Seems hard to believe but it is
time for the eleventh annual edition of Trail Trash, featuring the
expert opinions and predictions of the Swami. For many readers, the
highlight of the long winter is the day their
swimsuit issue Trail Trash hits the mailbox. Trail Trash is your
bible for Northwest Ohio basketball tournament information. We are
proud to announce that Trail Trash is now on the Internet at
The Swami would like to
congratulate the NW Ohio District Board for adopting the new seeding
process. Under the new system, all teams at a sectional are seeded
rather than only two teams being seeded. The top seed has the first
choice to place themselves on the bracket followed by the second seed,
the third seed, etc. Any team may choose to pass with the only
requirement being that the top two seeds cannot place themselves on the
same bracket. This system rewards teams that have had good seasons even
if they do not receive one of the top two seeds. Some of the draws were
very interesting with third seeds jumping on the same bracket as the
first seed. The Swami would have liked to have seen the seeding and
placement of teams on the brackets play itself out at the Liberty-Benton
D1 and Findlay D3 sectionals.
The Swami was very respectable in
last year's second edition (regional and state tournament) getting all
four champions into the state tournament and six of the eight teams into
the championship games. The overall record was 43-17 (72%) with two
If you have any comments,
questions, or suggestions for Trail Trash, contact
Davey1. The Swami can also be contacted through
email@example.com. The Swami has his mojo going. Time to fire up
the ouija board. Let's roll, it's Swami time.
'03-'04 season in D1 has been viewed as mediocre by some experts.
Toledo St. John's received the majority of the pre-season hype but
stumbled early when Zach Hillesland hurt a knee. However, the Titans
have been dynamite in the short time since Hillesland returned. Toledo
Libbey has early season victories over St. John's and Columbus
Brookhaven, but the Cowboys have had some problems on the road and with
lesser foes. Lima Senior has been solid playing a grueling non-league
schedule offset by their league play in a mediocre Greater Buckeye
Conference. Mansfield Senior so far has had a solid but somewhat
inconsistent season. An additional thirteen D1 squads were above .500
at the time of the draw with Sylvania Southview, Celina, Bowling Green,
and Perrysburg appearing to be the frontrunners. That should make for
some solid tournament games in this "mediocre" season. District
semi-final games for the Willard and Liberty-Benton sectional winners
will be played at those sites with the district final to be played at
BG. Winners from the two Toledo sectionals will advance to UT's Savage
Hall with the Waite winners meeting in one semi-final and the Libbey
winners in the other. The two D1 district champs from NW Ohio will
advance to UT with the BG winner playing the Grafton district winner
(Lakewood St. Edward, Olmsted Falls, Elyria, and Lorain Southview are
the top contenders) while the UT district winner will meet the Berea
district champs (wide open with St. Ignatius, Cleveland Rhodes, Midpark,
Strongsville, North Royalton, and Solon all with a shot).
Mansfield Senior and Sandusky are the top seeds. Mansfield has put
together a solid but unspectacular season. Jon Avery and Yima Chia-Kur
lead the Tygers. Ryan Williams paces Sandusky. TJ James has replaced
John Schlessman as the Streaks' head coach this season. Sandusky is
undefeated against the teams in this sectional including a win over
Mansfield Senior during December. Ashland took the district crown in
'03, but the Arrows lost everyone to graduation. Fremont Ross has
struggled through a rebuilding year. Take Ashland over Madison, Marion
Harding over Tiffin Columbian, and Sandusky over Ross in the first
round. Rivals Mansfield and Ashland have already played twice with the
Tygers easily winning against Ashland's stall and nipping the Arrows at
Mansfield. The Swami likes Mansfield over Ashland and Sandusky over
Harding in the finals.
Liberty-Benton: Lima Senior and Celina are the top seeds.
Excellent sectional at L-B. Lima Senior is led by an outstanding junior
in Travis Walton. Celina recently fell out of the WBL race and is back
in D1 after a season in D2. The Bulldogs have an outstanding scorer in
Tim Homan. BG and Perrysburg are in the hunt for the NLL crown along
with Sylvania Southview. Coach Von Graffin's team has overcome several
injuries with the coach's son, Michael, the team's leading scorer. Mike
Dhondt is the big gun for Pburg. The Jackets can be very strong when
they get the ball to big man Ryan Winkleman. Findlay is having a solid
season in what was thought to be a rebuilding year, but the Trojans must
shoot the "3" extremely well to compete with the better teams. Anthony
Wayne has wins over both BG and Pburg. Maumee lost their leading
scorer, sophomore Chris Poellinitz, to grades at the end of the
semester. BG and Celina is an intriguing matchup as the #2 and #3 seeds
face off in the first round. The Swami isn't sure why the Bobcats did
not get the #2 seed, but they will knock off Celina. Take Perrysburg
over Maumee and Findlay to edge past AW in the first round. In the
finals, go with Lima Senior over Pburg and BG over Findlay.
Toledo St. John's and Toledo St. Francis are the top seeds. It just
wouldn't be tournament time without the Waite Fieldhouse. St. John's is
led by the "big three" of Brian Roberts (headed to the University of
Dayton), B.J. Raymond, and Zach Hillesland. St. John's did not impress
while Hillesland was out, but it appears the Titans can go a long way
now that the "big three" is intact. St. Francis has been somewhat of a
surprise and has an outstanding guard in C.J. Johnson. Scott has a
quality win against Lima Senior, but the Bulldogs were absolutely
destroyed by St. John's, Canton McKinley, and Libbey. Big Earl Morris
is feeling the heat from the Scott community and his status beyond this
season is in doubt. Central has quietly put together a decent
rebuilding season under new coach Paul Patterson. Northview has fallen
off the pace for the NLL crown while Rogers probably would have a few
more wins if leading scorer Fred Davis had not left school in January to
get a head start on his football career at USC. Take Scott over Rogers,
St. Francis over Central, St. John's over Woodward, and Northview over
Springfield. Scott "upsets" St. Francis in one final while St. John's
wins big over Northview. Please note that sites and times for the March
5 finals are up in the air since Libbey drew into the Libbey site.
Toledo Libbey and Sylvania Southview are the top seeds. An evening at
Libbey is always exciting. Not much parking and you never know if your
car will still be around after the game. Libbey started strong with
wins over St. John's and Brookhaven. The Cowboys suffered tough losses
at Dublin Scioto and Lima Senior, got waxed at Akron SVSM, and were
upset at home by Clay. Libbey is a deep, talented team led by guard
Pete Pierce. A serious knee injury to inside player David Osby could
have an impact. Southview currently leads the NLL. The Cougars are
also talented but extremely inconsistent. Steve Kyser and Ray Thomas
lead Southview. Clay and Whitmer have been very competitive in their
first year in the Toledo City League with both coming on strong in the
second half of the season. Waite has been respectable but appears to
have lost leading scorer Mike Lucas to a knee injury. Bowsher started
the season 3-0 but haven't won since. Take the Rebels over Start.
Southview will avenge a regular season loss to Waite while Whitmer will
nip Clay in overtime. Take Libbey easily over Bowsher and Southview
over Whitmer in the finals. Southview and Whitmer has all the makings
of an upset, but the Swami has to go with the Cougars. Please note
again that the site and times for the March 5 finals have not been
determined. Libbey's game will be moved to Waite. The status of the
other final will probably depend on whether Waite advances.
Mansfield and Sandusky will meet in
a district semi-final at Willard while Lima Senior will face off against
BG in a semi-final at Liberty-Benton. Look for Mansfield to avenge
their regular season loss to Sandusky. Take Lima Senior over BG. This
will be nothing like the 2001 debacle, but you have to go with the
Lima Senior and Mansfield Senior have had some great tournament battles
over the years including a classic at UT in 2000. There are a number of
similarities between these two clubs. With our publishing schedule, the
Swami will need to make a call on this one before the two teams' regular
season meeting on February 14 in Lima. Take Lima over Mansfield for the
Toledo: St. John's will have already played nine games at UT by
the time the district rolls around. If the Johnnies make it all the way
to the regional finals, they will have played thirteen games at this
"neutral" site. St. John's will have little trouble with Scott in the
opener. The Bulldogs can't matchup size-wise with the Titans, and will
live and mostly die by the "3." Take Libbey over Southview in the
second game. This could be one of the most entertaining games of the
tournament season. In the district final, look for St. John's to win
another championship with a win over Libbey on the Titans' real home
Top of Page
The spotlight has shown brightly on
Ottawa-Glandorf this season with only a loss at St. Marys Memorial
marring their record to date. The Titans have some close wins, but we
do not know where the Associated Press found that second loss. Maybe
that is AP's prediction of the February 13 skirmish between O-G and
Shawnee at Lima? That battle featuring the Pollitz twins from O-G and
Shawnee's Jamar Butler could very well be the preview of the BG district
final. The Western Buckeye League has been outstanding at the top this
season with O-G, Shawnee, Elida, St. Marys, Van Wert and DI Celina
making each other's lives miserable. Shelby, Port Clinton, Wauseon,
Fostoria, and Willard have all appeared at some time in the weekly AP
poll, but the real power appears to be in the WBL. The sectional
originally scheduled for Lima Senior was moved to Ohio Northern due to
the construction and limited parking around Lima Senior. The two NW
Ohio district winners in D2 advance to an outstanding regional at UT's
Savage Hall. The BG winner will meet the Stow winner (# 1 LaGrange
Keystone is the favorite but don't be surprised if the "Rock" doesn't
make it to UT) while the Ashland winner plays the Barberton winner (#2
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, #9 Akron Buchtel, # 13 Akron Central-Hower).
Northern: Ottawa-Glandorf and Lima Shawnee are the top seeds.
What a sectional. Tim and Eric Pollitz again lead O-G. There is a good
chance that Tim Pollitz will not only become O-G's all-time leading
scorer during the sectional, but Putnam County's as well. The Titans
have been bothered by zone defenses this season, and at least two teams
in this sectional (Van Wert and Elida) let games get away at O-G.
Shawnee has yet to a sectional championship in Jamar Butler's four
seasons. Butler has committed to Ohio State and has scored well over
2,0000 points in his career. This season he is averaging 30.7 points
and 8.2 assists per outing. As of February 12, the Indians are
undefeated in the WBL. Elida has been outstanding in a rebuilding
season. After getting the #3 seed at ONU, Elida's Chris Adams jumped
onto O-G's bracket. Junior-dominated Van Wert started strong until
losing consecutive games to Archbold, O-G, and Shawnee. The O-G and
Archbold games were especially painful as the Cougars had great
opportunities to win both. St. Marys Memorial is another excellent WBL
team. The Roughriders handed O-G their only loss. Elida and St. Marys
will be a battle in the first round. The Roughriders have had some
injury problems but appear to be getting healthy. Could the Bulldogs be
caught looking ahead to O-G? Take Elida over St. Marys. O-G over Lima
Bath, Shawnee over Paulding, and Van Wert over Wapak in other first
round games. In the finals, take O-G over Elida. The Swami says that
Elida had their shot in the regular season game at O-G. This time, the
Titans will be ready. Shawnee will defeat Van Wert in the other final.
Van Wert played the Indians tough at Shawnee, but it is time for Jamar
Butler to get a sectional crown.
Wauseon and Fostoria are the top seeds. Wauseon expected to be in
somewhat of a rebuilding year but won their first twelve before losing
at Archbold. The Indians have not played a strong schedule. Junior
Jake Reckner has been a huge surprise for Wauseon. Junior Jake Diebler
and freshman Jon Diebler lead Fostoria. Jon Diebler threw in 49 at
Willard. The Redmen started slowly and were blown out by Port Clinton
at Fostoria in early January. The Redmen have not lost since and appear
to be on their way to an NOL crown. Defiance is improved under new
coach Kirk Lehman. Bryan is led by Chris Carpenter, the Golden Bears'
all-time leading scorer. Several years ago, Lehman was run out as head
coach at Rossford by an overzealous superintendent who was also a
disgruntled parent (talk about a bad combination). Rossford hasn't been
the same since. Coach Lehman will meet his old team in a battle of
Bulldogs. Take Defiance. Bryan over Eastwood and Fostoria over
Napoleon in other first round games. Defiance will give Wauseon a
battle in one final, but Wauseon appears to have too much size for the
Bulldogs. Fostoria has imploded the last two years in the sectionals
against mediocre Napoleon and Rossford teams. The Redmen appear to be
more disciplined this year (hard to believe for a Keith Diebler team).
Take Fostoria over Bryan in the other final.
Port Clinton and Norwalk are the top seeds. Port Clinton appears to
have peaked after their big win at Fostoria. That was the Redskins'
ninth consecutive win before PC lost to Margaretta. All-district Andrew
Lemmon and 7' Drew Walker (committed to Central Michigan) lead the
'Skins. PC has gotten very little from their other players down the
stretch and an injury to Lemmon has not helped matters. Norwalk does
not have a senior on the team. The Truckers are very talented but
consistency for the junior and sophomore dominated team has been a
factor. Stephen Hunter is the Truckers' big gun. Vermilion started
strong and had little trouble against PC, but the Sailors have been
slumping of late. Former Gibsonburg and Fayette coach Tim Walsh leads
Oak Harbor. The Rockets also started strong but have faded. Clyde has
an outstanding player in Matt Muratori. It is hard to believe that
Bellevue has won only six games over the past two seasons, but the
Redmen are very young. Vermilion got the #3 seed and jumped on PC's
bracket. Take Vermilion over Bellevue, but the Sailors better not be
looking ahead to PC. Norwalk over Perkins and Clyde in an upset of Oak
Harbor in other first round games. In the finals, Vermilion edges Port
Clinton with Norwalk advancing with a win over Clyde.
Madison: Shelby and Willard are the top seeds. Shelby surprised
everyone by jumping out at 12-1 including eight straight to start the
season. The Whippets have slumped of late and the blow out by Lexington
was a shocker. Senior Ben Carver has been outstanding for the
Whippets. Despite the loss of Nick Dials to graduation, Willard ran off
nine straight to start the season and were ranked #2 by AP. The Flashes
then went into a four game skid, but appear to have righted the ship
with quality wins at Port Clinton and at Norwalk. Sophomore Jimmy
Langhurst leads the Flashes. Ontario has put together a fine season,
but the Warriors are only 1-3 against D2 teams. Upper Sandusky returned
leading scorer Greg Micheli from last year's district runner-up, but the
Rams have been a disappointment. Kenton may be the worst D2 team in the
state. Take Ontario over Galion, Willard big over Kenton, and Upper in
a squeaker over Lexington in the first round. Shelby and Ontario is
almost too close to call. The Whippets have a regular season win over
the Warriors. Shelby has been scuffling while Ontario has been winning
of late. Take Shelby in one final based on their stronger schedule.
Willard over Upper in the other final.
This district has been dominated by the WBL teams for years with Wauseon
in '94 as the last winner not from the Western Buckeye league. O-G has
the Pollitz twins while Fostoria has the Diebler brothers. O-G appears
to have the stronger supporting cast so take the Titans over Fostoria.
Shawnee and Wauseon in a battle of Indians in the second game. Shawnee
has no trouble advancing past Wauseon. Ottawa-Glandorf has won the BG
district the past three seasons with Shawnee being the last team other
than the Titans to win at Bowling Green. O-G wins another district
crown with a win over Shawnee in a thriller.
Ashland University: Three NOL teams
dominate the field at Ashland. In the opener, Willard has little
trouble with Vermilion. Norwalk posts a mild upset with a win over
Shelby in the other semi-final. Willard starts three sophomores and
only one senior while Norwalk starts four juniors and a sophomore.
Willard already has defeated Norwalk twice this season and the Flashes
take a third win over the Truckers for a district championship. The
regional will be a real challenge for the young Flashes.
Top of Page
This has been a solid year for D3
basketball in NW Ohio despite Liberty-Benton being the only team with a
weekly presence in the AP top ten. A real surprise has been the lack of
publicity received by Archbold. The Blue Streaks returned three
starters from their '03 state qualifier and added transfer Mike Pratt.
The Streaks played a number of games without an injured D.J. Selgo, with
their only losses on the season to O-G and Wauseon in December. With
Selgo back, they recently handed Wauseon their first loss. Margaretta,
Woodmore, Western Reserve, and New London have had outstanding seasons
while traditional powers Lima Central Catholic, Delphos St. John's, St.
Henry, Patrick Henry, Wynford and '02 state champ Clear Fork have been
extremely solid. The sectional previously played at Defiance has been
moved to Napoleon with the Napoleon district shifting to Ohio Northern
as the only site changes. The three NW Ohio D3 district winners advance
to the regional at BG's ancient Anderson Arena where they will be joined
by the Elyria district winner (Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy,
Brooklyn, Fairview Park Lutheran West, and Lorain Clearview appear to be
St. Henry and Lima Central Catholic are the top seeds. St. Henry is
very balanced with four starters averaging between 10.5 and 13 points a
game and five players averaging at least four rebounds per outing. The
Redskins started off 0-2 but since have lost only to state-ranked Fort
Loramie and Versailles. Lima Central Catholic had heavy graduation
losses but this is a typical Bob Seggerson coached team. The T-Birds
are fundamentally sound and play terrific defense. What is different
for the 'Birds this season is they finally have their own gym. Pat
Stolly leads LCC. Delphos St. John's also suffered heavy graduation
losses, but the Jays, as usual, are having a solid season. Coldwater
has been a disappointment while Spencerville has had some success
despite being dominated by sophomores and freshman. Parkway currently
has only one win, but it was against a solid New Bremen club. Take
Coldwater over Spencerville and Delphos St. John's over Parkway in the
openers. LCC already owns a win over DSJ at Lima. This one will be
even closer, but take the T-Birds. St. Henry takes the other final with
a win over Coldwater.
Archbold and Tinora are the top seeds. Archbold still has a key NWOAL
game left at Patrick Henry, but the Blue Streaks could enter the
tournament with a fourteen game winning streak. Dan Borchardt, D.J.
Selgo, and Joel Ruffer lead the Streaks. Tinora has a new coach in
one-time Elmwood boss Rob Mahnke and a fine post player in Ian Webber.
Big things were expected of Liberty Center but returning starters
Brennen Flory contracted leukemia and Eric Wymer was lost to a football
injury. The Tigers have still had a respectable season. Look out for
Wayne Trace. The Raiders started slowly but have been on fire of late.
Nathan Overmeyer, an outstanding shooter, has carried Wayne Trace. Take
Wayne Trace over Liberty Center in the only first round game. In the
finals, the Swami likes Wayne Trace over Tinora and Archbold over
Northview: Evergreen and Genoa are the top seeds. This is a bad
sectional. A young Evergreen team is a middle to lower NWOAL club. The
Vikings have cleaned up on a weak, D4 dominated non-league schedule.
Genoa has hovered just under .500. Big man Zach Diekman leads the
Comets. Lake had a decent start but has experienced problems since the
holidays. Delta got off to a very slow start, but has shown some
improvement. Swanton may be the worst D3 team in the state. The
Bulldogs' problems are not surprising since there were questions whether
Swanton would even have winter sports given their financial crisis.
Take Lake over Delta in the only first round game. In the finals, take
Genoa over Lake and Evergreen over Swanton.
Liberty-Benton and Patrick Henry are the top seeds. A very good
sectional. Liberty-Benton was the state's top ranked D3 team in the
initial AP poll. L-B's only losses have been to undefeated Arlington
and Ottoville on the road. Patrick Henry started off strong with five
in a row followed by a three game losing streak to Woodmore, L-B, and
O-G. The Patriots then ran off six in a before a recent loss at
Elmwood. Fortunately for Patrick Henry, Elmwood did not end up in their
bracket. Trent Meyer is PH's top player. Otsego and Elmwood have been
chasing Woodmore in the SLL race. The Knights and Royals will meet
during the final weekend of the regular season. This will be the first
game in Elmwood's new gym. Damien Montelongo leads Otsego in scoring.
Take Elmwood over Lakota and Otsego over Bluffton in first round games.
Both SLL squads have excellent chances to pull off upsets in the
finals. The Swami takes Liberty-Benton over Elmwood and Patrick Henry
over Otsego in the championship games but don't be surprised if there is
Western Reserve and Margaretta are the top seeds. Another excellent
sectional. Western Reserve is located near Wakeman in Northeast Huron
County. Chris Sheldon, son of the retired long time Wynford coach Rob
Sheldon, coaches WR. The Roughriders have an outstanding point guard in
Shawn Shriver. WR lost to Margaretta by ten in their opener but has won
fifteen straight since. WR has handed New London their only two
losses. Margaretta is big and talented. The Polar Bears have an
excellent player in Jake Meisler. The Bears after early losses to
Sandusky St. Marys and Danbury are on a ten game winning streak.
Woodmore currently stands atop the SLL. The Wildcats started the season
off with losses to Port Clinton and Liberty-Benton on the road, but are
currently enjoying an eight game winning streak. Junior Tyler
Rosenberger is an outstanding player. Woodmore received the #3 seed and
jumped on Western Reserve's bracket. Huron has had a number of close
losses and played Margaretta close in two games. Gibsonburg has a win
over state-ranked D4 Danbury. Take Woodmore over Edison and Huron over
Gibsonburg in opening games. The Swami likes Woodmore over Western
Reserve and Margaretta over Huron in the finals.
New London and Wynford are the top seeds. New London has two losses to
Western Reserve. In Eric Marschall, the Wildcats have an outstanding
post player. At Wynford, long-time assistant Tim Ehresman replaced the
retired Rob Sheldon. The Royals have not skipped a beat and continue to
win with defense and fundamentals. Wynford is currently on a seven game
winning streak. '02 state champ Clear Fork has lost four games by a
total of six points to West Holmes, Loundonville, and Ontario. Connor
Gregg is the Colts' top player. CF received the #3 seed and went
directly to the championship game against top seed New London. In the
only first round game, take Bucyrus over Ashland Crestview. The Swami
likes Wynford over Bucyrus and Clear Fork over New London in the finals.
Northern: The same four teams as a year ago in this district.
Top seeds St. Henry and Archbold face off in one semi-final. The Swami
likes Archbold's tournament experience. Take the Archbold over the
Redskins, but it will not be easy. In the nightcap, look for Lima
Central Catholic to barely get by Wayne Trace. In the final, Archbold
defends their district crown with a win over Lima Central Catholic.
Waite: Genoa plays Patrick Henry in the opener. The Swami will
be very surprised if either of the Northview winners put up much
resistance. The Patriots easily defeat the Comets. Evergreen is
matched up against Liberty-Benton in the second game. This is another
ho-hummer as the Eagles have no problems with the Vikes. Liberty-Benton
and Patrick Henry met back in January with L-B taking a win. Same
result this time as L-B eliminates PH for the district championship.
This appears to be the most interesting D3 district. Clear Fork
eliminated Woodmore in the district on their march to the state
championship back in '02. Take Clear Fork over Don Christie's Wildcats
in a real battle. Wynford has a rich tournament history while
Margaretta has never won a district championship. Take the Polar Bears
over Wynford. A key will be the play of Margaretta's freshman point
guard. Clear Fork and Margaretta appear to be very evenly matched. The
Swami has gone back and forth several times on this one. Take Clear
Fork barely in the championship game.
Top of Page
Every year we mention in Trail
Trash that the best D4 basketball in the state is played in NW Ohio.
2003 proved the Swami correct once again as Marion Local defeated Convoy
Crestview for the state crown. Forget about the Sebring McKinley's, the
Berlin Hiland's, and the Columbus Tree's of Life (did you really expect
me to call them the Columbus Tree of Life's?) that you see near the top
of the state poll, 2004 is no exception. Arlington and Buckeye Central
are at the top of the most recent poll. Arlington does not have a
history as a basketball powerhouse and has been much more of a football
school. The Red Devils are currently the only undefeated team in NW
Ohio (all classes) and are the only undefeated D4 school in the state.
Buckeye Central spent some time as the state's top team this season
ascending to the top spot the week after losing their first game of the
season. Throw in Mansfield St. Peter, Danbury, Convoy Crestview,
Holgate, Minster, Pettisville, Van Buren, New Bremen, and Fort Jennings
and you get the message. Sylvania Southview has replaced Springfield
and Riverdale has replaced Fostoria as sectional sites. The district
formerly played at Galion has been moved to Willard while the district
played last year at Findlay returns to Fostoria. District winners from
Elida, Liberty-Benton, Napoleon, and Fostoria will advance to the
regional at BG's Anderson Arena. The Wapakoneta district winner
advances to the Miami University regional while the Willard district
winner gets the privilege of playing at the Columbus Fairgrounds
Minster and New Bremen are the top seeds. This site again features five
teams from the MAC. At the beginning of the season, some of the experts
had Minster rated as one of the top three D4 teams in the state along
with Fort Loramie and Convoy Crestview. The Wildcats got off to a slow
start by losing big at Spencerville, but they have held their own
against a strong schedule. Dane Sommer is Minster's top player. New
Bremen has been a surprise especially after losing their point guard in
the opener. The Cardinals have quality wins against St. Marys, Delphos,
and Marion. However, NB has struggled of late. Scott Schmiesing is
Bremen's top player. Marion Local lost all five starters and a key sub
from their state championship team of a year ago and got their usual
late start due to the football playoffs. Cory Luebke is Marion's top
player. Take New Knoxville over Waynesfield-Goshen and Marion Local
over Fort Recovery in opening games. In the finals, the Swami likes
Minster over New Knoxville and Marion over New Bremen.
Waynesfield-Goshen: Upper Scioto Valley and Hardin-Northern are
the top seeds. This sectional has been traditionally dominated in the
district by the MAC teams. Lima Perry made it to the district final a
year ago before being eliminated by Marion Local. A mediocre sectional
this year with Upper Scioto and Hardin-Northern the top teams. Both are
above .500, but neither is a contender in their respective conferences.
Take Ada over Ridgemont and Allen East over Perry in the first round.
In the finals, go with USV over Ada and Hardin-Northern over Allen East
in the finals. The Swami still hasn't found Waynesfield-Goshen.
Convoy Crestview and Fort Jennings are the top seeds. The names may
change, but this sectional has produced a regional champ the past four
seasons. Much was expected out of Crestview after last year's state
runner-up finish. The Knights returned three starters in Scott DeLong,
Evan Purmort, and Travis Adams along with their key subs. Crestview
started fast, faded around the holidays, and is currently on an eight
game winning streak. '00 D4 state champ Fort Jennings currently leads
the PCL. Ryan Schroeder and Kevin Bullinger are the Musketeers' top
players. '97 D4 state champ Lincolnview also is in the midst of a fine
season. The Lancers are chasing Crestview for the NWC crown. Nick
Missler is the leading scorer for the Lancers. Ottoville has a win over
Liberty-Benton and is still in the fight for the PCL championship.
Traditional power Kalida has slumped since mid-January while Delphos
Jefferson is putting together a late season run. Jefferson's Dustin
Looser recently became the Wildcats' all-time leading scorer. Take
Lincolnview over Kalida and Ottoville over Delphos Jefferson in the
first round. Lincolnview defeated Fort Jennings in overtime in early
January. The Swami looks for Jennings to avenge that defeat and for
Crestview to win over Ottoville in the finals.
Arlington and Columbus Grove are the top seeds. Undefeated Arlington
has quality wins over Fort Jennings, Van Buren, and Liberty-Benton.
Given their schedule for the remainder of the season, there is no reason
to believe they will not be undefeated when they enter tournament play.
The Alexander twins (Matt and Joe) along with Dan Beach are the main
cogs for the Red Devils. Columbus Grove has put together a solid season
following their state football championship. Cory-Rawson has been right
around the .500 mark all season and has a fine player in Daniel Dray.
Take Riverdale over Lima Temple Christian and Cory-Rawson over Pandora
Gilboa in the first round. The Swami likes Arlington over Riverdale and
Cory-Rawson in an upset over Columbus Grove in the finals.
Van Buren and Continental are the top seeds. Last year, unseeded Van
Buren and Leipsic advanced out of O-G. Van Buren went all the way to
the regional championship before Crestview eliminated them. The Black
Knights returned three starters from that team including Blake Tucker
and Marty Baird. Continental had big hopes last year but were one and
done. The Pirates have surprised this year. Kurtis Brown is an
outstanding guard for Continental. North Baltimore is currently
enjoying a seven game winning streak. The Tigers are still in
contention in the MAL. Take Leipsic over McComb and North Baltimore
over Miller City in the first round. Leipsic is in much the same
position as they were a year ago. Continental nips the Vikings in one
final. Van Buren already has a win over North Baltimore. NB is much
improved, but Van Buren prevails in the other final.
Southview: Ottawa Hills and Cardinal Stritch are the top seeds.
The TAAC(y) sectional at a new site. Ottawa Hills has lost only to
Maumee Valley and Pettisville on the road. The Green Bears handed
Danbury their first loss and boast a fine post player in Chris Wilson.
Cardinal Stritch has been a surprise but the Cardinals are not ready to
compete with TAAC powers Danbury and Ottawa Hills. Andrew Boggs has
gone over the 1,000-point mark at Toledo Christian. Maumee Valley has
been inconsistent, but the Hawks have the TAAC's leading scorer in
junior Craig Choka. Monclova Christian is in their second year as an
OHSAA member. Monclova has nineteen boys in the school with twelve
playing basketball. They have four wins so far this year against other
OHSAA members. Take Monclova Christian over Northwood and Toledo
Christian over Maumee Valley in the first round. The Swami likes Ottawa
Hills big over Monclova and Toledo Christian over Stritch in the finals.
Antwerp and Edon are the top seeds. Antwerp is much improved over last
year and is in a battle for the GMC title. Edon caught fire in
mid-January and is chasing Pettisville in the BBC. Mark Smith is Edon's
top player. Hicksville is having another solid season. Edgerton,
Montpelier, and North Central are all scuffling. Take Montpelier over
North Central and Hicksville over Edgerton in the first round. The
Swami likes Antwerp over Montpelier and Hicksville over Edon in the
Pettisville and Holgate are the top seeds. Pettisville only loss was to
Holgate during the holidays. The Blackbirds are currently undefeated in
the BBC. Holgate is always tough at tournament time under Paul Wayne.
The Tigers have won three consecutive district championships. The
Tigers have lost to Napoleon, Archbold, Liberty Center, and Wayne Trace
while playing a very competitive schedule. Stryker has been involved in
a number of close games. Take Stryker over Fayette and Ayersville over
Hilltop in the first round. Stryker upsets Pettisville in one final
while Holgate eliminates Ayersville in the other final.
Colonel Crawford and Hopewell-Loudon are the top seeds. A first time
sectional at the brand new gym in Mount Blanchard. Colonel Crawford
started off strong but appears to have peaked. Junior Jake Hessey is
the Eagles' top player. Hopewell-Loudon appears to be improving as the
season moves along. The Chieftains are coached by former McComb and
Margaretta boss Brad Britton. Somehow, he is also the tournament
manager at the Hopewell-Loudon sectional. That is one busy man. Carey
actually got some votes in the first AP poll of the season before
embarking on a long losing streak. Fostoria St.Wendelin won the
district in '03 but lost a number of players to graduation. Take St.
Wendelin over Arcadia and Carey over Vanlue. The Swami likes Crawford
over FSW and H-L over Carey in the finals.
Hopewell-Loudon: Tiffin Calvert and New Riegel are the top
seeds. Calvert lost ten seniors to graduation and few expected them to
have a real shot at the MAL crown. Adam Maas has been the top player
for the Senecas. New Riegel is another team looking to be a contender
in the MAL. Tyson Depinet leads the Blue Jackets. Mohawk has been
disappointing so far this season. Take Old Fort over Bettsville and
Mohawk over Seneca East in the first round. The Swami likes Calvert
over Old Fort and Mohawk over New Riegel in the finals.
Clinton: Danbury and Sandusky St. Mary are the top seeds. This
is a good sectional. Danbury lost their opener at Gibsonburg and also
lost at Ottawa Hills. The Lakers do not appear to have as many weapons
as a year ago but have an outstanding guard in Jake Fanning. A junior,
Fanning went over 1,000 points earlier this season and should end up
Danbury's all-time leading scorer. Sandusky St. Mary had high
expectations for this season but have been inconsistent. The Panthers
are talented enough to cause some problems. Aaron Kowaleski, the
coach's son, leads the Panthers in scoring. Fremont St. Joseph was
considered the team to beat in the mediocre MAL, but the Streaks got off
to a slow start. St. Joe was a district runner-up in '03 out of
Findlay, and has many of the same players. Norwalk St. Paul is
finishing the season strong. Take St. Joe over South Central and St.
Paul over Monroeville in the first round. The finals should be very
interesting. Take St. Mary over St. Joe and St. Danbury over St. Paul
in the finals.
Mansfield St. Peter and Buckeye Central are the top seeds. Two
top-notch teams at this sectional. Both teams are ranked top 5 in the
current AP poll. St. Peter has lost to Mansfield Senior, Louisville
Aquinas, and Shelby. The Spartans have an outstanding player in Marcus
Butler (committed to Evansville). Buckeye Central spent a week as the
state's top ranked squad. The Bucks have lost to Ontario and Wynford.
Cory Guttenberg is BC's top player. Take Lucas over Crestline and
Plymouth over Mansfield Christian in the first round. The Swami likes
St. Pete over Lucas and Buckeye Central over Plymouth in the finals.
Minster, Marion Local, and Upper Scioto Valley are back again for '04.
Take Minster over Hardin-Northern and Marion Local over Upper Scioto
Valley in semi-final games. Take Minster over Marion Local in the
Take Fort Jennings over Cory-Rawson in the first game. Arlington and
Convoy Crestview meet in the second game in a game worthy of a regional
final. The Knights knock Arlington from the ranks of the undefeated as
Crestview nips the Red Devils. Fort Jennings has a regular season win
over Crestview. The Knights avenge that defeat with a win over Jennings
in the district final.
Liberty-Benton: Continental eliminates Toledo Christian in one
semi-final. Top seeds Van Buren and Ottawa Hills meet in the other
semi-final. Ottawa Hills is the best team to come out of the Toledo
sectional in several years. Van Buren nips the Green Bears at the
buzzer. Continental advances to the regional with a close win over Van
Buren in the district final.
Holgate blew out Antwerp in their regular season meeting. This one is
much closer, but the Swami learned his lesson last year. Always take
Holgate in the district at Napoleon. Holgate over Antwerp. Stryker
slips past Hicksville in the other semi-final. Holgate wins the
district championship with a win over Stryker.
The Swami doesn't think anyone will win this district. Calvert is the
easy choice after they were upset in '03. Colonel Crawford plays in a
stronger league. Swami has a gut feeling about Hopewell-Loudon, but no
idea why he picked Mohawk to even get to the district. Maybe it will be
Carey or New Riegel. Take Crawford over Mohawk in one semi-final.
Hopewell-Loudon nips Calvert in the other semi-final. In the finals,
take Colonel Crawford over Hopewell-Loudon for the district title.
Three of the state's top ten in D4 are at Willard. Top seeds Danbury
and Mansfield St. Peter meet for the second consecutive in a district
semi-final. This year, take the Spartans. The Swami likes Buckeye
Central over Sandusky St. Mary in the other semi-final. In the final,
take Mansfield St. Pete over BC for the trip to the regional.
We really hope that some of you
take the time to read this. See you on the trail. All records are
current as of February 8, 2004. The facts and opinions expressed in
Trail Trash are those of the Swami and may not necessarily be factual or
interesting. Rock on.
Predictions: The Swami
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