Must-See Opening Weekend Events


Posted On: 11/28/18 5:00 AM

There is regular season high school basketball this week in Ohio. We repeat: THERE IS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL BEING PLAYED IN OHIO THIS WEEK. Nov. 29 marks the first day that seasons can officially tip-off. Then, most teams will be underway by Friday, Nov. 30. Some of those teams will participate in one of the three major opening weekend events — multigame kickoffs where fans, scouts, media, and coaches alike can catch several teams back-to-back-to-back-to-back and so forth.

Here they are:

Ohio Valley Hoops Classic

Nov. 30 & Dec. 1 at Hillsboro High School


Marquee Matchup (team): Mason v Sidney, Saturday at 8:10PM

The last game at this traditionally awesome event in Southern Ohio brings together two teams who should both have a winning record and are similar in talent level. Andre Gordon and his collective of complimentary seniors gives Sidney an edge. Mason, however, does have the backcourt talent to keep this one interesting. In a game that will likely be played at a fast-pace, keep an eye on how Mason seniors Landen Long and Ethan Howard adjust to having their name called more often as their production will likely determine how well their season goes.

Also fun: Lakota East v Dayton Dunbar, Friday at 6PM | Xenia v Walton Verona, Saturday at noon


Marquee Matchup (player): Jonathan Allen (Dunbar) v Alex Mangold (Lakota East)

Junior Alex Mangold, 6’7” 210 pounds, will have his hands full with Jonathan Allen, a Power Five offensive lineman recruit standing 6’6” 315 pounds. Allen averaged a double-double last season and always required a bevy of defenders to keep him in check. While he may have the advantage at point-blank range, Mangold and the skilled Lakota East front-line can stretch him out on the other end. Mangold is a capable outside shooter who can also pump fake and get by defenders off the dribble.

Also fun: Brayden Sipple (Blanchester) v Scotty Draud (Beechwood, KY)


Notes: Saturday at 1:40PM, the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic also gives you a first look at Moeller, who we have as our preseason no. 1 team in Division I. They will premiere a new-look team from when we last saw them at the State Championship. Walnut Ridge, at 5PM Saturday, will be an interesting team this year in the Columbus City League with the addition of Kaveon Ross. They get an early season test against Campbell County, a semifinalist in Kentucky’s State Tournament a year ago.


Great Lakes Classic

Nov.30-Dec. 2 at Cleveland Heights High School


Marquee Matchup (team): Cleveland Heights v Shaker Heights, Sunday at 6PM

A couple of traditional Northeast Ohio powers face-off with completely updated rosters. The season opener for Cleveland Heights gives the home crowd their first look at Louisville signee Jaelyn Withers and John Hay transfer Nigel Martin, one of the state’s top frontcourts. For Shaker Heights, it’s the first game for Danny Young Jr. and, maybe, VASJ transfer Evanell Lighty. Worth the price of admission on individual talent alone.

Also fun: St. Ignatius v Lutheran East, Saturday at 6PM | Cleveland Central Catholic v Solon, Saturday at 7:45PM | Warrensville Heights v East Tech , Sunday at 2:30 PM


Marquee Matchup (player): Kevin Davet (St. Ignatius) v Nehemiah Benson (Lutheran East)

Top summer stock-risers in their respective graduating classes will go at it in the paint on Saturday night. While Ignatius will play their familiar slower tempo as they work the ball around and try to find open shots, expect Lutheran East to press on defense from the tip. Therefore, we’ll see Davet, a 6’9” center, operate with his back to the basket while Benson, 6’6”, tries to use his versatility to get Davet on his heels while they play with tempo.

Also fun: Brandon Rush (Warrensville Heights) v DJ Harrell (East Tech) | Nick Close (Solon) v Trevon Wells (CCC) | Gbolahan Adio (Richmond Heights) v Jamal Cole (New Day Academy) | Jaelyn Withers (Cleveland Heights) v Evanell Lighty, if available* (Shaker Heights)


Notes: All 14 games at the Great Lakes Classic are NEO v NEO matchups. It’s a fun way to get a look at the Cleveland-area to start the season. We will be there on Sunday.


2018 All Ohio Nike High School Hoops Showcase

Dec. 1 at Pickerington North High School and Gahanna Lincoln High School


Marquee Matchup (team): Olentangy Liberty v Taft, 3PM at Gahanna Lincoln

A pair of talented trios will lead their teams into battle to kick-off their 2018-19 season. For OLHS, Ben Roderick returns from injury as he heads a senior group of him, Mitchell Kershner, and Nick Nakasian. The threesome of wings gives them hope to take down one of the state’s top teams in Division II, Taft. The Senators from Cincinnati bring in seniors Chris’seon Stringer and DeMarco Bradley Jr. and Shroder transfer Nekhi Smith, a junior. Their pressure defense and fast-paced style will be tested by a halfcourt ball club in Olentangy Liberty.

Also fun: Northland v Harvest Prep, 3PM at Pickerington North | Pickerington Central v Springfield, 5PM at Pickerington North | Bishop Hartley v Columbus South, 5PM at Gahanna | Richmond Heights at Gahanna, 7PM | VASJ at Pickerington North, 9PM


Marquee Matchup (player): Javohn Garcia (Pickerington Central) v RaHeim Moss (Springfield)

It’s hard to say whether or not these two will actually matchup with each other on both ends of the floor, so maybe this is a futile choice. If Garcia and Moss do go at it, though, we have two of the top two-way perimeter players in the state battling. They both produce on both ends but the similarities stop there — Garcia is finesse and graceful, Moss strong and forceful.

We’d love to see them go head to head, but either way this is a matchup. Garcia is one of the finest conductors of a game in Ohio. His acumen at the point guard spot shows itself through timely passes and decisions. Meanwhile, Moss will just try to ram the ball down Pick Central’s throat by relentless attacking the teeth of their defense.

Also fun: Ben Roderick (Olentangy Liberty) v Chris’seon Stringer (Taft) | Jack Sawyer (Pickerington North) v LaTrace Jackson (VASJ) | Morgan Safford (Bishop Hartley) v Marcus Johnson (South) | N’Keeley Elmore (Northland) v CJ Anthony (Harvest Prep)


Notes: Prep Hoops Ohio will provide extensive coverage of the games at Pick North, and hopefully Gahanna too.