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Posted On: 02/14/18 4:32 PM
Prep Hoops is your spot for balanced coverage across all levels of basketball talent. Usually that principle applies to providing content on all levels of college prospects, high-major to D-III. But, it’s tournament time in Ohio and we’re going to pivot our fundamental goal towards teams, giving you brief district previews from Division I to Division IV.
As far as Columbus is concerned, the D-I level is where most of the excitement resides. In that top division, there’s multiple State Championship contenders and a couple of interesting sleepers past the top three seeds. However, that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of interesting divisions as the schools get smaller. So let’s get into it.
Columbus 1 District
Westerville North over Pickerington Central
The reigning Regional Champion Pickerington Central is trending upwards after an atrocious early- and mid-December. Their recent tear includes a win over Gahanna, who they’ll play again on Friday and in this semifinal. We expect Pick Central’s long athleticism and experience to get them past Gahanna, but not quite Westerville North.
Columbus 2 District
Upper Arlington over Dublin Coffman
Another exciting semifinal in this district between no. 6 Coffman and no. 5 Newark. At the end of the day, we don’t believe Newark will quite exploit their size advantage and they don’t have enough big-game experience to get the nod. However, that’s not to say Newark is out of the question to get past the Rocks.
Columbus 3 District
Pickerington North over Reynoldsburg
First of all, don’t panic after a couple surprising losses as of late from Pick North. They’ll come into the final as a heavy favorite over Reynoldsburg or Westerville Central. That semifinal is another toss-up, but the balance and Tre Williams factor gives Reynoldsburg an edge.
Columbus 4 District
Hilliard Bradley over Logan
Beechcroft over Bishop Hartley
Beechcroft is quietly susceptible to be upset. The no. 1 seed in Central Ohio D-II hasn’t played the most challenging schedule, as the North Division of the Columbus City League is weaker than the South top-to-bottom. Hartley has a real chance if they can take the energy out of Beechcroft by slowing it down and being physical with them.
Eastmoor Academy over Columbus South
These teams are wildly familiar at this point. EA has beat them twice this season and has as good of a résumé as you’ll find around the state in Division II. Expect their gauntlet of a regular season schedule to pay-off in the tourney.
Wellington School over Africentric
Strangely, the lower seeded Wellington will have an easier route to the final as Africentric plays no. 5 Northmor in the semifinal. But that’s not quite the reason we picked the reigning D-IV Regional Champions. Wellington has won 14 of their last 15 games and should have enough athleticism and size on the perimeter to create a clever scheme aimed at stopping Manning “Tre” Baumgardner III. However, Africentric’s Minnesota State signee is capable of leading the Nubians to the next round.
Harvest Prep over Bishop Ready
Ready has sputtered recently after a roaring start to the season and Harvest Prep has arguably the best duo in D-III statewide with CJ Penha and CJ Anthony.
Fisher Catholic over Danville