Posted On: 03/30/18 1:38 PM
Well, it is now the end to what has been another exciting prep season in Ohio. And in covering the Cincinnati area, which produced state champions this season, I was able to witness some outstanding games and performances. I share with you now those games and performances in my Seasons Best.
Best Concessions- The playoff games at Mason High School had Chick-fil-A. It doesn’t matter what else they had, that won hands down.
Best Game Atmosphere- The CMAC brought energy, swag and passion to Mason High School for the Sectional round with the doubleheader of Hughes vs. Aiken and Taft vs. Woodward. If you live in a big urban area and once played in or know about what is known as “city basketball” you can relate to the feeling. The friendly trash talking in the stands, the intensity and athleticism on the court, you almost had to be there to get the feeling. And of course, the action on the court was awesome as well, but more on that later.
Best Performance in a Loss- Darwish Hunter (2018 PHO #37) did he everything that he could in Princeton’s 56-49 loss to Wayne in the Regional round of the playoffs. Hunter showed range from the NBA three, showed the ability to score off the bounce and knocked down his free throws. The Viking senior even in defeat was arguable the best player on the court that evening.
Best Performance by an Underclassmen- You will want to get to know the name Jacked Stone (2021) over the next 3 years. The Aiken Falcon had one heck of a game in their playoff upset of McNicholas on February 27th. Stone finished the game with 16 points and 8 assists while also playing outstanding defense against Rockets senior Cole Burdick. The underclassmen played with the poise of an upperclassmen and made some veteran-type decisions in the clutch to help the Falcons seal the ball game.
Best Performance by a Junior- Back on December 30th Purcell Marian junior F Bryan Warah (2019) went completely off against Shroder Paideia. The junior forward exploded for 31 points on 9-13 from the field and 13-14 from the line along with 14 rebounds and 2 blocks. Mr. Warah did an outstanding job finishing in traffic that evening and was the leading man in the Cavaliers 77-58 win over the Jaguars. Last weekend Bryan played with the Ohio Ballstars at the Ohio Players March Madness Tournament.
Best Performance by a Senior- Playing big in big games matters. And while I saw some outstanding performances by the class of 2018, the performance Damani McEntire (PHO #26) in the state final versus Africentric was as good as I saw all season. McEntire was a stat sheet stuffer that evening finishing with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 assists while putting one of the better defensive displays of the year. He simply would not let his team lose in the biggest game of the season.
Best Supporting Performance in a Victory- In the Woodward Bulldogs season opening victory against conference rival Hughes, everyone talked about the performance of Terry Durham (33pts, 15rebs) and for good reason. But Demontez “Kane” Cooper (2018) served notice that night that he was fully healed from a December 2016 knee injury. Cooper finished that game with 21 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Kane was in complete control of the offense that night and showed why he is considered one of the better floor generals in Cincinnati.
Best Individual Defensive Performance- We talked about the state final performance of Damani McEntire and its for that reason that he is the winner in this category. While the 6 steals stand out it does not account for the numerous tipped passes which on many occasions led to positive offensive possessions for the Wildcats. He also made Minnesota St. commit Tre Baumgardner work hard to even get a shot off, particularly down the stretch.
Best Individual Offensive Performance- Terry Durham (PHO #63) was already considered a Woodward High School great. But after his playoff performance against city rival Taft High School, he entered legend status. Durham’s 30 point, 15 rebound, 3 block output help not only the Bulldogs advance in the tourney but also gave Woodward its first win over the Senators since February 2014. What a way to break a streak.
Best Overall Performance- Domani McIntyre. If you still need a reason, see Best Individual Defensive and Best Performance by a senior.
Best Team Performance- Moeller used the state tournament as team showcase. During there 8 game playoff run they won by an average of 22.7ppg. But their performance against Solon was the icing on the cake. The Crusaders held Solon to 34% shooting from the field and 23% from the three while shooting 70% and 50% themselves. This was a game that was never in doubt.
Best Game- We talked about Terry Durham performance during the Taft/Woodward playoff game, but what we didn’t tell you was how awesome the game was. Two quality teams battling back and forth with the loser going home for the season. The crowd was electric and the action on the court was as good as it gets as the Bulldogs escaped with the 58-57 victory.