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Posted On: 03/14/18 5:00 AM
By the end of the night, we’ll be down to eight teams in the state at the Division III level. Those games will be played at the Canton Fieldhouse, Trent Arena, Ohio University, and Bowling Green, with Regional Finals on Saturday.
The final fours for the Kettering and Bowling Green regions are especially competitive, while Canton and Athens have obvious favorites. Below, we’ve provided concise previews and predictions on the action to come.
Despite skidding into the playoffs at 9-13, the uber-talented Lutheran East Falcons told us everything we needed to know by beating Beachwood by ten points in the District Final. If their pieces have gelled, as is the indication, then the rest of the Canton Region is in trouble. We believe LaBrae poses a threat, but won’t ultimately be enough to keep the LUE out of Columbus for a second-straight year.
By the way, at this point of the postseason, you’re not going to find another freshman who is contributing at the level Lutheran East’s EJ Farmer is.
One of the two most interesting D-III Regional Semifinal games takes place at 5:30 tonight between Deer Park and Purcell. It’s their first meeting of the season and both are deep with talent. Purcell has the athleticism and depth to hand DP their first loss of the season, more so than the other two regional finalists. However, give us Deer Park, as two D-I level guards (senior Damani Mcentire and sophomore Mark Wise) is a good formula for postseason success.
Look for Deer Park to meet Madeira in the Regional Final, after 6’5″ forward Jack Cravaack takes advantage of an undersized North College Hill team. In that expected final, Deer Park’s speed and balance will be too much for Madeira.
Harvest Prep is just too talented for the other three Athens finalists to match-up with. The duo of senior CJ Penha and sophomore CJ Anthony should overpower everyone on their way to the State Tournament next weekend.
First and foremost, this Ottawa-Glandorf versus Archbold game is a true gem. But Archbold’s senior-laden roster will eventually crumble underneath the pressure of O-G’s full-court defense.
Now Africentric is a different story. With one of the top D-II commits in the state playing point guard for the Nubians, expect Manning “Tre” Baumgardner III to set-up an all-Columbus State Semifinal against Harvest Prep. A quality point guard and speedy wings is perfect recipe in dealing with the Titans, so we expect Africentric to advance.