Top Ohio basketball players to watch in AAU

Top players in class of 2016 heading into spring and summer leagues.

Top Billing Sports has compiled a list what are considered some of the top senior (class of 2016), junior (2017), and sophomore (2018) prep boys basketball players in Ohio entering AAU play this spring and summer. Players are grouped together by class and are listed in descending order by height from tallest to shortest; players are not ranked in any particular order within their class.

Our annual complete list of top Ohio boys basketball players will be released next November.

[Read more…]

Bennett stars for South in Ohio all-star game

DSC_0338

Baylee Bennett scores 13 points for South squad in Div. III-IV girls game.

COLUMBUS — With little playing time on the court in the last month since the season ended, Baylee Bennett still looked in midseason form in the Ohio North-South Div. III-IV All-Star game on Sunday. Bennett scored 13 points in the game, including 10 in the first half. She also led the team with two assists.

“I didn’t even know I scored that many, but it was a lot of fun,” Bennett said. [Read more…]

Div. I state final: Wayne has little trouble with Westerville South

Travis Trice dribbles

D’Mitrik Trice scores 15 points to help Warriors earn first state basketball title.

COLUMBUS —D’Mitrik Trice made an already special weekend for the Trice family even more special. The senior guard led Wayne with a game-high 19 points to help the Warriors earn a dominating 65-57 win over Westerville South in the Div. I state championship game on Saturday night at Value City Arena.

It’s Wayne’s first state title in basketball and the first basketball title for a school out of the GWOC. [Read more…]

Div. II state final: Defiance beats Cleveland Central Catholic in overtime

DSC_1811

Cleveland Villa Angel-St. Joseph runs away from Lima Central Catholic.

COLUMBUS — The Defiance Bulldogs came alive in the second half to win the Div. II state title over Cleveland Catholic Central in overtime by a score of 49-45. It’s the first state championship in program history.

A wild and crazy finish doomed Central Catholic. With a two-point lead, Antwon Lillard slammed a two-handed dunk with 40 seconds left to stretch the lead to four points. [Read more…]

Tri-Village survives late Harvest Prep run for Div. IV state title

Tri-Village celebrates

Colton Linkous hits game-winning shot for Tri-Village with one second left in the game.

COLUMBUS — Colton Linkous is no Jimmy Chitwood. Linkous didn’t need to convince Tri-Village head coach Josh Sagester to let him take the final shot in the Ohio Division IV state title game on Saturday like Chitwood did in Hoosiers. Sagester knew Linkous would make it.

Linkous hit a jumper from the free-throw line with one second left to earn Tri-Village a 48-46 win over Canal Winchester Harvest Prep and the Div. IV state title. [Read more…]

Div. I state semi: Wayne comes back, beats St. Edward in OT

Trey Landers dribbles

Wayne overcomes four-point fourth quarter deficit to beat St. Edward in overtime.

COLUMBUS — Wayne overcame a nine-point first quarter deficit and a four-point fourth quarter deficit to beat Lakewood St. Edward 57-51 in overtime and earn a trip to the Division I state finals. Wayne will face Westerville South tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. at Value City Arena to decide the Div. I champion.

It didn’t look like Wayne would get to the title game for much of the night on Friday. St. Edward led by four points midway through the fourth quarter, and Wayne struggled from the field in the game. But the Warriors finished the fourth on a 12-8 run to force overtime and outscored the Eagles 6-0 in the extra period to win.  [Read more…]

Div. I regional: Wayne comes back in fourth to beat Springfield

DSC_0849

Wayne goes on 9-0 run in the fourth quarter to take the lead for good against Springfield.

CINCINNATI — Wayne overcame a five-point deficit in the fourth quarter to earn a 67-60 win over Springfield and a trip to the Division I state semifinals. The Warriors went on a 9-0 run in the middle of the fourth to take the lead. Springfield led for most of the second and third quarters before Wayne’s comeback.

Wayne (24-4) advances to the Div. I state semifinals and will face Lakewood St. Edward on Friday at 8:30 p.m. at Value City Arena in Columbus. Lakewood St. Edward beat Lima Senior 50-42 in a regional final on Friday to advance. [Read more…]

Div. IV regional final: Tri-Village beats Marion Local, heads to state

DSC_0503

Damion Cook scores 17, uses last year’s state semifinal loss as motivation.

KETTERING — Tri-Village senior Damion Cook watched a highlight video online of last season’s state semifinal loss to Convoy Crestview on Friday. He wanted to motivate himself for his team’s Division IV regional final game against Marion Local at Trent Arena in Kettering on Friday night. The loss has lurked in the back of Cook’s mind for a year.

“I knew going into tonight that I couldn’t have that feeling again,” Cook said.

The motivation helped Cook prepare for a battle in the paint. Cook, a 6-4 forward, had to guard against Marion Local’s post players: Ryan Bruns (6-7) and Luke Knapke (6-10), a Toledo recruit. [Read more…]

Springfield hopes to recapture last season’s magic against Wayne

DSC_9972

Wayne not worried about playing Wildcats for a third time this season.

CINCINNATI — Wayne beat Springfield by 20 or more points both times the teams played each other in regular season this year. But the Wildcats have won nine-straight games since last playing Wayne, with wins over the likes of La Salle, Moeller and Trotwood in that stretch.

Is Wayne worried about having to play Springfield for a third time this season tomorrow night with a trip to the state semifinals in Columbus on the line?

“No,” junior guard Rodrick Caldwell said. “We’re going to do what Coach (Travis Trice) tells us all the time. We’re just going to play our game, worry about us and take care of business.” [Read more…]