In this article I’m going to be giving an extensive breakdown of the playoffs for the 2019 season for OHSAA Boys basketball. I will have predictions for every division but I will have more in depth coverage on division I and Northeast Ohio because that’s the area I’ve seen the most this season. Any upset will simply be a lower seeded team beating a higher seeded team. Also, if you think I slept on a team let me know, there are so many teams I haven’t seen this season that I know are awesome, please tell me if your school falls under that category. Hope you enjoy and remember these are just my predictions, anything can happen and I cannot wait to watch these state playoffs as it will hopefully be insane as always.
Division I Cleveland regional
District championship: Jackson over Green. Massillon Jackson has the winning experience it takes to win a district championship in a district without any stud teams but a decent amount of depth. I haven’t seen Jackson this season, but their reputation and ability to endeavor and win a tough Federal league this season is impressive. Anthony Mazzeo is the only rotation player left from the 2017 state championship team, but the Polar Bears have plenty of experience. Green is led by Kaleb Martin who impressed in the only game I saw in a loss to Solon, but I don’t think they will be able to beat Jackson after Jackson just went into Green and won by 10.
Player to watch: Sencire Harris, Harris is one of the most talented freshman in the state and has led a very young Nc Hoover squad to a successful season. When you watch Harris, the physical tools are clear the moment he walks on the floor, and he possesses a tight handle with good vision. He has been productive all season and could be the reason the Vikings make a deep tournament run, the Vikings just pushed the top seeded Jackson Polar Bears to overtime in a game they led the entire regulation period.
Upset: Perry over Nc Hoover, I know I just praised Sencire Harris and how he has led a young Hoover squad, but that’s the problem, they are very young. Hoover also lacks players who can create their own shot and playing a well coached Perry squad could be a problematic matchup.
Other notes: The Canton Mckinley Vs GlenOak sectional semifinal is an insane game, I know that some teams above them have better records but when I watched each of these teams I was fairly impressed, I would not be surprised if the winner of this game gives Jackson all they can handle in a sectional final.
District championship: Brush over Mentor. This would be my favorite potential district final in the region and if it happens I will likely be attending this game. Brush has been one of the best teams in NEO and to the time of this writing (prior to the game against STVM) the Arcs have not lost to a team in OHSAA, their only losses have been to Spire and Kennedy Catholic. Mentor on the other hand was slept on in the preseason because Luke Floria was their only returning primary rotation player, but with Luke Chicone, Mason Trubisky, Chad Rodgers, and others, the Cardinals have boasted one of the top offenses in the area and have only lost twice at the time of writing. Going up against a team with the college talent that Brush has with Dj Dial, Andre Harris, and John Hugley will be difficult, but I expect the Cardinals to compete and score to keep up with the Chet Mason led Arcs.
Player to watch: Trent Williams, Williams is a player most in the area should be familiar with after the Comets run to the state championship game last season. Williams showed the ability to perform in big games, after going off against Copley in a regional championship last season. He’s led the Comets to three straight victories over Medina, Shaker Heights, and Brunswick. After struggling to start the season against a tough schedule and battling injuries, the Comets are peaking at the right time.
Upset: Solon over Willoughby South, I just mentioned how the Comets have been peaking at the right time, well the Rebels aren’t exactly playing their best basketball going into the tournament. My problem with Willoughby South is that they haven’t beaten any marquee team since the second game of the season when they got an impressive win over Lake Catholic. Besides that they have lost twice to Brush, lost to Mentor, and fell to Euclid. Eventually you have to prove you can beat good teams and Solon has done that more often than Willoughby South has and that’s why I expect the Comets to advance to the district tournament.
Other notes: Cleveland Heights will likely get their rematch against Each Tech in the sectional championship if East Tech can advance past the first round. These two teams just squared off at the same building this game would be played, and East Tech came out on top with an insane half court shot to win 63-62. Cleveland Heights just got a big victory over Massillon Jackson, so maybe they are ready for a tournament run.
District championship: Euclid over Shaker Heights, this was a game that was most recently played on the first of February, and Euclid came out on top to stop Shaker’s impressive winning streak. The Panthers have fallen to Mentor and VASJ after this game, but I still think they get it done and advance out of this district. It won’t be easy as the Panthers will likely have to go through multiple teams that beat them in the regular season, as Garfield Heights and Shaker Heights beat Euclid in the regular season once each. Garvin Clarke will have to step up against talented point guards like Danny Young Jr and Sonny Johnson Jr, but I think he has enough help to win the district.
Player to watch: Meechie Johnson, Johnson is one of the most talented Sophomores in the state and has the ability to create off the bounce from beyond the arc better than any player in the area. He routinely makes shots that seem impossible but has been inconsistent this season, if Garfield Heights is going to make a playoff run, the Johnson cousins must be at the top of their game along with senior Brison Waller down low, but it all starts and ends with the guard duo.
Upset: Kenston over Maple Heights: I found it difficult to find an upset in this district as the seeding seems very accurate, but I believe in the Bombers ability to fix some issues they’ve had with losing close games this season. Kenston has been close in numerous games and just ended up coming up short, I feel like they could be due for a close victory and this school knows how to get it done in the playoffs, they just won a football state championship. The Bombers also have some size down low with Ryan Long, he could pose some problems for Maple Heights down low.
District championship: St Edward over Saint Ignatius, the potential third edition of the Holy War should be another fun game with crazy student sections but I think Saint Edward will come out and win comfortably, I was very surprised that the Wildcats were able to beat the Eagles in the rematch, but after Eds beat Toledo Whitmer by double digits and Saint Ignatius struggled with Erie Cathedral Prep, I think that Saint Edward will control this district.
Player to watch: Amarion Dickerson, the Rhodes product had one of the best poster dunks of the season in NEO in the senate league semi final against Glenville, Dickerson has a great motor and has crazy bounce. He isn’t the most polished offensive player but he’s an exciting athlete and worth checking out if you haven’t seen him yet in person (I need to see him in person next season) and Rhodes could potentially give Saint Ignatius some problems with their athleticism.
Upset: Brunswick over Brecksville-Broadview Heights, the Blue Devils have been pretty inconsistent but with a senior point guard as talented as Kyle Gossler, Brunswick will be a tough out this season. They disappointed last season with a sectional final loss to Medina as the two seed, but I think this year they advance to the district tournament.
District championship: Lorain over Olmsted Falls, Lorain has been on a mission after returning every rotation player from a team that made the state final four and I expect them to make another serious run at going back to Columbus, but this district final will not be easy. Olmsted Falls has been one of the winningest teams in the area the past two regular seasons and they have arguably the best chemistry in the area. Falls fell in the first contest to Lakewood, but after that game the two teams have gone in opposite directions, Lakewood has lost numerous games while Falls has only fallen to Midview and has improved their scoring output behind improved play from Eric Hanna. I think the Bulldogs don’t have enough to take down Devon Grant and Tevon Pierre-Louis and company, but the Titans should not take Olmsted Falls lightly.
Player to watch: Devon Grant, this one is pretty simple for me, Grant is one of the most talented guards in the state and is crazy exciting to watch when he is making it rain from all over the gym. In his senior night game against Elyria Catholic Grant hit 10 three pointers and finished with 44 points. He typically shines against top competition and this playoff run will be his last chance to bring a state title to the steel city.
Upset: Westlake over Avon Lake, finding an upset in this district was difficult but I think that Westlake has a good chance of taking down the Shoremen, the Demons lost both meetings in the regular season by five points or less and Avon Lake has lost back to back games by double digits.
District championship: STVM over Hoban, this district champion is one of the easiest in the entire state in my opinion, STVM is just so much further ahead of any other team in this district. Picking the team they would beat in the district championship was much more difficult, Hoban has been a pleasant surprise this season as they have competed in a tough NCL, but Copley didn’t take a big step back after graduating a ton of pieces from their regional finalist appearance. Walsh Jesuit has also outperformed many preseason expectations and came close to plenty of upsets, if Hoban doesn’t take them seriously, the Knights could be in for a early offseason.
Player to watch: Evan Bainbridge, Bainbridge is a Kent State commit but hasn’t been able to recreate the success Stow had with Mason McMurray and Coryon Rice last season, besides this fact Stow still has some talent to make a little run, Ellet is by no means unbeatable for Stow and if they win that they would get a chance at upsetting STVM.
Upset: Hoban over Copley, I was higher on Copley than most preseason and am very happy they had as much success they had this season, but the Suburban league isn’t that strong and Hoban has beaten numerous talented opponents this season, and I think they are set for a crash course with STVM.
District Championship: Whitmer over Toledo St Francis, Whitmer has clearly been the best team in Toledo and despite losing to St Eds on Saturday, I still think they will win this district with relative ease as they have the most talented team in Northwest Ohio.
Player to watch: Jackie Harris, Harris, an Oakland commit has great range for a big guy and plays on a talented St Francis squad, with his shot making ability combined with his size and the rest of the size that St Francis has, they are a tough team to stop on the offensive end.
Upset: St Francis over Toledo Start, maybe I’m sleeping on Start because I’m pretty unfamiliar with them but when I saw St Francis I was very impressed and think they will make the district championship.
District championship: Lima over Toledo St John, Lima is led by Josiah Fulcher and Jamir Simpson, and despite having some inconsistencies, they have the best wins in the district. I’m picking Toledo St John’s over Northview because Northview hasn’t beaten many teams of substance and after a slow start to the season, the Titans have picked it up and beaten teams like Findlay, Cleveland Central Catholic, and Lima in the new year.
Player to watch: Josiah Fulcher, Fulcher is a big wing with good athleticism. He has interest from some D1 programs and a big time tournament run could help him gain some more offers.
Upset: Toledo St John over Sylvania Northview, I simply don’t think that Northview did enough with their schedule to prepare for a playoff run and Toledo St John has won district titles recently and I think their playoff experience will push them to a district final. They also picked up their pace as the season went along, having some difficulty early in the year after losing Vincent Williams and others to graduation.
District championship: Pickerington North over Hilliard Bradley, the Panthers attacked Bradley and I think they see something with that matchup that gives them the confidence to beat Bradley. Bradley is a talented team with Matt Allocco who is a straight up winner, but with their slow pace I think Pick North will use Jack Sawyer to dominate down low with Jack Pugh out for the season.
Player to watch: Jalen Sullinger, Jalen, related to former Buckeye great Jared Sullinger has enjoyed a breakout season for Thomas Worthington as the lefty point guard has the ability to create off the bounce and score from all three levels of the court.
Upset: St Charles over Groveport Madison, Madison just beat St Charles by 2 points, but after that game Charles has beaten a talented Bishop Hartley squad and Centennial, they also competed with Columbus St Francis De Sales. I think they are peaking and will get revenge in the first round.
District championship: Pickerington Central over Reynoldsburg, Central was probably the most talented team in the Columbus area before losing Sam Towns and Jay Rodgers to the new transfer rule, even without them the Tigers still have tons of talent and experience, headlined by Jahvon Garcia. With Garcia I think Central rolls through the district.
Player to watch: Sean Jones, Jones was the one player I thought I needed to see in the Columbus area this season no matter what and he didn’t disappoint when I saw him against Pick North. Jones is very quick and has elite ball handling and decision making skills for a freshman, he is still very tiny but once he grows and adds muscle he will be even more difficult to guard.
Upset: None, in this district I think that every single higher seeded team will win every game, that means I have the district semis being Central over Gahanna and Reynoldsburg over Upper Arlington.
District championship: Dublin Coffman over Walnut Ridge, Coffman fell for the first time this season to Upper Arlington but it might take the pressure off the Rocks to have an unbeaten season through the playoffs. Dom Penn is one of the most talented players in the region and I think he leads his team to a comfortable district title.
Player to watch: Von Cameron Davis, one of the top scorers in the state, Von Cam has been an absolute force all season for Walnut Ridge. He doesn’t have much of an outside game but with his crazy motor he is difficult to contain.
Upset: Walnut Ridge over Newark, there is a solid chance this game doesn’t even happen because Chillicothe is a very formidable opponent in a sectional final for Walnut Ridge, but if they can get past the Cavs I think Von Cam carries his team past Newark to a district final. Newark isn’t as strong as they have been recently, as they finally lost a conference game this season to Canal Winchester.
District championship: Hilliard Davidson over Logan, somehow this district seems like the weakest by far among the four in Columbus, which is surprising because it has the fourth seed as the favorite. I’m out on Liberty making it out of the district because I think they are just a little too top heavy on offense with Ben Roderick carrying a heavy load of the scoring. If Roderick doesn’t go, Liberty typically doesn’t go. Davidson beat Bradley in a crazy intense game that was very low scoring, and while Bradley has beaten their two likely opponents in a district final if they make it that far, Olentangy beat Davidson and they will potentially play in a district semifinal contest. This is contingent on Davidson beating New Albany and Teays Valley and Olentangy taking down city league runner ups, Columbus Northland, but with Sean Marks leading the way the Braves have a potent offense, but I’d expect Davidson to dictate tempo better in the rematch.
Player to watch: Bo Myers, Myers was absolutely incredible when I saw him drop a career high 37 points in barley over three quarters of action against Athens. His size and shooting ability is incredible and he will be a steal for Malone as he could probably play high DII basketball or even low major hoops if given the opportunity. Right now he’s gone over 30 points six straight games.
Upset: Logan over Olentangy Liberty, the matchup between Ben Roderick and Bo Myers is probably one of the best in a potential district semifinal matchup, and I wouldn’t expect it to disappoint. Roderick is one of the top unsigned players in the state and Nick Nakisian is a solid second option, but I think Logan will win due to their ball movement and experience. The Chieftains have eights seniors and I believe their experience and chemistry will be the difference. Most of the Chieftains have been playing together since second grade, this is their last opportunity to make a huge run in the tournament, and I expect them to turn some heads in the Columbus area.
District championship: Moeller over Turpin, Moeller is the best team in the state and the clear favorites to repeat as state champions. There is no need for an in depth explanation here.
Player to watch: Deuce Mcbride, Mcbride, the West Virginia commit has been a senior leader for a stacked Moeller squad. I could honestly list about four to six different Crusaders on this list, but I’ll pick the most heralded one as my player to watch in this district.
Upset: Turpin over West Clermont, Turpin is lead by a guard duo of Nick Haddad and Jackson Holt. With them leading the way I believe Turpin will take down John Aicholtz, Jackson Ames, and company in the district semis for the right to likely fall to Moeller.
District championship: Mason over Centerville, Mason has the size and experience needed to win in the postseason and with Landen Long and Matt Minick being senior leaders for the Comets, I think they advance to the regional tournament. Centerville is certainly not lacking of talent, the Elks have Mo Njie who is an elite big man prospect and got a huge upset against Oak Ridge at the Flyin to the Hoop tournament in mid January.
Player to watch: Samari Curtis, Curtis is one of the best scorers and players in the state and puts on a show almost every time he steps on the floor. The Cincy commit has routinely put up over 40 points this season and will be looking to continue his scoring rampage for a deep tourney run.
Upset: Xenia over Miamisburg, I’m pretty unfamiliar with both of these teams, but I’ll bet on Samari going off and leading his team to the district tournament.
District championship: Lakota East over Kettering Fairmont, Lakota East is led by seniors Bash Wieland and Will Johnston, East has been one of the best teams in the Cincy area all season, and despite having tough competition with Princeton in their side of the district, I don’t think the Vikings have replaced enough from last year’s squad.
Player to watch: Ryan Hall, Hall was named GWOC player of the year, and for good reason. The senior PG has been a leader for the Firebirds throughout his career.
Upset: Fairmont over Huber Heights Wayne, I know Fairmont is struggling right now and Wayne just beat them by 20 points near the end of January, but I think Fairmont will figure things out in time for the playoffs. This team has a lot of talent and they have the ability to compete at a high level, beating one of the top Canadian teams at Flyin to the Hoop. This matchup might not happen as Fairmont would have to likely get through Butler but if that happens, I expect Fairmont to advance to a district final.
District championship: Springfield over Hamilton, Springfield has played a brutal schedule at the end of the season to prepare them for this tournament run, just this calendar year they’ve played Fairmont twice, Wayne twice, Prolific Prep, Princeton, Moeller, Centerville, Hilliard Davidson, and Trotwood Madison. Despite not coming out on top in many of these games, I believe this type of scheduling will prepare Springfield for a playoff run led by Ra’Heim Moss.
Player to watch: Andre Gordon, Gordon has the most bounce in the entire state in my opinion. The dude can poster anybody and does 360 dunks for fun. He’s one of the best athletes in the entire state and catching him before he takes his talents to Blacksburg Virginia would be highly recommended. His potential matchup with Ra’Heim would put two of the best football and basketball athletes on the court in the state against each other.
Upset: Hamilton over Oak Hills, D’Marco Howard and Jaylen Robinson is an elite guard tandem and having elite guard play is a recipe for success in the state tournament. Look for these two to push Hamilton a little further than expected.
STVM over Lorain: This game is much better than the potential sweet 16 matchup that it will receive because I believe these are two of the top five teams in the state. STVM took the first matchup at a neutral court close to Lorain, so I’d expect Lunden Mcday, Seth Wilson, and Malaki Branham to lead the Irish to the elite eight and win on a neutral court in Akron.
Toledo Whitmer over Lima, Whitmer is the best team in Toledo and I’d be surprised if they aren’t representing the Toledo region in Akron on March 16’th for the regional final.
STVM over Toledo Whitmer: I believe STVM is the second best team in the state and gearing up for a state championship rematch with Moeller that should be more competitive in Columbus than the game in Cincy early in the season. Also helps when this game is being played in Akron, STVM will have a large crowd advantage.
Brush over Jackson: Brush proved it can compete with the best of the best when they fell to Kennedy Catholic and STVM by five and four points respectively. John Hugley is a problem for almost any team in the area, and with seniors like Dj Dial and Andre Harris, I expect the Arcs to make a run to Columbus.
St Edward over Euclid: I think that St Edward is going to figure things out after that huge victory over Whitmer. This team has some of the most experienced juniors in the state who were a part of the Eagles final four run in Huffman, Blanton, and Foster’s freshman campaigns. That experience will help the Eagles make a serious run at going back to Columbus, but I think they fall just short.
Brush over St Edward: Coming into their regular season battle I expected St Edward to win a very close game on the road but Brush opened my eyes that night with how poised they played. Dj Dial was a true leader on the floor and Andre Harris took on the scoring responsibility to keep Brush ahead the entire night. John Hugley also had a 16 point 18 rebound game, and despite Spencer Crane and the rest of the Eagles having some success against five star Oscar Tshewbie, I expect Hugley to give the Eagles major issues down low. Elmore James has also taken huge strides since this game, James still seemed a little tentative and afraid to make plays, but based on games I’ve seen after that date and highlight videos, it seems that James is starting to get very comfortable playing with his more experienced teammates.
Dublin Coffman over Pickerington North: There is a reason why Coffman just lost their first game of the season in mid February, they are very tough to beat. Dom Penn will have an advantage on whoever on North guards him, and I think this matchup will be the difference in the game. North can compete at the wing positions and has a likely big advantage with Jack Sawyer, but with the winning experience and upperclassmen leadership, I expect the Rocks to make the elite eight.
Pickerington Central over Hilliard Davidson: Central got beat in one of their first games without Sam Towns and Jay Rodgers to rival Pick North but after that they’ve been dominant. Jahvon Garcia has stepped up and Garner Wallace has come out of nowhere to be one of the most productive underclassmen in the area on one of the best teams in the state. With Central finding their feet, I expect them to outtalent a very well coached Hilliard Davidson squad who won’t be scared, as they took down second seeded Hilliard Bradley in their building to end their long home winning streak.
Pickerington Central over Dublin Coffman: You can’t really go wrong here so this is kind of a toss of a coin. Both of these teams are very talented and I wouldn’t be surprised if I see either one in Columbus for the state final four but I’ll give the advantage to Pick Central because they’ve been to the biggest stage before and they have just slightly more marquee wins this season.
Moeller over Lakota East: East came close to beating Moeller, only falling 61-53 in one of two games all season the Crusaders won by less than 10 points. Moeller probably takes the second matchup by a little more, but it should be competitive.
Mason over Springfield: I know Springfield has had a very tough schedule to prepare them for anything, but I just don’t see a team with the large amount of losses to make it to the elite eight. Springfield has lost four of their last six games at the time of this writing, and despite me expecting them to turn it on, I think their run ends here.
Moeller over Mason: Moeller is the class of Cincinnati, and the state. At this stage I think the best question is how much will they win by, not if they will win.
Moeller over Brush: Brush would be an awesome story making it to Columbus, but Moeller is clearly the best team in the state and it makes no sense to pick against them here, but I’d expect Chet Mason and his Arcs to give the Crusaders one of their closest games of the season.
STVM over Pick Central: STVM has been the second most impressive team in the state of Ohio in my opinion, I love their depth and top three scorers. Pick Central is loaded like I’ve mentioned throughout this article and if this game happened I wouldn’t be surprised by either result, especially with Central having the home city advantage.
Moeller over STVM: If the rematch happened I don’t think the Irish would lose by 30+ again, but I can’t justify picking against Moeller.
For divisions II and III I will be doing a little less in depth breakdowns because I simply don’t know as much about these teams, I will just post my district champions with a quick write up and then regional and state champion predictions.
Youngstown: Poland Seminary
Players to watch: Luka Eller, the junior has many MAC offers and has been one of the most productive big men in the state. He’s averaging around 25 PPG and 12 REB and possesses a solid outside game along with good strength despite being skinny and mobile.
Jaden Hameed: Hameed is one of my favorite players in the state simply because of how important he is to VASJ’s success as a young player. He’s been instrumental to their victories over Cornerstone Christian last year, Hoban this year, and hit a buzzer beater in Missouri this season. Hameed has proven to be a winner and leader after Jerry Higgins graduated last season.
Cj Charleston and Connor O’Toole: This Gilmour duo is one of my favorites in the area, both of these players have so much offensive responsibility and are the primary reasons why Gilmour plays some of the most aesthetically pleasing basketball in the area. Charleston is one of the best athletes in NEO, he was all state in football and track and was incredible in his senior season in basketball. O’Toole has broken tons of three point records at Gilmour and is one of the best shooters in the area.
Chris Livingston: Livingston is one of the most talented freshman in the country, he’s a must see for any basketball junkie in the area. His combination of size, athleticism, and skill is amazing for a player this young. He must improve his speed and quickness but he is very talented and has a huge upside.
Glenville over Perry: Byron Ottrix is an elite guard and the Senate league has been improved this season, Glenville competed well within the Senate league and when they got challenged.
Benedictine over Gilmour: I love Gilmour’s big two but they simply don’t have the depth to compete with Benedictine. With Davin Zeigler, Andy Barba, Kevin Bishop, Bj Busbee, Jashaun Cobb, and the rest of the Bengals, I expect them to roll through the Lancers.
Bowling Green regional
Columbus 1: Columbus South
Mansfield Madison: Lexington
North Ridgeville: Cleveland Central Catholic
Players to watch
Jaylen Simmons: Simmons has been huge as a freshman for Beechcroft as they had to replace a fantastic senior class headlined by Jelani Simmons. Jaylen has stepped in and despite being inconsistent has made strides and had a big game against Columbus Northland. If Beechcroft is going to challenge Columbus South for a district title, Simmons will have to play beyond his age.
Cade Stover: Mr Football in the state of Ohio is a pretty impressive basketball player as well. Stover become his school’s all time leading scorer this season and will be looking for more success before heading to Columbus for football. His ideal ending for his high school career? Columbus, he will be looking to lead Lexington back to the state final four where they fell to now division I STVM in the state semis last season.
Luke Howes: Howes has led Fairview to their first conference championship in over 60 years. Howes is a junior guard who has a tight handle and an elite jumpshot. He isn’t a one man show however, Fairview’s starting lineup of Howes, Martin Lowry, Ethan McQuate, Marty Rehor, and Noah Mesaros can all score the basketball. The potential district semifinal between Fairview and Cleveland Central Catholic could be an exciting one.
Erik Painter: Painter and his Bay Rockets eliminated Howes in the district semis last season before the Rockets upset Beechcroft last season before falling to Lexington in the regional final. Painter is back but Rj Sunahara is gone, it will be interesting to see if Painter can lead his team as far as they got last season with Cleveland Central Catholic now in the district.
Lexington over Norwalk: Norwalk is a solid team and won at Lexington by one point earlier this month, but I think the experience of Lexington along with the fact that Norwalk has been incredible in close games after an early season loss to Clyde, Norwalk might be due for a loss in a close game.
Bay over Holy Name: These two teams have played in the district championship the past three seasons, but with Cleveland Central Catholic taking the top seed, a matchup in the district semis is likely. Bay and Holy Name usually play close games but the Rockets have depth and the Green Wave just took a bad loss to Normandy.
Athens 1: Fairfield Union
Athens 2: Sheridan
East 1: John Glenn
East 2: New Philadelphia
Players to watch: Ethan Heller, Heller was WOUB’s Gridiron Glory player of the year and he’s even more dangerous on the hardwood. Heller is a quick point guard with a good outside shot. He leads a talented Sheridan squad.
Logan Maxfield: Maxfield is one of the best players in the TVC, he has a high basketball IQ and defends the perimeter at a very high level.
Fairfield Union over Zane Trace: Fairfield Union has taken down the top seed in the other Athens district, Sheridan, and has won five of their last six at the time of this writing.
Warren over Jackson: Warren has a big victory victory over Chillicothe, lost to Logan by two, and beat Parkersburg South in their last three regular season games, that’s the sign of a team ready to make some noise.
Dayton 1: Wyoming
Dayton 2: Trotwood Madison
Dayton 3: Taft
Columbus 2: Bishop Hartley
Players to watch
Paul McMillan IV: The Hughes freshman has been one of the best players in the Cincy area and is a player high on my list of players to see in person. Hopefully I’ll be able to come through on that promise next season or at the state final four.
Evan Prater: Prater leads a very talented Wyoming team along with Findlay commit Joey Edmonds, Prater’s true talent lies on the gridiron and his natural athleticism shows on the court.
Amari Davis: Davis has been a very efficient scorer for Trotwood Madison and can put up buckets in a hurry. He’s a sleeper candidate for Mr Basketball if he can lead his team through the toughest division II region by a mile.
Morgan Stafford: Stafford has been on a scoring rampage for Bishop Hartley and despite just taking a tough loss to Logan, I think Hartley bounces back with a playoff run.
Wyoming over Chaminade Julienne: There aren’t five teams in the entire state for division II I’d pick to beat Julienne, but Wyoming is one of them. It’s such a shame that this region is so stacked because so many talented teams will be going home too early. Wyoming has a stacked big three of Prater, Edmonds, and Isaiah Walker.
Taft over Hughes: Hughes wanted Taft as they skipped their selection on where to play to make sure they got Taft in the district semis, I’m not sure this is a good idea though. Taft has elite wing play with Nekhi Smith and Chris’Seon Stringer.
VASJ over Benedictine: This NCL rivalry would be absolutely insane in the regional tournament, VASJ got the best of Bene in overtime the first meeting but fell by three in the rematch. This game would be filled with talent and show off two of the best in division II in NEO.
Poland Seminary over Buchtel: Buchtel has a ton of talent but it’s probably a little too soon to be thinking elite eight. If everyone stays in the program I expect them to be in Columbus soon, just not yet.
VASJ over Poland Seminary: While Poland Seminary has enjoyed a lot of success, they don’t have the big game experience of VASJ if this matchup happened. VASJ just has too many options with talent at the guard, wing, and big positions. Despite just falling to Mentor and then having difficult contests with STVM and St Edward in the final week of the season, the Vikings should be prepared for whatever comes their way.
Bowling Green region
Columbus South over Lexington: I believe Cade Stover’s high school career will end two games before Columbus, where he’ll spend the foreseeable future. South was impressive in winning the city league championship and will give teams problems with their defensive pressure.
Cleveland Central Catholic over Wauseon: Wauseon is just replacing too much after losing Duquesne signee Austin Rotroff. CCC has a deep team led by Tevin Jackson, Arthur Fayne, Deshaun Nettles, and Trevon Wells. Their experience will make them a tough out.
Columbus South over Cleveland Central Catholic: South is probably the most talented division II team outside of the Kettering region and I expect them to make it home to the final four.
Sheridan over John Glenn: Ethan Heller will be too much for the Little Muskies who beat Sheridan in the first matchup by two points, the two teams will tango on February 19’th which is each team’s final regular season game.
New Philadelphia over Fairfield Union: New Philly will be too much for a Fairfield Union team that has already lost seven games in the regular season.
Sheridan over New Philadelphia: At this point I’m trusting an elite senior point guard to lead his team to the state final four. Heller came one game short of the state final four in the football season, and won’t want to have the same result for his basketball career.
Trotwood Madison over Wyoming: These two teams are probably the two of the three best in division II in my opinion, it’s a shame we can’t see both in Columbus but I’ll be happy with either. I’m riding with Amari Davis and his senior leadership in this contest.
Taft over Bishop Hartley: The columbus district is by far the easiest of the region, whoever comes out of it will be heavy underdogs to Taft or Hughes if that is the matchup.
Trotwood Madison over Taft: Another crazy southwest Ohio division II game, whoever comes out of this region will have had to have earned it and I’m taking Madison just over Taft but this could easily go either way.
Columbus South over Sheridan: Heller’s insane run I think comes to an end here, South would give Sheridan trouble with their size and physicality. This seems like a bad matchup for Sheridan.
Trotwood Madison over VASJ: Davis would clearly be the best player in this game, and I think the depth of VASJ could come back to hurt them, I’m not sure any individual player on VASJ would be able to match Davis offensively. VASJ has also slipped recently, losing some games to very tough opponents to prepare for the playoffs, but it shows they can be beaten.
Columbus South over Trotwood Madison: Madison would have had to play at worst a good game five times in a row, I find that unlikely. I think South could bring their B game and find ways to win up until this point, the difficulty of the road to get here could show with South being fueled by a home crowd.
Garfield Heights: Lutheran East
Players to watch
Ej Farmer: Farmer is one of the top college prospects in all of division III and he showed why against Spire when he dropped 37. The smooth shooting guard has a pure lefty stroke and really natural athleticism. He has two teammates in Nehemiah Benson and Jay Billingsley who both are good prospects two, what I’m saying is if you get the chance to watch Lutheran East, do it.
Jayson Woodrich: Woodrich has shined on the biggest stages, going off at the NEO Christmas Classic and Chet Mason Invitation and he led the Bison to a big win over Garfield Heights. The 6’5 wing has very deep range and isn’t afraid to let it fly from NBA range.
Brandon Rush: This Garfield Heights division III district is stacked and Rush is the senior division I commit out of the group of talented players. Rush is an explosive athlete but lacks a consistent jumper, Warrensville has a three headed guard monster with Rush, Raymelle Arnold, and Omahn Dobbins.
Beachwood over Kirtland: Beechwood doesn’t have a ton of depth, but they have multiple players who have scored over 40 points in a game this season, and they have beaten some schools in higher divisions. I think they upset a Kirtland squad that’s more of a football school.
Northwestern over Waynedale: Northwestern beat Waynedale the first time these two teams faced each other and only fell by two in the rematch, I’ve got my money on Northwestern taking round three.
Bowling Green region
Columbus 1: Johnstown
Toledo: Cardinal Stritch
Lima: Ottawa Glandorf
Players to watch
Joey Holifield: Holifield leads a solid defensive Cardinal Stritch squad. They held Marion Local to 40 points in a three point loss at Flyin to the Hoop and held Maumee Valley and Michigan commit Zeb Jackson to 47 points.
Luke Lachey: Lachey has the size to score easily over others at this level and has been productive all season for Grandview Heights
Grandview Heights over Worthington Christian, Grandview Heights already took down Worthington Christian once this season and have won six of their last seven games at the time of this writing.
Ottawa Glandorf over Archbold: I know Archbold is one of the top teams in division III but OG passes the ball extremely well and just beat Lima senior, they won’t be afraid of the moment or the gymnasium this game would be played at. If Archbold finds a way to win this game, I expect them to make a similar run to the run I predict OG makes after this game.
Athens 1: Frankfort Adena
Athens 2: Wheelersburg
Columbus 2: Harvest Prep
Players to watch
Tanner Holden: The only division I recruit in SEO after Zach Loveday left for Huntington Prep. Holden is a two sport stud for a Wheelersburg squad that just won the football state championship in 2017.
Cj Anthony: Anthony is one of the most talented players in the state for division III, his offense prowess is impressive and he hit an insane buzzer beater at one of the tournaments Harvest Prep participated in this season that got on overtime.
Meadowbrook over Garaway: I’m not sure why Garaway is ranked higher here, but Meadowbrook looks much more impressive based on resume, I’d be surprised if they don’t win this district.
Alexander over Fairland: Alexander has a size advantage over most division III teams with 6’8 big man Caleb Terry. Point guard JK Kerns is also a solid floor general for an experienced Alexander Spartans team.
Dayton 1: Reading
Dayton 2: Deer Park
Dayton 3: Anna
Dayton 4: Purcell Marian
Players to watch
Mark Wise: Wise was a key part of Deer Park’s state title run last year, he’s been an elite scorer this season as well.
Aj Garrett: Garrett and Dotson are a great 1-2 punch for PM and the reason why I think they win their district.
Deer Park over Dayton Stivers School for the Arts: Deer Park might not have the talent they had last year but this team has some players who remember what it’s like to lift a state title, I imagine they win their district once again.
Clark Montessori over Madeira: Despite Madeira winning the only matchup of the season, I think Montessori takes this one because they are rolling, winners of seven straight coming into this sectional final, their confidence will be sky high heading into the playoffs.
Waterloo over Edgewood: Both teams are playing well but I’ll ride with Waterloo in a game between two teams that I’m not really sure how to compare. This should be a competitive game regardless if it happens. This might just be a game to play for the right to fall to Lutheran East though.
Lutheran East over Northwestern: The LUE has way too much talent to not be prohibitive favorites to make it to Columbus.
Lutheran East over Waterloo: Lutheran East geared up their schedule with a ton of division I opponents for this tournament run, this is their entire season and I expect them to make it worthwhile.
Bowling Green Regional
Cardinal Stritch over Johnstown: I think Joey Holifield will be the difference if this game happens but both teams aren’t favorites to make it out of their district so despite the fact that I’m predicting this game to happen, it’s pretty unlikely.
Ottawa Glandorf over Willard: If I’m picking OG to beat Archbold that should tell you how confident I am with them.
Ottawa Glandorf over Cardinal Stritch: I think the chemistry of OG will fuel their playoff run, but this could easily be Archbold against Cardinal Stritch and in that scenario I’d still pick Stritch’s season to end here as well.
Wheelersburg over Meadowbrook: This would be a very high level division III regional semifinal, I think Wheelersburg and Tanner Holden just overpower Meadowbrook.
Harvest Prep over Frankfort Adena: Cj Anthony is the most talented player in this game and Harvest Prep and Wheelersburg seem to be on a collision course to meet in the Convo on March 16’th.
Harvest Prep over Wheelersburg: This was probably the toughest call of all of the division III elite eight games, but I’ll take my chances with a team that has played in more tough environments against stiffer competition.
Purcell Marian over Reading: PM is the prohibitive favorite and despite Reading having a decent amount of size, I think PM will have a fairly comfortable victory.
Anna over Deer Park: Deer Park lost too much from last year’s team to compete for another state title, I think their run ends here.
Purcell Marian over Anna: The combo of Aj Garrett and Alex Dotson will likely be too much for Anna but this would be a very interesting regional final as Anna has only lost twice this season.
Lutheran East over Ottawa Glandorf: This would be a classic style disparity because Lutheran East wants to run up and down the court and throw lobs and play pressure defense while OG would rather slow down the pace and play in the halfcourt, it would be a fascinating contest but I think the division I talent would win out for the LUE. If Archbold made this game as well it would be an awesome challenge for two of Ohio’s best in division III.
Purcell Marian over Harvest Prep: I think Harvest Prep is just a little too dependent on Cj Anthony to create offense, he’s an awesome player but I think PM would find ways to slow him down and take away his teammates to win a close game.
Purcell Marian over Lutheran East: These two teams have played some of the toughest schedules in all of division III and that should prepare them for this moment, with the final four I’m predicting you can’t go wrong with anybody, I just think PM has the easiest playoff route to the final four and will be ready to go once they get to Columbus. Any of the four teams that make it to Columbus in division III have the chance to take the title.
My division IV knowledge is lacking so instead of picking every district winner and upset and stuff, I’m picking each regional winner with two other teams to watch out for in each region with a couple players to watch as well for each region.
Regional Champion: Richmond Heights: Richmond Heights plays a very difficult schedule and that’s why they have more losses than most top division IV teams, but their depth and athleticism is elite for a school as small as them. I expect them to overpower some teams in this region to take it.
Other teams to watch
Bristol: Despite being the second seed in their own district they have gotten some love from the AP poll and were ranked 6’th in division IV in the final rankings release.
Open Door: Open Door has been on an absolute roll and has won double digit straight games (believe it’s 14) heading into their game against Euclid.
Players to watch: Gbolahan Adio: Adio was the guy who popped for me in both games I saw of Richmond Heights this season, he has good vertical athleticism and can get hot from the outside, he especially likes the corner three.
Trey Brooks: One of the best players in NEO that most have probably never heard of, Brooks is a hidden gem. Playing at a division IV school can sometime make it difficult to get noticed but with the help of third coast hoops, Open Door has gotten their share of coverage and Brooks is their stud. If Richmond Heights is going to fall before the state final four, my money would be on Brooks and Open Door being the ones to take them down.
Regional Champion: Crestview: Crestview is led by the Etzler brothers and Kalen is an absolute stud. He had dunks on back to back to back possessions in one of their recent games. I’d be stunned if they aren’t representing the Bowling Green region in Columbus
Teams to watch: Sycamore Mohawk: Sitting at 19-1 entering the last AP poll, Mohawk received the fifth spot in the final AP poll, they will be looking to make a run to at least the state elite eight.
Maumee Valley: They probably have the best player in OHSAA for the class of 2020, that will always give you a chance in division IV.
Players to watch
Kalen Etzler: I already talked about him but I really want Crestview to make the state final four because I’ll be going up to Columbus for Friday and Saturday and want to see Etzler in person.
Zeb Jackson: Jackson is a lefty point guard with an array of offensive moves. He obviously has been doing something right if John Beilein wants him, he’s a stud that I’m planning on seeing next season if he gets eliminated before the final IV.
Regional Champion: Berlin Hiland, I’m not as convinced as the AP is about them being almost consensus number one in the state for division IV, but I think they make it to Columbus
Teams to watch: Toronto: In what is likely the most competitive division IV district final between Toronto and Berlin Hiland, I wouldn’t automatically place the top ranked team in the state for division IV in the regional tournament because Toronto only has two losses on the season.
Trimble: The Tomcats have a winning attitude, they made it to the division VII title game for football and have been a staple of the AP poll all season for basketball. They are ranked second in their district but the Tomcats are extremely well coached and upset Alexander and big man Caleb Terry despite Trimble not having a single player even close to his size.
Players to watch: Kendall Hochstetler: Hochstetler is a senior leader for Hiland and scored 10 points in last seasons state final four loss to Cornerstone Christian. He will be looking to bring the title back home from Columbus this season.
Russell Young: Young is a talented big man for Waterford, the Wildcats have had a lot of success under coach Tom Simms and being ranked a three seed in their district, the Wildcats have a chance to surprise some people.
Regional champion: Legacy Christian: Legacy Christian has emerged as an elite division IV team out of the Southwest Ohio area thanks to the emergence of star Mike Sharavjamts, despite being a freshman he has gotten lots of buzz from places like triple double prospects. With Sharavjamts Legacy Christian could make a surprise run to Columbus and the state final 4.
Teams to watch: St Henry: The highest ranked team in the division, the 18-3 Redskins received one first place vote and finished in third in the state for division IV in the final ap poll.
Marion Local: The defending state champions at the division IV level aren’t as fierce as they were last season, but they have winning experience in multiple sports.
Players to watch: Mike Sharavjamts: I already mentioned him but he’s a fascinating prospect considering his unique European background. He’s a player to monitor due to his unique offensive skill set and potential with his size.
Nathan Burns: Burns is a Findlay commit and hit huge shots to win the state title last season for Marion Local. He also is Marion Local’s quarterback and he led them to back to back state championship appearances, winning one of them. Burns for sure won’t be afraid of the moment and will be looking to go out on top once again.
Berlin Hiland over Legacy Christian: The consensus top team in division four should have too much depth for Legacy Christian to handle.
Convoy Crestview over Richmond Heights: Heights will have plenty of length and athleticism to compete with the Etzler brothers but I think they are on a mission to send Javin out on top.
Convoy Crestview over Berlin Hiland: I think these are the two best teams in division IV and despite Hiland having very impressive wins, I think the division I talent that Crestview has will be too much but that game would be a tremendous prelude to the division I state championship game.
That’s my entire OHSAA playoff predictions, I hope you enjoyed my thoughts. I specialize in northeast Ohio basketball but follow the entire state, I also go to school in Athens so I have a strong understanding of lots of the best teams in the southeast Ohio region too. Thanks to 270 hoops I’m also always informed about anything Columbus basketball, that’s why I thought I had enough credibility to make predictions about the entire state.