coming off a zero win season but there is room for optimism in the program, they had a great run in the Terry Rozier summer league, falling in the semifinals to Twinsburg. Bedford has some size down low and athletes at the guard position so I’d be stunned if they failed to win a game again this season. Glenville takes on Garfield Heights just 20.5 hours after the Bulldogs are scheduled to tip against SVSM. If Garfield doesn’t come in prepared the Tarblooders could give them some trouble but Garfield is the much more talented team. West Geauga battles Wadsworth and I’m so thankful I’ll get the opportunity to see Josh Irwin in person, I’ve already talked about West Geauga so I’ll focus on Wadsworth for this battle, Wadsworth was an eight seed in the Barberton district last season but are bringing in a new coach after Mike Schmeltzer stepped down after a 10 year run as the Grizzlies head coach. I want to see how Irwin handles a team that should possess some size, this is compared to the first matchup I previewed with him against Maple Heights, who are more a speed team. Wadsworth’s primary scorer this season could be wing Jack Simmons who could have a nice backcourt combo with fellow senior Carson Risher after the two had a very successful campaign on the football field in the fall. Lake Catholic takes on Saint Ignatius in the fifth game of the night and Luka Eller against Kevin Davet is the matchup I’m pumped for. Eller has shown me that he can score on bigger guys on the perimeter and Davet is another roadblock for him to overcome. Eller uses his elite ball handling ability at his size to create space for himself to use his jumpshot. I’m more intrigued for this matchup when Ignatius has the ball, Eller can’t get worked down low by an opponent with significantly more weight than he possesses. If Eller wants to be a high major player he will have to put on some muscle and this should be a good test for his low post defense. Luke Frazier is one of the best guards in the class of 2020 in the area and watching him in person is always fun. Frazier is sneaky athletic as I’ve seen him put down a vicious dunk in traffic right in front of me in summer league, he also has a quick handle and can create for himself whenever he wants. It’s a good thing both of the Lake Catholic studs can create for themself because their roster is so thin, they lack much talent outside of the Junior duo, if Ignatius can limit those two it should be smooth sailing but that’s easier said than done. I also want to see how Sean Fitzgerald takes a step up in his senior season, he’s a returning starter and could be a crucial third piece for the Cougars. Benedictine and Mentor wrap up the tournament and I’ve gone into detail about both of these teams but I want to see how Luke Chicone competes defensively against a Benedictine team without a non factor on offense, if his size makes him unplayable defensively the Cardinals could struggle to score enough to keep up with the athletic Bengals.
1 SVSM At Saint Ignatius: I’m not going to go into too much detail here because I’ve done that enough with both teams, but I want to see how Ignatius defends Seth Wilson and who defends Davet for SVSM. This is also one more opportunity for me to see Lunden Mcday before he comes to Athens next season so I’ll probably be watching some new years eve hoops. Kevin Davet against Savion Washington could be a nice battle of big men too.
1 Fairview Vs Elyria Catholic (Quicken Loans Arena) I’m 6,000 words into this story so I think I can plug my alma mater, Fairview High School. The Warriors had their winningest season in school history when I was a senior and return a solid core for their final season in the Patriot Athletic Conference. Fairview will actually be taking on EC yearly starting next year in conference play when the Warriors move to the GLC. Individually this game has some talent on both sides, Luke Howes is pretty much unknown by most high school fans but Prep Hoops Ohio’s lead writer Anthony Garcia absolutely loves him. Howes isn’t the quickest or most athletic but he has a tight handle with a great jumpshot, Garcia also praised the junior’s unselfishness when he attended the Prep Hoops camp this fall. Howes isn’t the only noteworthy player for the Warriors, juniors Noah Mesaros and Martin Lowry played key roles in the win record season and both will have more scoring responsibility this season with the loss of seven seniors. Lowry is a long guard who makes his mark in transition by getting steals while Mesaros will have the pleasure of likely matching up with Panthers star Jarred Logan. This isn’t the highest quality game on the list but with it being played at the Q with one player on each team worth knowing, it’s worth a mention on your calendar.
1 Warrensville Heights At Lutheran East: This is probably one of the worst Friday’s of the season but this contest between two division three powers shouldn’t disappoint. If you are this far into the article you know both of these teams but I want to see if Brandon Rush as the only notable senior in this game can will his team to victory. This also is a likely district championship preview so you might see these teams hold some things back, but the winner will likely be confident heading into that potential matchup. I also want to see how the Tigers can take advantage of their experience advantage, besides Rush, Warrensville has Jamal Brown, Keith Harris, Anthony Wright, Daivion Porter, and Aundrey Farmer.
2 Massillon Jackson At Canton Mckinley: This is another opportunity to see Kobe Johnson and Brent Walker together. They will be facing stiff competition against a Jackson squad that isn’t used to losing. The Polar Bears lose Jaret Pallotta and and Ethan Stanislawski but shouldn’t fall too far off.
1 Play by Play Classics (At Elyria Catholic)
This is the first of a two day event at Elyria Catholic High School with tons of talent. The opening day begins at 3 PM with Olmsted Falls taking on Brunswick, this should be a good matchup because Falls returns almost everyone from a team that lost only two regular season games last season. The Bulldogs are very well coached and could have the best chemistry in the area considering how long this group of seniors has played basketball together. Eric Hanna is probably the most well known player on the Bulldogs but Braden Galaska, Gavin Dietrich, and Michael Fritz are other solid role players that help make this team so tough to beat. These group of four seniors have the experience for Falls to be a tough out once again in the SWC. Brunswick loses a good amount from a competitive team but return Kyle Gossler and other shooters. Gossler will probably be the most talented guy on the court and he is the floor general for a potent offense. I saw Brunswick take on Solon once last season and was impressed with the shooting ability that they possessed, this game should be high scoring with few mistakes from experienced teams. Some of that shooting comes from guards Trevor Mackey and Tre Massey, both will be required to take on larger roles this season after the Blue Devils graduated four of their five starters. Shaker Heights then tangles with division four power Richmond Heights, I’ve discussed both teams in detail but watching the progress Danny Young Jr makes throughout the season is critical especially against a team that will pressure as much as Richmond Heights will with Curtis Houston leading the charge for the Spartans. The third game of the day is one of my favorite matchups of the season, Lutheran East takes on Lakewood. Lakewood obviously has the size but East has the guards, this is a classic matchup of contrasting styles and will be amazing to watch. I’ve talked about both teams in detail so there isn’t much more to say about this game, it will be incredible. The day is finalized by Canton Mckinley taking a trip north to face off with Cleveland Heights. Heights is obviously headlined with Jaelyn Withers and this is a huge challenge for Huber Heights Wayne transfer Brent Walker, if Walker can prove he can compete with Withers it could boost his stock greatly.
2 Saint Edward At Benedictine: By this point in the article you know each team so the matchup I want to see is Davin Ziegler against Montorie Foster, I think Foster might actually be a better fundamental basketball player but Ziegler is one of the best athletes in the state, he could just blow past him consistently to get to the rack. Another interesting angle to watch out for is Devontae Blanton against Kevin Bishop, Bishop had some success for Shaker last season when the Raiders put up 90 points in a losing effort without Christian Guess against the Eagles. If Benedictine can shoot well enough that Bishop has space to operate down low he could have a big night. Meechie Terry also took flight last season against Benedictine so I’m interested to see what he has in store for an encore.
1 Play By Play Classics: The second day of the event starts off with John Hay and Gilmour, I’m pretty unfamiliar with John Hay but this is another chance to see Cj Charleston and Connor O’Toole and that’s never a bad thing. Solon then takes on Lake Catholic, the matchup between Mike Bekelja and Luke Frazier is super interesting, Frazier is quicker and has the size so I’d think he has his way offensively but Bekelja is an awesome shooter and him plus Trent Williams will give problems to any backcourt when the Comets have the ball. If anyone else steps up for Lake Catholic besides Frazier and stud Luka Eller, this could be a high scoring game with tons of threes. This game is also another chance for David Marbury and Nick Close to prove themselves against a guy as talented as Eller going against him. The next matchup is one I can’t wait to see, it’s Saint Edward Vs Kennedy Catholic. Kennedy Catholic is led by my favorite player in the nation in Oscar Tshiebwe, Tshiebwe, the West Virginia commit is a five star according to some recruiting sites and will blow you away with his size and vertical athleticism. When I saw Tshiebwe last season he was still outside the top 50 players in the nation but after a huge summer where he outplayed the top ranked player in the country in James Wiseman, major recruiting sites saw what I saw as well. Tshiebwe will give coach Flannery all he can handle down low, and this is an awesome challenge for Devontae Blanton to handle down low. The matchup I’m also intrigued with is Grant Huffman against Mattia Acunzo, Acunzo is a Toledo commit and his size and offensive skill is impressive. Huffman was very disappointing last season when I watched him, the Junior was hurt during his Sophomore campaign and never got back to the level he played at during his Freshman run to Columbus. With Huffman back healthy (and throwing down windmill dunks) I expect him to win this matchup but it won’t be an easy task at all. Finally, Maceo Austin is a Duquesne commit and he’s an elite shooter at the wing position. Two other players on Kennedy Catholic I want to get a look at are Ike Hester and Michael Moore. Hester is a 6’5 wing who will be playing his Junior season this year. Hester didn’t get a ton of playing time in the one game that I saw of his last season but I’m expecting him to start for KC this season. Moore is a 6’8 freshman who is another physical freak. I’m not sure what basketball fundamentals he has but based on videos that I’ve seen of him I’m very intrigued, whenever a kid is that big and athletic at a young age you want to keep your eyes on him. After that treat of a game we get handed a Lorain Vs SVSM matchup that won’t disappoint. Both of these teams made it to Columbus and return most of their team, SVSM only loses their point guard, Scott Walter while Lorain returns every major contributor and adds a couple transfers from a team that made it to Columbus, I don’t have to market this game to a basketball fan so I won’t waste my time. Garfield Heights then battles Brush and at this event last season the nationally ranked Bulldogs were stunned, and fell to John Hughley and the Arcs. Now these two teams could come in with similar skill levels, so this won’t be a massive upset either way. Hughley Vs Brison Waller will be one to watch down low, Waller doesn’t have a ton of weight on his 6’9 frame so Hughley will likely try and bully him down low. St Ignatius plays the host Elyria Catholic at 7 in the penultimate game of the night and I’m not enamored with this matchup like I have been with the past three but it should be a solid game either way with Jarred Logan taking on Kevin Davet. Stud Chris Livingston plays in the final game of the night against First Love Christian Academy. First Love isn’t an OHSAA school so I’m not too knowledgeable with their team but Livingston should make this game worth staying for.
1 Canton Mckinley Vs Nc Hoover: Sincere Harris Vs Kobe Johnson is Canton’s best underclassman point guard matchup, that alone makes this the game of the night in my opinion.
2 Shaker Heights At Solon: These two teams played three times last season with Sincere Carry leading the Comets to victory every time but without him the Raiders have a better shot. Both teams lose plenty from district championship teams from last season but Dakota Cochran, and the splash bros for Solon means this game still has enough star power.
1 Lorain At Cleveland Heights: Jaelyn Withers Vs Taevon Pierre Louis. Yes please.
2 Saint Ignatius Vs Saint Edward: The Holy War is the best rivalry in Cleveland in my opinion, this contest isn’t as fierce on the hardwood as it is on the gridiron but it is worth experiencing regardless.
1 Westerville South At Saint Ignatius: South is making the two hour trip north to take on Iggy, if you want to learn more about South please go to 270hoops.com because they are not one of the teams from Columbus I know much about.
1 Huber Heights Wayne At SVSM: I’ve talked about SVSM enough throughout this article and Wayne doesn’t really return anyone I’m familiar with so this would be a learning experience for myself as well.
1 Spire At Brush: I really can’t believe I’ll be leaving back for college before this game, but I guess I’m going to miss out. Chet Mason has done a fantastic job hyping this game and his tournament which will be previewed later in the article. He knows the amount of scouts that are brought to these events and if any of Brush’s star players play amazingly he knows the difference it can make in the recruiting process, I know how badly he wants DJ Dial to pick up some more offers, and outplaying Rocket Watts or Lamelo Ball would do the trick.
2 Stow At Solon: Solon has the guards and Stow has a big. I honestly think the other guys will determine the winner in this one, whether Stow’s guards can keep pace with the splash bros and Solon’s bigs staying strong with Baimbridge will be the key factor. Stow’s guards with the responsibility of defending Williams and Bekelja will be Bryce Harvey and Jackson Carlson, both are seniors and should be ready to compete for this challenge. Meanwhile, the Comets will counter Baimbridge with Marbury and Close.
1 Cleveland Heights At Warrensville Heights: I’ve talked in detail about both of these teams, this is the best game of the night by a longshot.
2 Euclid At Brunswick: I haven’t given either of these teams much love expect when they play in a major tournament, but Garvin Clarke Vs Kyle Gossler is a solid floor general matchup.
1 Brush At Shaker: Last season this was one of the games of the year, I’m really pumped for an encore.
2 Solon At Twinsburg: I haven’t given Twinsburg much attention so far but they deserve to be talked about at least once. They won 19 games last season and return a solid core from that team. Ken McElrath and Ryan Felberg will have the responsibility in the backcourt for Twinsburg but they also have some size and athleticism with Ralph Campbell. When I watched Twinsburg I was impressed with their size, and with three kids standing at 6’4 and above they shouldn’t be outrebounded often this season. Josh Wanton is another returning starter for a team that took a massive step forward last season.
1 Lorain At Warrensville: Try finding a better senior point guard matchup than Brandon Rush and Devon Grant all season. I bet you can’t find one.
2 Bay At Holy Name: Another game with awesome lead guards, Erik Painter is one of the highest returning scorers and could break the scoring record that Rj Sunahara set less than a year ago. Holy Name loses 2,000 point scorer Dwayne Cohill but Quentin Richardson is back and the Green Wave have plenty of scoring depth. These two teams have had some memorable games throughout Painter’s career and considering one team has eliminated the other the past two seasons in the district final, this one will be intense.
1 Spire At Saint Edward: Oh boy will this game be crazy, and I don’t think it’s crazy to call this game more hype than Garfield Vs Spire? Is that even possible? Saint Edward doesn’t have the names that Spire has but this team year after year competes when they take on the best teams in the country and that’s a testament to what Eric Flannery has built in Lakewood Ohio. Ed’s doesn’t have the size to stop Isaiah Jackson down low easily but after playing Oscar Tshewbe already earlier in the season, Jackson won’t stun the Eagles. I’m a huge Montorie Foster fan and this is his chance to play against a total stud in Rocket Watts, if Foster can’t take care of the ball for the Eagles offense this could get ugly but I’ll bet on him and the rest of Saint Ed’s to defend the Eagles nest as best they can. This should be a must see for any basketball fan in NEO.
2 SVSM At Benedictine: This is one of the best number two games of the season, so much division 1 talent on the floor but this game will take a back seat on this night.
1 Chet Mason invitational: This tournament has been very hyped up and with the list of teams coming to Lyndhurst Ohio, it should live up to the hype. The invitational begins with East Tech facing off against Maple and Willoughby South taking on Beachwood. These teams are fine but nobody is coming to see those local teams, what Chet has done to create so much buzz is getting prep schools to come to NEO and compete. Oakville Basketball Academy plays Toronto Basketball School at 2:30, I have literally no clue how good either of these teams are so really anything is possible in that matchup. Huntington Prep then takes on Andrews Osborne Academy, Huntington Prep is loaded even after losing Andre Gordon to Sindey, they replaced him with Cincinnati native Greg Tribble. Huntington Prep also still has Jaemyn Brakefield, Aj Hoggard, Quinn Slazinski, and Jt Thor. Each of those guys are four or five star recruits. Andrews Osborne is led by Spire’s old coach and he has Keon Ambrose and Kordell Charles, both of those guys are top 100 in their respective class and have tons of talent. Brush takes their turn to play at 6 when Kennedy Catholic crosses the Ohio border to take on the host Arcs. It will be hard to find a better big man battle than John Hughley and Oscar Tshiebwe this season. Both guys have a solid amount of weight on them and will not be scared to battle and compete down low against one another. Andre Harris will have his hands full with Maceo Austin but Dj Dial might have the point guard edge for Brush. This game will be fun but the final game of the night is also a must watch, when Spire takes on Lutheran East. I’ve talked about both of these teams so much in this article but the amount of talent on the floor throughout this entire day that this event is a must attend especially with the amount of teams that won’t be playing in this area at all the rest of the season.
1 Lakewood At Olmsted Falls: The top two teams in the SWC are matching up, each team gave the others only loss in conference play last season and return most of their team. Because I think Lakewood will be better this season, highlighting the game where Olmsted Falls has home court advantage seems more appropriate. Both of these teams are senior led so I would expect both to be going hard for a conference title after the two split the SWC crown last season, that makes this game even more intense.
2 Lutheran East At Cleveland Heights: I’m going to be brutally honest here, this game has more talent than the first game but I’ve promoted each of these teams so much that it’s only fair I talk about some other teams in the first spot.
1 Lutheran East At Saint Edward: See Lutheran East, I can’t have you play in every marquee game. (Well I could it just wouldn’t be very interesting) These two teams seem to have players that match up so well against each other. At guard it will be Collin Albert and Sirr Hughes against Montorie Foster and Meechie Terry. At Wing and bigs it’s Ej Farmer and Nehemiah Benson against Grant Huffman and Devontae Blanton. Every single matchup on the floor for the starters produces a fascinating one on one matchup and that creates the best type of games because somebody will have to step up and lead their teams, without a ton of seniors for either team you could see some kids grow up in front of your eyes. Despite the youth on Lutheran East, with Jay Billingsley returning before this game, and another returning starter coming back for the Falcons in Davyon Adams, they won’t be super young at this point in the season.
2 Twinsburg At Brecksville-Broadview Heights: I talked a little about Twinsburg but it’s about time I acknowledge Kenny Ganley Jr. The Youngstown State commit is way too good to be left off this article completely, and if you are tired of seeing Lutheran East and Saint Edward by this point in the season, this is a really good breath of fresh air.
1 Garfield Heights At Lorain: This game is the definition of #grimeyszn so this one’s for you third coast hoops.
2 St Edward At CCC: Obviously St Edward has more talent but playing the second night of a back to back is always difficult and CCC gave Eds all they could handle last season, pushing the Eagles to overtime, it’ll be interesting to see how the Eagles respond against a team that gave them so much trouble last season 24 hours after a huge game against Lutheran East.
Honorable mention: SVSM At Kennedy Catholic: I couldn’t put this game on the list because it’s happening in Pennsylvania but this game is awesome.
1 Canton Mckinley At Massillon Jackson: I feel like this is the Akron/Canton version of the new kids on the block against the current rulers of the town. Could be a changing of the torch type of game but I’m sure Jackson will still have something to say about that.
2 Lorain At Maple Heights: If Lorain doesn’t come in focused after the Garfield game they could have some trouble against a Maple Heights team that plays with lots of energy and heart but with Devon and Taevon being by far the most talented players on the floor I’d imagine the Titans roll.
1 Hoban At SVSM: Last season Garett Houser hit a buzzer beater to stun the Irish, he’s gone but everyone on SVSM remembers that finish. This is also one of the best basketball rivalries in the area, it’s worth checking out.
1 Benedictine At Garfield Heights: Last season when these two teams took the court Meechie Johnson had a 50 piece, I can’t wait to see what he has in store. Side note: what a great job by the scheduling people here, after a weak Tuesday night slate there is an awesome matchup on Wednesday and Thursday of that week, allows fans to see a great game every day, or pick their free game to see some hoops.
1 Lutheran East At SVSM: I’ve talked enough about both of these teams but this matchup… I’m intrigued. I’m very intrigued.
2 Saint Edward At Saint Ignatius: The holy war on the basketball court, it’s worth checking out.
1 Massillon Washington At Hoban: These two teams are squaring off in the division two state title game in football but the basketball game should be fun too.
2 VASJ At Euclid: I’m very high on Jaden Hameed but going up against Garvin Clarke is a tough challenge, let’s see if the Sophomore can step up. I think this game could be decided by some role players though, for the Panthers they’ll be relying on Reggie Priah, Mario Lacy, and Octavious Hardy who are all returning starters. The Vikings will counter with seniors Jordan Calhoun, Latrace Jackson, Graham Koppelman, and Jason Priah.
1 Richmond Heights At Lutheran East: These two teams could each win state championships a little more than a month after this game is played. This is a fantastic bar for where each program is at heading into a potential deep playoff run.
2 Solon At Shaker Heights: I’ve already previewed this game, but if you missed the first contest it happens again and should be just as fun.
1 Saint Edward At SVSM: These might be the two best OHSAA teams in the area going at it, it has to be number 1.
2 Lorain At Lutheran East: It is a real shame that Saint Edward decided to play awesome games both days these teams go at it, because this is a matchup worth seeing.
1 Toledo Whitmer At Saint Edward: I really hate that Saint Edward always plays interesting games because I feel like I’m always talking about them. Regardless, Whitmer is worth checking out, they are one of Toledo’s better teams and have a really high IQ point guard in Trey Syroka. The Panthers also have their fair share of athleticism on the wing to battle with the Eagles.
2 Bay At Lakewood: Lakewood has a clear size advantage but Bay has Erik Painter and three point shooting on their side. If the Rockets can make it rain enough they will keep this one interesting for a long time. Lakewood also loses some size from last season, but will have guards Christian Marcano and Derek Walker playing larger roles helping the Rangers potentially speed up the Bulldogs.
1 Warrensville Heights At Cleveland Heights: Brandon Rush and company should be gearing up for the playoff run while the Tigers should be getting ready for the gauntlet that is division one playoffs in northeast ohio. Last season Cleveland Heights won the LEL and was a five seed in their district, FIVE seed!
2 Holy Name At Bay: If you like points this is your game, these two teams have a history of playing high scoring, highly contested games.
1 Cleveland Heights At Garfield Heights: Another chance for Brison Waller to prove himself against a true division one big man. This is also a chance to see how Sonny Johnson has progressed throughout his freshman campaign.
1 Canton Mckinley At SVSM: Regular season finale for the newly division one Irish should be a good one. Kobe Johnson Vs Seth Wilson and Malaki Brenham against Brent Walker are two fantastic Sophomore Vs Sophomore battles.
2 Medina At Shaker Heights: Neither of these teams will likely be high seeds for their district tournament, but I wouldn’t be surprised if either one made a cinderella run. If one team blows you away you could find that cinderella story this season before it happens.
That’s my entire calendar for Northeast Ohio basketball. This was over 12,000 words and took lots of time, if I didn’t mention you in this article I’m very sorry. I love high school basketball but as a player it was difficult to notice a lot of teams because I was playing almost every Tuesday and Friday night. If you believe your team should’ve been included in this list please let me know the marquee game on your schedule that both teams have circled. I try and know as much as possible about the game but with not a ton of information and only 24 hours in a day it gets hard. I need your help too! Well I hope you enjoyed, if you made it this far you must be a diehard fan and if you see me at a game don’t hesitate to say what’s up and talk some hoops.