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Posted On: 12/26/17 10:05 AM
It’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s with winter break events and showcases on the horizon. This all makes for a slow week of basketball across the state; so, we’re brining you all the regions into one article this week, with the top seven games highlighted here.
Small schools are represented in our first game of the week. Labrae is 6-0 following a 2016-17 regular season where they were 21-0. Logan Kiser and Tyler Stephens lead the way for them. Bristol, on the other hand, enters the game with one loss. They’ll likely be one of the top Division IV teams this season again, after ending last year in the AP State Poll and making it to a District Semfinal.
In the 6 p.m. slot at Garfield Heights, we get a neutral site rivalry game between two of the top Division I teams in Northeast Ohio.
Shaker’s unsigned 6’6” wing Christian Guess has looked like a First Team All State player in December, going for 57 points against Mentor. He’s complimented by Fairmont State signee Dale Bonner and Kevin Bishop.
With victories over Cornerstone Christian, VASJ, Lutheran East, and Maple Heights, this Cleveland Heights group is flying under the radar. Seniors Yahel Hill and Tyreke Smith headline this group, and classmates Javon Roberts, Keith Jackson, Isaiah Higgins, and Grayson Green thrive in their roles.
The 6 o’ clocker on Thursday features a home game for the undefeated Garfield Heights Bulldogs against the reigning Division II State Champs.
Freshman sensations Seth Wilson and Meechie Johnson gives scouts a look at two of the top 2021 prospects in Ohio. Even on teams with proven upperclassmen, both Wilson and Johnson have proven to be focal points on the offensive side. Other prospects to watch include Garfield’s Alonzo Gaffney and Jesse Laster, along with STVM’s Scott Walter, Chris Painter, and Lunden McDay. For the Irish to make this one close, they’ll need to discover a way to neutralize their size disadvantage.
Both teams are undefeated in the Greater Western Ohio Conference, the deepest conference in Southern Ohio. Wayne is 7-0 overall, with wins against Pickerington North, Beavercreek, and Centerville. Meanwhile, Trotwood, who has scored over 100 points in four-straight games, is yet to take down a quality opponent in their 5-1 start.
The backcourt matchups between guys like Trotwood’s Amari Davis (22.4 points per game) and Myles Belyeu (24.0) and Wayne’s Darius Quisenberry (17.9) and DeShon Parker (13.7) will make this one extremely exciting. However, look for Ohio State football signee and athletic 6’6” forward L’Christian “Blue” Smith to be the difference for Wayne.
Fort Loramie is 7-0 with quality wins over St. Henry and Franklin Monroe, giving them a case as the top Division IV team in Ohio at the moment. Saturday against Bethel will be their toughest game yet, however, as the one-loss Bees are one of the top Division III teams in the Dayton-area. Dillon Braun and Tyler Siegel are having strong seasons for Fort Loramie, while Bethel’s Ryan Rose has been excellent in the absence of Caleb South.
Westerville North will look to defend home court on Saturday and build on a 5-1 start to their season. Junior Division I prospects Jeremiah Keene and Philip Alston have keyed their early season start, as they could be a sleeper in Central Ohio’s Division I Regionals. Meanwhile, Wellington has been up and down after a Division IV State Championship appearance last season. They could use another quality win after beating Whitehall last Thursday.
Ignatius has been a bit inconsistent this season, with wins against Cleveland Heights and Lutheran East but losses to Cornerstone Christian and Solon. They’ve benefitted from breakout seasons by seniors Neeko Melendez and Jon Barnes. Meanwhile, this game comes towards the beginning of an extremely challenging stretch for the Irish that goes Garfield Heights, this game, Lakewood St. Edwards, then Cleveland Heights on January 7.