Conference Preview

Posted On: 02/23/16 7:08 AM

Districts tournaments begin this week in Northeast Ohio. Here’s a breakdown of the Division II brackets involving Cleveland/Akron area teams.

CANTON DISTRICT

Best player – Henry Baddley, St. Vincent-St. Mary

The Butler commit is a quiet assassin for this balanced St. Vincent-St. Mary squad. He’s averaging about 18 ppg, can score in a variety of ways and defend different positions. He’s a complete player.

Cinderella team – No. 5 Kenmore

Kenmore was one of the surprise teams in a wide-open Akron City Series this year. They beat Norton, Ellet and Buchtel, while hanging tough against superior squads. Don’t be surprised to see them advance to the second week.

Best sectional matchup – No. 4 Norton vs. No. 5 Kenmore

This is a rematch of the season opener, in which Kenmore won, 59-50. That game was close, and this one will be too, as the winner will likely get the right to face St. Vincent-St. Mary.

Semifinal predictions – No. 1 St. Vincent-St. Mary vs. No. 5 Kenmore and No. 2 Alliance vs. No. 3 Coventry

Championship prediction – No. 1 St. Vincent-St. Mary over No. 2 Alliance

Alliance is a good team having a good season, and it will give the Irish a quality test. However, the defense and scoring options for St. Vincent-St. Mary will be enough to get the Irish back into the regional round.

ASHTABULA DISTRICT

Best player – Geno Taylor, Collinwood

The unheard Senate League guard can fill it up in a hurry and has been known to top the 40-point mark. He’s the type of player that can win his team a game.

Cinderella team – No. 5 NDCL

With the size that NDCL has, they are going to provide matchup problems for any team they face. Still, that hasn’t led to many wins this year, so they’ll need to do more to make a run in the postseason.

Best sectional matchup – No. 4 Hawken vs. No. 5 NDCL

Quietly, Hawken has had a strong year but the size of NDCL may cause some trouble. It’s unlikely either of these teams are capable of a blowout, so expect a close, well-played game.

Semifinal predictions – No. 1 Jefferson vs. No. 3 Lake Catholic and No. 2 Perry vs. No. 4 Hawken

Championship prediction – No. 2 Perry over No. 1 Jefferson

This is really a wide open field and a district that a lot of goofy things could happen in. However, sometimes the unexpected brackets prove to be the most predictable. Perry could have been the top seed here and has a great group of seniors that can break through to the regional round.

STOW DISTRICT

Best player – Markell Johnson, East Tech

Although Tervell Beck of Cleveland Central Catholic has had a tremendous year, Johnson can’t be topped. He’s averaging over 30 ppg and is on a short list of Mr. Basketball candidates. He just passed the 1,500-point mark and is only a junior.

Cinderella team – No. 7 Orange

After heating up in the second half of the season, Orange is ready to shine in the postseason. It won’t be an easy road, but this is a team that has played a difficult schedule and had many different players who can score.

Best sectional matchup – No. 5 CVCA vs. No. 7 Orange

These are two very dangerous teams that meet in a sectional semifinal. CVCA is a defensive juggernaut, while Orange has played better in the second half of the season due to some transfer players. Few sectional semifinals will be better than this one.

Semifinal predictions – No. 1 Benedictine vs. No. 7 Orange, No. 2 Cleveland Central Catholic vs. No. 3 East Tech

Championship prediction – No. 3 East Tech over No. 1 Benedictine

If you had to reseed today, East Tech might be the No. 1 seed. This is a battle-tested squad that will have the best player on the floor. Benedictine has struggled against some top-tier teams, while East Tech has been in nearly every game it has played. The Scarabs are new to Division II, but they should find it to their liking.

NORTH RIDGEVILLE DISTRICT

Best player – Dwayne Cohill, Holy Name

The best player in this district is Cohill, who could go for 40 points in any game. That might not mean much, as the rest of the team has struggled this season, but there’s a reason that Cohill is likely a Big Ten player.

Cinderella team – No. 7 Holy Name

Holy Name won this district last year and was a win shy of the state tournament. Even with a rocky regular season, many will view them as the favorite until they are beaten. It’s possible they could even win the district if they straighten things out fast.

Best sectional matchup – No. 4 Buckeye vs. No. 7 Holy Name

Buckeye has had an excellent season, but they didn’t play the same type of schedule Holy Name did. Because of that, this is a pretty even matchup on paper, and one that could see an upset.

Semifinal predictions – No. 1 Bay vs. No. 7 Holy Name and No. 2 Keystone vs. No. 5 Padua

Championship prediction – No. 1 Bay over No. 2 Keystone

At the end of the day, there is no team more talented in this district than Bay. The Rockets are an offensive juggernaut that has beaten many of the teams in this district. Expect them to get over the hump this year and advance to the regional round.