The Tournament Roundtable: The State Champions

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Posted On: 02/22/18 6:43 AM

To package alongside our District Previews from last week, we wanted to provide the readers with perspectives from all over the state on big picture questions. The OHSAA playoffs start this week, which means plenty of game coverage, more predictions, and a flood of opinions.

Tuesday, we started by answering questions about players, yesterday was teams/matchups, and today we finish up with State Championship predictions.

Let us know what you think by commenting or replying on Twitter!

Who’s your pick to win it all in Division IV?

Dusty Wright: Mansfield St. Peter has looked like the best team in the state all season in D-IV. And due to the fact, I have the least amount of knowledge in D-IV, I’m sticking with St. Peter.
Tony Peters: I’m going with Fort Loramie in this one. Their only losses are to the same team (Anna) and they have proven all season they can compete with any team they face. A senior led team, the Redskins are balanced on both ends of the floor. Plus you got to love the mullets.
Anthony Garcia: Cornerstone Christian. Who’s matching up with Mike Bothwell? Nobody. Who’s beating them on the boards? Nobody. Who should feel more disrespected by the AP Poll coming into the playoffs? Nobody. As long as CCA doesn’t disregard any of their opponents, I expect them to win this thing with an average scoring margin in the double-digits.

Who’s your pick to win it all in Division III?

Dusty Wright: They say defense wins championships and I have not seen many, if any, teams play better D than the Deer Park Wildcats. And it helps when your best offensive player is also your best scorer as well. I look for Coach Steve Gentry’s squad to bring the title back to the Deer Park community.

Tony Peters: I got to go with Ottawa-Glandorf in this one. The program is no stranger to OHSAA state championships and the Titans have another talented team this season. I’m a big fan of Jay Kaufman and expect him to have a big tournament run this season.

Anthony Garcia: If Harvest Prep can get past Bishop Hartley/Columbus Academy in their District Final, the rest of the region is relatively weak. Although their regular season schedule wasn’t the most challenging, they wouldn’t be undefeated without a season sweep of The Wellington School and a victory at Chillicothe.

Who’s your pick to win it all in Division II?

Dusty Wright: Trotwood-Madison is the team that no one seems to talk about who may have the best scoring tandem in D-II in Amari Davis and Myles Belyeu. Another team who made it to the final four last season, I look for the Rams to take it all for the 2017-18 season.

Tony Peters: My gut tells me Wauseon. They’re undefeated, and have one of the state’s top players in Austin Rotroff. I’m about 60% sure on this as the other 40% goes to the Dragons from Fairland. An underrated team in my opinion that can compete with anyone.

Anthony Garcia: There’s six legitimate State Championship contenders in Division II, some of which will meet before the Final Four (Regional Semifinal between Eastmoor and Trotwood. Also, a Regional Final between Beechcroft and Wauseon.). I’m going to stick in Southwest Ohio actually and rock with Trotwood as my pick. All their guys have unfinished business after losing at the last second to St. Vincent-St. Mary in the State Semifinal last season. Their losses this season have come against McEachern (GA) by 10, Wayne by three, and St. Vincent-St. Mary on Dec. 9 in a back-to-back where they traveled from Fairborn the night before.

Who’s your pick to win it all in Division I?

Dusty Wright: What a tough question to answer. I have a feeling that Moeller and Pick North will meet for the right to play in the finals, with the winner claiming it all. The taste of losing the title by one point should motivate Moeller to want to taste the thrill of hoisting the championship trophy. Cincy Moeller will be your Ohio 2017-18 D-I champions.

Tony Peters: If this was asked in January, I would have said Garfield Heights. Now, I have to go with Pickerington North. I like how deep the Panthers are and their style of play. Jerome Hunter has been one of my favorite players to watch thus far and I look forward to seeing what he can do postseason.

Anthony Garcia: While I really enjoy watching Solon, St. Edward, and Toledo St. John’s, I don’t think any of those teams have the requisite size to play with Moeller and Pickerington North. Between those two teams, I’ll side with Moeller. The Crusaders haven’t lost in 2018 and are undefeated against in-state opponents, including a 56-39 win at Springfield a 61-44 win over Eastmoor Academy. They’re allowing 41.9 points against Ohio opponents and will make opponents uncomfortable in high pressure situations with that defensive discipline.