Posted On: 02/23/16 11:00 AM

The Division I district tournament starts in Ohio this week. Here’s a closer look at the districts involving teams from the Cleveland/Akron area.


Best player – Blake Furcron, Elyria

The 6-foot-5 senior is averaging about 22 ppg this season. He shoots at over 50 percent from the field and contributes on the glass with about six rebounds per game. His versatility allows him to score in a number of ways.

Cinderella team – No. 8 Strongsville

Seeded ridiculously low at No. 8, Strongsville is perhaps a top-3 team in this bracket. The Mustangs knocked off Elyria in a road game on Feb. 9, which shows they can hang with pretty much anyone in this district.

Best sectional matchup – No. 5 North Olmsted vs. No. 8 Strongsville

Either of these teams have what it takes to make a deep run in the district, but one of them will be bounced after the first game. Strongsville has played better recently, but North Olmsted is home and has the best player on the floor in Cleveland State commit Andy Lucien.

Semifinal predictions – No. 2 Elyria vs. No. 8 Strongsville and No. 1 Lorain vs. No. 4 Midview

Championship prediction – No. 1 Lorain over No. 2 Elyria

The Titans have experience and a frantic style of play that will disrupt any opponent. Nah Bohannon and Anfernee Smothers will take care of the inside, while Daviere Andrews will hold down the guard play. Lorain already has an 18-point road win against Elyria under its belt.


Best player – Kyle Young, Massillon Jackson

The 6-foot-6 junior is nearly impossible to stop one-on-on due to his endless repertoire of moves. Colleges have taken notice, as he has offers from Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Purdue.

Cinderella team – No. 5 Wooster

The road is tough for Wooster, but the Generals have played tough against strong competition, including a 103-92 loss to Massillon Jackson. Still, Wooster will likely need to beat the top three seeds to advance to the regional round.

Best sectional matchup – No. 3 North Canton Hoover vs. No. 5 Wooster

This sectional final is already set, as both teams elected for a bye in the bracket. This district semifinal-caliber matchup will feature an offensive-minded Wooster and a defensive-minded North Canton Hoover.

Semifinal predictions – No. 1 Massillon Jackson vs. No. 4 GlenOak and No. 2 Canton McKinley vs. No. 3 North Canton Hoover

Championship prediction – No. 1 Massillon Jackson over No. 2 Canton McKinley

This is one of the best district finals in the state and one of the most evenly-matched, as both teams split their regular season meetings. Still, the Polar Bears are just slightly better overall and have a little more experience, and that should be the difference.


Best player – Mitch Peterson, Walsh Jesuit

In a close call between Peterson and his AAU teammate Jon Teske, we’ll give Peterson the edge, as he’s had a slightly better overall season. The Kent State commit has broken the 20-point mark in nearly half his games this season.

Cinderella team – No. 6 Walsh Jesuit

This team doesn’t have much scoring outside of Peterson, but it locks in defensively and has the experience of a brutal schedule. When the Warriors put it all together, they are dangerous and have key wins over Archbishop Hoban and East Tech. However, they will likely need to beat three of the top four seeds to advance to the regional round.

Best sectional matchup – No. 2 Medina vs. No. 6 Walsh Jesuit

If Medina gets past Akron North (which they should), the Bees will face off with Walsh Jesuit. Both teams are centered offensively around one player and have strong defensive principles. The game could be considered a true toss-up.

Semifinal predictions – No. 1 Brunswick vs. No. 3 Archbishop Hoban and No. 2 Medina vs. No. 5 Stow

Championship prediction – No. 1 Brunswick over No. 2 Medina

The old rivals should meet one more time this season after splitting two regular season meetings. While Medina has the best player in Teske, the Blue Devils have been more consistent this season and are better balanced on defense.


Best player – Willie Jackson, Garfield Heights

The Missouri commit is one of the few 20-and-10 players in the area. Aside from his offensive output, he is also one of the best defenders in the state, which gives him the complete package.

Cinderella team – No. 6 Euclid

With the way the bracket shook out, it’s not much of a stretch that Euclid could win a couple of games. The Panthers have talent, including Rider commit Quintin Dove, and it’s just a matter of gaining some confidence after a rough regular season.

Best sectional matchup – No. 1 Garfield Heights vs. No. 4 Shaker Heights

The hands down best team in this field is Garfield Heights, but if there’s one team the Bulldogs don’t want to play, it’s their old rival. Shaker Heights will get up for this game and their history with Garfield Heights will give them a chance to win.

Semifinal predictions – No. 1 Garfield Heights vs. No. 6 Euclid and No. 2 Bedford vs. No. 3 Maple Heights

Championship prediction – No. 1 Garfield Heights over No. 2 Bedford

This rematch of Bedford’s season opener will also be its last game. While Bedford has played well recently, the Bulldogs have too much offensive and defensive firepower. Expect the Bulldogs to return to Cleveland State.


Best player – Derek Culver, Warren G. Harding

Picking the top player might be the easiest thing in this district. Culver is a monster on the low block and will be impossible for any team in the district to defend one-on-one. The 6-foot-9 junior is being recruited by nearly everyone in the country.

Cinderella team – No. 5 Ellet

Ellet might have the second-best player in the district in junior A.J. Garret. He and his team already pushed Warren G. Harding to the limit this season in an overtime loss, and if they play their best, they could sneak out of this district.

Best sectional matchup – No. 2 Copley vs. No. 5 Ellet

This sectional final will likely put an undefeated Copley squad against Gareri’s crew. The Indians are a bit of an unknown despite their perfect record, and this will be their first major test of the postseason that they will need to pass.

Semifinal predictions – No. 1 Warren G. Harding vs. No. 4 Louisville and No. 2 Uniontown Lake vs. No. 5 Ellet

Championship prediction – No. 2 Uniontown Lake over No. 1 Warren G. Harding

This clash in styles will be a fun one to watch, and it will be Lake that pulls off the minor upset. The Blue Streaks have been here before and have played well against top teams (including a recent win against Massillon Jackson). The team is as dangerous as they come in the Cleveland region.


Best player – Tommy Schmock, St. Edward

The junior guard has excelled in his first season as a varsity regular. He has a nice ability to both get to the basket and score from deep. Schmock also has a knack for making sure he doesn’t turn the ball over.

Cinderella team – No. 6 Rhodes

The Rams have a couple of winnable games on their schedule, as they host Lakewood and then play Brecksville, which they played tough in the season opener. Rhodes has a chance to represent the Senate well.

Best sectional matchup – No. 3 Brecksville vs. No. 6 Rhodes

Assuming Rhodes beats Lakewood, this will be a fun sectional final. Brockville beat Rhodes by 12 points to start the season, but the Bees haven’t played their best basketball recently. This one should be close.

Semifinal predictions – No. 1 St. Edward vs. No. 4 North Royalton and No. 2 St. Ignatius vs. No. 3 Brecksville

Championship prediction – No. 2 St. Ignatius over No. 1 St. Edward

The local rivalry will go the way of the Wildcats this time, as they have the size that St. Edward does not. When these two teams meet, it always seems to be memorable, so get your tickets now to the Strongsville district final.


Best player – Christian Guess, Glenville

In this unpredictable district, no player is more explosive and athletic than Guess. The sophomore wing can do everything on the floor and has went toe-to-toe with each opponent’s best player this season. He’s one of the biggest sleepers in the state.

Cinderella team – No. 5 Solon

Don’t be fooled by the losing record. Solon has played a brutal schedule and has been competitive in most of its games. Sophomore Sincere Carry is a playmaker, and he can help lead his Comets to a few wins if everything breaks right.

Best sectional matchup – No. 6 Mayfield vs. No. 7 Glenville

Despite being the better seed, Mayfield will be on upset alert in this sectional semifinal. The Tarblooders have a deep and talented roster, but the scoring ability of Alex Nahra could fuel Mayfield to the home playoff victory.

Semifinal predictions – No. 1 Mentor vs. No. 8 Brush and No. 3 Cleveland Heights vs. No. 5 Solon

Championship prediction – No. 3 Cleveland Heights over No. 1 Mentor

After not putting it together in the regular season, Cleveland Heights will find its way in the district round. The Tigers simply have more talent than any team in the district, and their coach was in a state final last season. This is a dangerous group.