Posted On: 03/13/18 5:00 AM
The Division IV Regional Playoffs begin tonight with games at Ohio University, the Canton Fieldhouse, Bowling Green State University, and Trent Arena (Kettering). By Friday night, the field will be cut from 16 teams to four, all of which will need to make hotel reservations in Columbus for next weekend.
In preparation, we’ve included analysis and predictions for every game to be played tonight and Friday. Want to know the top players involved, storylines at play, and must-see matchups? Keep on scrolling!
We expect Hiland to advance over Peebles in the final. Most of Hiland’s tough work is behind them, having beaten Malvern and River by 21 combined points in the East District. It’s doubtful that Fairfield Christian Academy even makes Hiland sweat in the semifinal.
Cornerstone Christian remains the favorite to win this region, and the D-IV State Championship as a whole. Although, led by 6’3″ senior combo guard Jared Jakubick, Mansfield St. Peter’s enters the Regional Tournament 26-0, CCA’s depth of talent and senior leadership gives them a sizable advantage. Thus far, Mike Bothwell and Cornerstone have a playoff scoring margin of +25.3.
Before our Regional Champion prediction, let’s talk about Crestview versus Maumee Valley tonight at 8 o’ clock, which we’ll be in attendance for. As far as individual prospects are concerned, it’s the most loaded Division IV Regional Semifinal by far. For the Hawks of Maumee Valley, they have the hottest sophomore prospect in the state in Zeb Jackson, who has earned offers from Xavier and Dayton in the past few weeks. They also carry potential D-I talent in freshman 6’2″ guard Steven Coleman. Meanwhile, brothers Javin Etzler (offers from Cleveland State, Bowling Green, Toledo, Miami (OH), and Duquesne) and freshman Kalen Etzler (Duquesne and Bowling Green) have Crestview rolling.
We’re giving Crestview an edge over Maumee Valley and Pandora-Gilboa for the Regional Championship. Thier size and talent will win out in the end. However, Huntington signee Drew Johnson gives Pandora-Gilboa hope.
Going to be a bit bold here by picking Marion Local to upset Fort Loramie in the Regional Championship. Why? Marion Local’s consistent defense and spiraling momentum going into this week. While Loramie has the guards (Evan Berning and Dillon Braun) and coaching to overcome Marion Local’s stifling defense, playoff basketball favors the Flyers’ style.
Also, the revenge factor gives Marion Local an edge. They took one on the chin at Fort Loramie on Feb. 2, losing 47-35. Since then, Marion Local hasn’t lost, which includes wins over Versailles, St. Henry, and Delphos St. John’s. Also, that first matchup could be misleading, considering that Marion Local had beaten Minster by 26 the night before going to Loramie.