One and done
It’s a statement most heard around the “March Madness” of college basketball. The high school kids have their own version of March Madness, and in the Cleveland area, all the fun starts this week. From now until the third weekend in March, the boys will take part in the most magical time of the basketball season.
Although the Cleveland area doesn’t really have a dominant team in Division I, there are plenty of good teams. It could be a wild three weeks of basketball, as seeds, especially this season, don’t really matter much. Just getting to canton and Cleveland State for the regionals could be a meat grinder. There are four districts in the Cleveland area worth looking at.
The Euclid District
If the seeds hold, it could be a wild district semi-final and final. Mentor is the top seed, and will open against Ashtabula Lakeside. The Cardinals haven’t had the year they are accustomed to, but are still dangerous with the way they play. On their side of the bracket is 4th seeded Willoughby South, who plays the same run and gun style Mentor does. Points should be a plenty if both those teams get through.
The other side of the bracket is wide open. Second seeded Madison will have its hands full with their first game, as in all probability, get third seeded Cleveland Heights a round too early. The Tigers are playing well as of late, and could trip up Madison. Fifth seeded Solon is on the other side of Madison and will play the winner of the game between Mayfield and Glenville. Mayfield beat Solon during the season. There may not be a hotter player in the Cleveland area than Solon’s Reid Thompson. The 6’4″ senior has put up 31, 37, and 35 points in his last three games.
Prediction….This is as wide open as it gets, as the top seeded teams have all gone through ups and downs throughout the year. It’s really hard to pick against Mentor. However any one of the top five seeds could get through to the regional.
The Strongsville District
As wide open as the Euclid district is, the Strongsville district is as straight forward as it gets. The overwhelming favorites to get to the final are St. Edward and St. Ignatius. Neither team should really be challenged in getting to the final, with potential challenges for St. Edward maybe coming from North Royalton, and for St. Ignatius, from Brecksville. It would be the third meeting or “Holy War” between the two schools.
Prediction….As easy as it gets. A third meeting between St. Ignatius and St. Edward. I’m going with Ignatius
It would set up a regional semi-final of Mentor and St. Ignatius
The Solon District
Garfield Heights is the top seed at Solon and for good reason. They are talented with every position with all five starters receiving Division I college offers. They are led by the 1-2 punch of Missouri recruit Willie Jackson and Louisville recruit Frankie Hughes. Shawn Christian and Marreon Jackson anchor a tremendously quick backcourt. Garfield Heights is a threat to get to Columbus, and maybe the Cleveland area’s best bet. They should cruise on their half of the bracket.
Then other have poses some intriguing match-ups. Second seeded Bedford and third seeded Maple Heights could meet in the other semi-final, with the winner getting a shot at Garfield in the final.
Prediction….This is Garfield’s district to lose, and they won’t. They are too talented, too deep, and too hungry after just missing a state championship last season.
If Garfield gets through to the regional, it sets up a potential regional semi-final against most likely Warren Harding. THAT will be a game you don’t want to miss
The Copley District
The loaded district. Brunswick is the top seed and deservedly so. However, there are plenty of landmines awaiting the Blue Devils on their way to another regional. Their district semi-final game could be against third seeded Akron Hoban. No easy task. Brunswick is hot and playing awfully well, coming off their first conference title in 50 years. They will have to play well to get to the district final, but if they do, what a potential juicy match-up if….
Second seeded Medina gets through on their half, which is no guarantee either. The Bees will have to get past sixth seeded Walsh Jesuit, and potentially a 17-4 Hudson team in their district semi-final. Medina will look to play through 7’1″ Michigan recruit Jon Teske for a return trip to the regional.
Prediction….Wow, what a tough one to call. Everyone would love to see a third match-up between Brunswick and Medina. The teams split their two regular season meetings, each winning on their home floor. It would come down to the wire, as the first two games did. Medina may have Teske, but Brunswick may have the better team. Brunswick wins a close one and punches their ticket to Akron for the regional.
Brunswick would then earn a trip to the University of Akron, which could see them in a potential match-up with top seeded Massillon Jackson
It’s the time of year that is great for high school basketball.