By Ozie Davis III, MS, JD
Tournament draw Sunday at Lakota West is the best coaches convention one can attend. The legends, the newbies, and those rising Coaching enthusiasts that know no matter what their regular season record is; the tournament is a one-game-at-a-time season.
Seeding’s, who you might play and where you have to play, all become super important as heading up Interstate 71 to the Final Four, is everybody’s goal.
In D1, the question is, “Who can upset Big Moe?” Moeller (20-0) has only had two opponents all year to come within ten. They are the best team and are built for travel up north. None of the teams, in the urban core, are really part of the D1 conversation. It would be good to see Princeton, Mt Healthy, Winton Woods, Western Hills or Walnut Hills win a game or two, but it won’t amount to a Moeller upset.
Good early games at Lakota West:
Mt Healthy vs. Loveland, Saturday, February 23, at 5 p.m. The Owls won their league and are locked and loaded for a run. At 14-6, the Owls face a tough 12-8 Tiger team.
At Hamilton: Walnut Hills vs. Sycamore, Saturday, February 23, at 730 p.m. One of the only early games where neither team has a losing record. Sycamore 10-10, and Walnut 13-7.
At Fairfield: Western Brown vs. Western Hills, Friday, February 22 at 730 p.m.
Never count Mark Mitchell out!
In D2, there appears to be a “can’t wait” Hughes vs. Taft 3 battle on the horizon in a game of gigantic proportions. As competition goes, these teams compete. Coaches in D2 couldn’t even decide which of these two powerhouses was the #1 seed. Hughes won the tiebreaker. Taft, then would be the second seed, Wyoming 3, and Aiken 4. All things go as the regular season went and on Saturday, March 2, in Mason, Aiken will play Wyoming prior to Hughes against Taft. But, winning the early games come first.
Here’s how the top four seeds start at Mason:
Hughes vs. Norwood, Saturday, February 23, at 6: 30 p.m.
Taft vs. Batavia, Friday, February 22, at 7:30 p.m.
Wyoming vs. Summit, Friday 22, at 6 p.m.
Aiken vs. Wilmington, Saturday, February 23, at 3:30 p.m.
In D3, the defending state champion Deer Park Wildcats were seeded #4 behind #3 Reading, #2 Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, and #1 Purcell Marian.
It appears that Purcell is the team to beat, but don’t count the Wildcats out. This will be a very interesting tournament. Sleeper’s like St Bernard-Elmwood Place and Clark Montessori will make the Western Brown District very competitive. While at Princeton, Purcell should cruise and a Deer Park vs. Seven Hills game should be competitive. The low seed will fuel the Wildcats. This will be exciting.
Mariemont vs. St. Bernard, Saturday, February 23, at 4:30 p.m.
At Princeton: Deer Park vs. winner of Williamsburg and Fayetteville, Tuesday, February 26, at 6 p.m.
At Western Brown: Reading vs. winner of Batavia Clermont Northeastern and Cincinnati Country Day, Tuesday, February 26, at 6 p.m.
At Princeton: Purcell-Marian vs. Riverview East, Friday, February 22, at 7:30 p.m.
In D4, the Gamble Gators got the #3 seed and will be out to show that’s low. Don’t know much about #2 seed Ripley but the #1 seed Cincinnati Christian High School is the real deal. We’re all Gator’s here and they start play at Taylor High School, Saturday, February 23, at 7:30 p.m.
It’s definitely going to be some hot competition over the next month and a half, so stay right here with us and we’ll be your tournament guide.
For complete tournament brackets visit https://ohsaa.org/Sports-Tournaments/Basketball-Boys/Boys-Basketball-2018-19/2019-OHSAA-Boys-Basketball-State-Tournament-Brackets