Two weeks from this Sunday (on February 10), the selection of the 2019 boys’ basketball tournament field will be announced in the state of Ohio. Below is a look at some of the districts in the area:
Division I – Canton District
2018 District Championship: Jackson 66 McKinley 65 (2 OT)
…Nothing has come easy for the Falcons this year. Fitch has posted a 2-5 mark in games decided by 7-points or less – to have a couple of those wins would’ve made a huge difference in the way the winning percentage looks.
…The Magics have allowed 4 teams to score 80-points or more against them this year. Barberton likely will be along the bottom of the seed line.
…Boardman has been on a roll over their last 7 outings. The Spartans have won each game including victories over Poland (66-48), Struthers (73-49), Canfield (63-39) and Harding (67-43). Sparty may not get a top line seed but they shouldn’t be too far behind.
Canton McKinley (5-8)
…McKinley has lost 6 of their last 7 since Christmas. The Bulldogs, under first-year head coach Andy Vlajkovich, have shown signs of great potential by registering wins over GlenOak (65-47), Louisville (63-51), St. Ignatius (64-56) and Hoover (65-45).
…The Crimson Tornadoes opened the campaign with a 7-0 start which included a win over Meadowbrook (40-37) on December 21. Their two losses this season came against Meadville (PA) by 3 and New Philadelphia by 3 also – two teams who have proven to be tough outs for each opponent. Dover may not get on the top 2 lines but they shouldn’t be far off.
…Since hitting a rough spot in their schedule (1-4 between Dec. 11 and Jan. 4), the Eagles have won 3 of their last 4 including wins over Massillon, Perry and McKinley. Four of their six losses have come by single-digits. Besides defeating Perry (53-51) on January 11, the Golden Eagles also hold a win at Boardman (63-50) on December 4. They’ll be slotted in the middle.
…The Bulldogs have put together a strong resume, dropping their two games by a total of 9 points, and topping GlenOak (50-43), Jackson (58-49), Lake twice (46-32; 65-52), Perry (63-61) and splitting the series with Hoover. A resume like that would almost certainly place the Bulldogs into contention for a top of the line draw.
…The Vikings have lost 3 of their last 4. For the season, Hoover has defeated Perry (49-37), Green (62-58) and GlenOak twice (67-36; 60-51). The victory over Green on December 7th is a key win. The Vikes seem to be a natural fit to be seeded below the top teams but in the middle of the pack.
…The Polar Bears went 3-0 at the KSA Tournament in Florida over the holiday break. Jackson has done nothing but be superb this season, holding victories over Hoover (59-38), Louisville (62-56), twice over Lake (56-36; 44-37) and GlenOak (67-51). Jackson has another chance at getting by Green on February 8. They lost their first encounter with the Bulldogs on January 8 (58-49).
…Coach Tom McBride’s bunch is in the middle of a five-game road swing which will take them to face GlenOak, Perry and Canfield within the next two weeks. Lake has defeated Ursuline (57-52), GlenOak (52-45) and Hoover (54-48) this year. The Blue Streaks have lost twice to Green and twice to Jackson. They’ll be off the top lines.
…The Tigers have taken care of their Mahoning Valley foes this year – def. Canfield (78-67), Ursuline (51-50) and Harding (70-65). Massillon appears to be destined to be a low seed following losses to Hoover (by 7), Lake (by 10) and GlenOak (by 31).
…Perry’s big wins came before Christmas in the form of a couple of home wins against Louisville (36-32) and Jackson (65-55) as well as a road victory over McKinley (57-51). The Panthers are 2-4 in games decided by 6 points or less.
…The Generals fell in each of their 6 losses by 10-points or less this season. They were able to knock off Perry in overtime (62-59) early on after dropping their season opener to Dover (54-47). Look for the Generals to have a below-average seed in two weeks.
Division II – Boardman District
2018 District Championship: Lakeview 72 Struthers 59
…The Cardinals hold a couple of dynamite wins this season – def. Poland (49-45), Maple Heights (44-42) and Louisville (62-56) in overtime at Quicken Loans Arena. Canfield has squared off against many opponents from outside the area which should prove to help the team in February.
…Mooney has had 6 setbacks, 5 of which have been decided by 5-points or less or in overtime. Cardinals earned wins over Valley Christian (58-54) in their opener as they’ve defeated Harding (56-47) and Linsly (62-53) since.
…Since their season opening win over Fitch (86-57), the Cowboys have displayed a knack to play big. In their first year back, Chaney holds a pair of wins over Ursuline (54-51, 73-65), Thurston (61-50) and Grove City (57-48).
…East began the 2018-19 season with 9 straight losses before toppling Lakeside (61-57). The Golden Bears close out the season with five road games in a row.
…The Indians opened play with a 5-0 start which included victories over Howland (54-52), Salem (58-42) and their signature win over Boardman (69-65) in the United Way Classic on December 8. Since then, Girard has registered wins over Struthers (56-39) and Lakeview (52-48) but has stumbled against the likes of Lakeside (75-59) and Niles (52-45).
…The Tigers’ signature win came at Harding (79-77) on January 15. Their first such win against the Raiders in almost 30-years. Howland has also posted wins over Kennedy (56-46) and West Middlesex (52-44) this year. Howland has faced Poland, LaBrae, Sharon and Lakeview in a tough non-conference schedule.
..The Eagles opened the season with 7 straight losses before topping Jefferson (52-39) on January 8. It’s been a tough season for Hubbard. They’ll be on the road for the next four contests (at Girard, South Range, Salem and Jefferson)
…Last year’s District champs have put together quite the resume with wins over Canfield (by 4 in OT), South Range and Struthers. They’ll have the opportunity to make a statement when they travel to Poland the following Tuesday.
…Niles does not have a bad loss this season. They have a couple wins which stand out – over McDonald (76-70), Girard (52-45) and Champion (75-71). The Red Dragons won’t garner a high seed but could be trouble for any opponent in the field.
…The Bulldogs, once again, will earn a top 3 seed in the tournament. Poland has registered wins over Orange (82-52) in the opener, South Range (61-42), Girard (70-43), West Branch (71-63) and Lakeview (59-42).
…The Quakers have dropped their last five games including three at home. Salem put together two impressive victories back-to-back in the middle of December – vs. Alliance (55-53) and at West Branch (58-53). However, they’ve been unable to see that same type of success throughout the year.
…Three of the Wildcats six losses (to Hickory, Sharon, Lakeview) were by 8-points or less. Struthers is still seeking that marquee win they can hang their hats on. The opportunity is there to obtain more than one between now and selection Sunday (at Lakeview, Jan. 29; South Range, Feb. 5; at Girard, Feb. 8).
…The Irish have been unlucky more often than not this year. Ursuline has fallen in 8 contests decided by 8-points or less. Ursuline appears to be a team which could come alive in the Boardman District. Irish hold wins over West Middlesex, Mooney, and Girard this year.
West Branch (8-5)
…West Branch opened the season with 5 consecutive wins before faltering in three straight before the end of December. The Warriors are looking at making up some ground in the EBC with a pair of home games on the horizon against Carrollton (Feb. 1) and Canton South (Feb. 5).
Division III – Salem District
2018 District championship: Canton Central 60 Mogadore 39
Canton Central Catholic (8-4)
…The Crusaders cruised to the District championship a year ago. Now, after their 5-point win on Wednesday, Canton Central finds themselves at 8-4.
…The Clippers have clawed their way back a positive seed line after winning five of their last six contests including a 3-point win over Southern (46-43), a 7-point victory over Mineral Ridge (69-62) and most recently a 4-point home win versus Wellsville (61-57).
…Crestview won the Rebel Holiday Classic by taking down both Heartland Christian (67-50) and Western Reserve (67-40) in successive nights. Since then, the Rebels have failed to register a win in their last six outings.
East Palestine (2-11)
…The Bulldogs have fallen in 9 straight games since evening their record at 2-2 after defeating Leetonia (53-39) on December 14.
…Fairless has dropped four of their last five games since January 11. The Falcons have been victorious against Canton South (61-46), Kidron Central (43-35), Tuslaw (43-39) and Aquinas (46-36).
…The Wildcats’ season began on December 14 due to their long football season. Mogadore holds wins over Marlington (67-66), Lake Center (69-51) as well as the Jackson-Milton Holiday Tournament title after posting victories over Maplewood (101-53) and Columbiana (80-65).
…Rootstown has won five in a row which includes victories over Mogadore (63-59), Akron Springfield (60-50), Valley Christian (54-49), and Newton Falls (63-57). The Rovers actually began the year with a 2-4 mark.
South Range (11-4)
…The Raiders are one of the hottest teams in all of the area after winning six straight over the likes of Struthers (57-38), Girard (53-45), and at #10 LaBrae (54-52). Earlier in the season, South Range does not possess a bad loss (to Lakeview, Poland, Farrell and Springfield).
…Five of the Golden Eagles’ losses were by 10-points or less. Earlier in the year – United posted wins against Southern (56-51), Community Christian (FL) in overtime, as well as a pair of victories over Lisbon.
Valley Christian (10-3)
…The Eagles have posted wins over Mogadore (55-52), Lake Center (70-56) and Mooney (58-56) so far this season. Their three losses have come at the hands of Mooney (by 4), Crestwood (by 5 in OT), and Rootstown (by 5). Pretty impressive.
…Waterloo has been outstanding this season, beginning the year with a 7-0 start. Earning two wins over McDonald, a victory over Springfield and against Lowellville as well as a 1-point win against Fairless.
Western Reserve (4-10)
…The Blue Devils went on a three-game win streak within a week in January (Jan. 11-Jan. 18). Reserve took Mineral Ridge down to the wire – losing by 5 – this past Tuesday.
Division III – Warren District
2018 District championship: LaBrae 56 Champion 41
…The Warriors are still seeking their marquee win. They’ll have their opportunities before selection Sunday – travel to Edgewood this Friday and welcome LaBrae on February 8.
Campbell Memorial (1-12)
…The Red Devils began 2018-19 with 12 consecutive losses. This past Tuesday, they upended Crestview at home – 47-40.
…The Golden Flashes have put together a fine non-conference schedule that includes games against Lakeview, Kennedy, Badger, Windham, Bristol, Pymatuning Valley and Niles. In those games, Champion has come away with a win 4 of the 7 matchups.
…Almost a shoe-in to enter the AP top 10 next week – the Warriors can make their mark as being the #1 seed in the District next Tuesday (Jan. 29) when they welcome LaBrae. Edgewood has wins over Pymatuning Valley, LaBrae, Niles, Champion, and Newton Falls this year.
Garrettsville Garfield (5-11)
…The G-Men have struggled to hold the opposition from scoring this season. In games where their opponents have scored 60-points or more, Garfield is 1-11.
Grand Valley (5-9)
…The Mustangs have played at Mathews (8-point loss), at Windham (28-point loss) and home versus #5 Bristol (19-point loss) over their last three games. Earlier in the season, Grand Valley defeated Berkshire (56-50) and Southington (73-65).
…LaBrae fell to South Range (54-52) on Tuesday. The #10 team in Division III has only suffered two losses this season to go along with a number of big victories (Bristol, Howland, Niles, Newton Falls and Champion).
…The Leopards have dropped 7 of 8 since Christmas. Liberty can look to get back on the right track with the opportunity to knock off 3 opponents on the road in as many games (Champion, Crestview, Brookfield).
Mineral Ridge (10-5)
…Ridge has posted a number of key victories this season – Mathews (82-61), at McDonald (94-88), at Sebring (76-75) and at Western Reserve (52-47). The next week will provide more clarity into their potential as they welcome McDonald on Tuesday and then at Springfield on Friday.
Newton Falls (7-6)
…The Tigers have won 4 of 6 since the calendar turned to 2019. Still seeking that signature win – Newton Falls will welcome LaBrae on Friday, February 1.
Pymatuning Valley (10-3)
…Py Valley has put together quite a resume by defeating Liberty twice, Mathews, Newbury, Brookfield and #10 Badger by 14 points (64-50). The Lakers will have more opportunities to make their case for a high seed with contests at Windham (Feb. 5) and Mathews (Feb. 8) prior to the selection.
Division IV – Struthers District
2018 District championship: East Canton 53 Western Reserve 48
East Canton (1-11)
…The Hornets have dropped their last 10 contests. Just last year, the 19-win East Canton bunch was being crowned the Struthers District championship.
Heartland Christian (2-11)
…The Lions opened the season with 3 consecutive losses (to Sebring, Portersville Christian and Mathews). Heartland has now lost their last four games.
…Tough sledding for the Blue Jays this year. Four times this season have the Jays been able to score above 50-points (1-3).
…The Bears opened the season with 9 losses in a row. Leetonia did win back-to-back games in early January but have lost their last four.
…Lisbon has been on the wrong end of a couple of close calls and overtime losses (United in OT, East Palestine, Southern in OT, Valley Christian). Blue Devils have won two straight by defeating East Palestine and Columbiana.
…Over the last 2 weeks, not many teams have done more work within that short of a time as the Lowellville Rockets have. After dropping two road games against Springfield (56-48, OT) and McDonald (72-63), the Rockets have stormed back to pick up wins at United (58-54), versus Mineral Ridge (78-55) and at Waterloo (75-68). Next week, they welcome Springfield (Feb. 5) and McDonald (Feb. 8).
…The Blue Devils have struggled to outscore opponents this year as they’re 0-5 in games where the opposition has scored 70-points or more. Within the next two weeks, McDonald plays at Ridge (Jan. 29), at Bristol (Feb. 2) and at Lowellville (Feb. 8). McDonald could really make up a lot of ground during that time period.
…The Trojans have stumbled since the first of the year – dropping 4 of 6. A lot of opportunities await Sebring within the next two weeks – vs. Lowellville (Jan. 29), at McDonald (Feb. 1), vs. Waterloo (Feb. 5) and at Mineral Ridge (Feb. 8).
…Since falling to Toronto on January 4, the Indians have posted a 5-1 mark and registering wins over the likes of Wellsville (67-63) and United (57-52).
…Waterloo pushed the Tigers off their track towards an undefeated season on January 11 (60-49). Since then, Springfield defeated McDonald for the second time this year this past Tuesday. Springfield, if they can get by Lowellville on February 5, looks to be a lock for the top seed in the district.
St. Thomas Aquinas (3-10)
…Since knocking off Trinity (48-42) on January 4, the Knights have fallen in each of their past four games. Aquinas holds their three wins by a total of 13 points.
…The Tigers have fallen in three of their last four games. Wellsville holds wins over Southern (71-65), Columbiana (64-56), Beaver Local (77-73), and Oak Glen (58-51) all before the first of the year.