Boys’ Hoops Tourney gets underway on Tuesday

Harding opens the tournament on Wednesday against Akron Springfield.

2016 OHSAA Boys’ Basketball Tournament
Opening Night – February 23 & February 24

Division I: Alliance District
Sectional Semifinal (Wednesday)
#12 Akron Springfield (5-17) at #1 Warren Harding (19-3)
…Since winning multiple post-season games in six consecutive years (2007-2012), the Raiders had won just one throughout the next two (2013-14). However, last year, Harding advanced to the District Final by winning three contests throughout the Solon bracket before falling to Shaker Heights (49-38).

The Spartans lost their last six games of the season.

Winner to play #11 Youngstown East (5-16) in Sectional Final on Saturday

#9 Roosevelt (8-14) at #6 Fitch (16-6)
…Since 2009, Fitch has won just once in the post-season. However, their last two outings in the playoffs have been decided by a combined 7 points.

The Rough Riders finished the season strong by winning six of their last nine. Fitch has not lost since January 22.

Winner to play #4 Louisville (18-4) in Sectional Final on Saturday

#8 Howland (9-13) at #7 Boardman (8-14)
…Last year, Howland ended their three-game post-season losing streak against Cleveland JFK (63-52) in the 2015 Euclid Sectional Semifinal…The Spartans have not won a playoff game since 2012 (def. Louisville 64-60 in Sectional Semifinal).

Both teams have struggled down the stretch as Boardman lost their last three games at home (to Mooney, Salem, and Fitch) while the Tigers have faltered in five of their last six.

2015-16 Meetings
Feb. 5, 2016 – Boardman, 63-50
Jan. 5, 2016 – Howland, 58-57

Winner to play #3 Lake (16-6) in Sectional Final on Saturday

#10 Akron East (4-17) at #2 Copley (22-0)
…Last year, Copley was bounced from the tournament in the opening round by GlenOak (52-47). Akron East was also bumped by eventual Stow District Finalist – CVCA – 70-37 in the Sectional Semifinal.

Out of the Indians’ 22 games this season, they’ve only been involved in four which have been decided by 10 points or less. The East Dragons defeated Ellet, 71-64, on January 8. Since then, they’ve fallen in eight of their last nine outings.

Winner to play #5 Ellet (13-8) in Sectional Final on Saturday

Division II: Boardman District
Sectional Semifinal (Tuesday)
#10 Southeast (7-15) at #6 Girard (13-9)
…Southeast has won one playoff game in five of the last six years. Girard has posted a 4-2 mark in the playoffs over the last two seasons. Those four wins have accounted for a pair of trips to the District Final (D3 Warren).

On January 22, Southeast was 7-7. However, over the last month, they’ve dropped to 7-15 thanks to eight straight losses. Girard has won five of their last six. The Indians hold victories this season against McDonald, LaBrae and Springfield.

Winner to play #1 Canfield (16-6) in Sectional Final on Friday

#11 Hubbard (5-17) at #3 Ursuline (15-7)
…Hubbard pulled off the upset of last year’s district tournament by knocking off another #3 seed (Mooney) – 41-39 – to advance to the District Semifinal. Ursuline has won 19 playoff games within the last five years (3 District Championships).

The Eagles have won three of their last five which included wins over Southeast, Brookfield and a season sweep clinching victory over Lakeview.

Ursuline has posted eight wins over the span of their last ten games.

Winner to play #12 Lakeview (5-17) in Sectional Final on Friday

#8 West Branch (10-12) at #7 Niles (10-12)
…Since 2010, the Warriors have won just one post-season game. Niles has gone the last five years without a playoff win.

Niles snapped a four-game skid last Friday at Campbell (56-52). The Red Dragons are 4-5 in games decided by ten points or less.

The Warriors finished 2015-16 strong by winning their last two (over Lincoln West and at Field).
Winner to play #2 Poland (18-4) in Sectional Final on Friday

#9 Struthers (9-13) at #5 Salem (15-7)
…Struthers has won at least one post-season game in six of the last seven years. In their last playoff meeting, the Wildcats handled Salem (65-46) in the Sectional Final of the 2011 Boardman Tournament. The Quakers have won at least one playoff game in their last five trips to the playoffs.

Since we turned the calendar on January 1, the Quakers have been red-hot by registering a 12-3 mark. Struthers can also state the obvious that they’ve finished the regular season slate strong as well by winning five of their last eight contests.

2015-16 Meeting
Jan. 9, 2016 – Salem, 66-53

Winner to play #4 Cardinal Mooney (14-7) in Sectional Final on Friday

Division III: Salem District
Sectional Semifinal (Tuesday)
#11 Crestview (2-20) at #2 St. Thomas Aquinas (13-8)
…Their last playoff meeting ended with the Knights getting by Crestview, 65-42, in the 2012 Salem District Semifinal. The Rebels haven’t won multiple games in the post-season since the 2003 tournament. Within the last three years, St. Thomas Aquinas advanced to the Regionals three times and lost in the State Finals to Convoy Crestview in 2014. They’ve won 16 playoff games during that stretch.

Since opening the season with a 58-39 over Jackson-Milton, Crestview has lost 20 of their last 21 games. Their only win since the opener was a one-point victory at Heartland Christian (50-49). This season, St. Thomas Aquinas holds a 59-56 win over then #3 Villa Angela on January 22.

Winner to play #10 East Palestine (4-17) in Sectional Final on Friday

#9 Fairless (9-13) at #4 Canton Central Catholic (13-7)
…Before dropping their Regional Semifinal contest to Ursuline last March, Central Catholic had won their second straight district championship…Last year’s Fairless team advanced to the Wooster District Final where they fell to Tuslaw by two points (35-33) as a 7 seed.

When the seeds were decided on February 7 – Fairless was 5-13. Since then, the Falcons have ran off four-straight wins. Central has also won four straight against Zanesville (31-28), Hoover (48-45), Perry (61-54), and Northwest (45-42) all in close fashion.

Winner to play #3 Springfield (18-4) in Sectional Final on Friday

#13 Waterloo (1-21) at #1 Tuslaw (22-0)
…If the Vikings want a rematch with Campbell (Waterloo lost in 2015 Sectional Semifinal, 51-43), they’ll have to get by the top seeded Tuslaw Mustangs. Waterloo is seeking their first trip to the Districts since 2009…Tuslaw won the Wooster District of Division III last year before falling to Villa Angela in the Regional Semifinal.

Waterloo has not won since their December 4 matchup with Heritage Christian (50-45). Tuslaw has won their fair share of close matchups (5-0 by 10-wins or less) and without much resistance (7-0 by 20-points or more).

Winner to play #12 Campbell (1-21) in Sectional Final on Friday

#7 Manchester (8-14) at #6 United (9-13)
…United will attempt to garner their first post-season victory since 2008…Manchester defeated United in the 2010 Salem Sectional Semifinal (62-45).

Manchester has been involved in seven games which have been decided by 10 points or less (3-4). Since January 12, the Panthers have averaged 54.9 per contest. The Golden Eagles finished the year with a 6-4 record since January 12.

Winner to play the winner of Columbiana/South Range in Sectional Final on Friday

#8 Columbiana (8-14) at #5 South Range (14-8)
…South Range has advanced to the Districts twice in the last four years. A feat which hadn’t been accomplished at the school since 2002. Columbiana is looking to reach the Districts for the first time since 2008 (the same year they won the Struthers District Championship over McDonald, 73-67). The Clippers snapped a four-game losing skid with a 83-45 win over Leetonia on Friday, February 12.

The Raiders schedule got more difficult in a hurry with matchups against Lisbon, Springfield, Mooney and LaBrae all within a three-week span to end the regular season.

Columbiana ended their four-game losing streak by defeating Leetonia (83-45) on February 12.

2015-16 Meeting
Dec. 15, 2015 – South Range, 62-40

Winner to play the winner of Manchester/United in Sectional Final on Friday

Division III: Warren District
Sectional Semifinal (Tuesday)
#9 Mineral Ridge (12-10) at #6 Brookfield (8-13)
…Brookfield has won 4 post-season games over the last ten years. The Warriors almost duplicated that figure in one season. In 2005, Brookfield won three games enroute to a District Finalist finish. Ridge is seeking their first trip to the Districts since 2006, the same year they last advanced to the Regionals.

The Rams have won four of their last six since they sat at 8-8. The Warriors stumbled down the stretch from being a team – who had defeated LaBrae and was 6-3 – to a squad who lost their last six outings.

Winner to play #2 LaBrae (17-5) in Sectional Final on Friday

#10 Liberty (4-18) at #5 Garrettsville Garfield (13-9)
…The G-Men have lost each of their last six playoff games dating back to 2009…Last year, the Leopards gave LaBrae all they could handle with a 83-80 overtime scare in the opening round of the Warren District (Sectional Semifinal). Liberty’s last appearance in the Districts was in 2005.

Since knocking off Brookfield on January 22 (57-45), the Leopards have not won since – losing their last nine. The G-Men have won six of their last nine.

Winner to play #4 Champion (16-6) in Sectional Final on Friday

#12 Rootstown (8-14) at #8 Grand Valley (12-10)
…Rootstown defeated Py Valley (63-50) and Champion (68-59) en route to a District Semifinalist finish a year ago. Their run marked the first time in school history since 2011 that the Rovers advanced to the Districts…Grand Valley last advanced to the Districts in 2011.

The Mustangs dropped the NAC title game to Bristol on Saturday (55-39). Prior to that contest, Grand Valley had posted a 7-3 record since January 20. Six of Rootstown’s eight wins have come by 7-points or less.

Winner to play #1 Berkshire (18-4) in Sectional Final on Friday

#11 Cardinal (6-16) at #7 Pymatuning Valley (13-8)
…Pymatuning Valley has won just once in the playoffs over the past five years. That win was against Cardinal in the Sectional Semifinal round of the 2013 Warren District (68-61). Cardinal has won just once in their last six post-season matchups.

The Huskies have dropped their last four while Py Valley has won eight of their last ten.

2015-16 Meeting
Jan. 20, 2016 – Cardinal, 65-64

Winner to play #3 Newton Falls (15-7) in Sectional Final on Friday

Division IV: Struthers District
Sectional Semifinal (Tuesday)
#8 Leetonia (5-17) at #6 Southern (13-9)
…Southern has won one playoff game in three of the last four years. Breaking a five-year skid in 2015, Leetonia got by Lordstown 56-54 in the Struthers’ Sectional Semifinal. Prior to that win, the Bears had last won in the playoffs in 2009. The last time Southern faced Leetonia in the post-season was in 2003 – Southern caged the Bears (59-43) in the Sectional Semifinal.

Leetonia snapped their five-game losing skid by handing Heartland Christian a 54-34 defeat on Thursday (Feb. 18). Outside of their regular season finale loss to Lisbon (56-43), Southern had won five straight including wins over Oak Glen and Wellsville.

2015-16 Meetings
Jan. 22, 2016 – Southern, 62-38
Dec. 11, 2015 – Southern, 55-36

Winner to play #3 Lowellville (17-5) in Sectional Final on Friday

#12 Heritage Christian (4-15) at #2 McDonald (19-3)
…The mighty Blue Devils have won three playoff games in each of their last three trips (2013-15); however, McDonald has not been to the Regionals since 2011. The year, they won their first Regional playoff game in school history (over Richmond Heights, 54-52).

Over the course of McDonald’s last five home games, the Blue Devils have posted an average of 94.4 points scored. In the Conquerors’ last seven road games, they’ve been able to muster just an average of 54.1 points.

Winner to play #10 East Canton (2-20) in Sectional Final on Friday

#13 Jackson-Milton (0-22) at #1 Lisbon (21-1)
…Jackson-Milton has won just once in the playoffs over the last twelve years. Over the past two seasons, Lisbon has won five playoff games including back-to-back trips to the Districts while playing in Division III Salem.

The Blue Jays’ have been able to permit 79.4 points to their opposition in ten road contests this season. Lisbon has been able to average 73.2 points at home this season.

2015-16 Meeting
Jan. 5, 2016 – Lisbon, 85-38

Winner to play #11 Heartland Christian (5-16) in Sectional Final on Friday

#7 Western Reserve (8-14) at #5 Sebring (13-8)
…Sebring has advanced to the Districts just once (2012) over the past ten years. Western Reserve has gone through a stretch without making a trip to the second week of the tournament (District round). The Blue Devils last advanced in 2007.

The Trojans have recorded a 7-4 mark since January 19. The Devils have dropped five of their last six contests.

2015-16 Meetings
Jan. 29, 2016 – Sebring, 67-61
Dec. 18, 2015 – Sebring, 64-62

Winner to play the winner of Valley Christian/Wellsville in Sectional Final on Friday

#9 Valley Christian (4-15) at #4 Wellsville (17-5)
…Since the 2013 run to the Regional Finals, the Eagles have been outscored by a combined score of 145-65 in the playoffs. Valley Christian got by Wellsville in the District Championship game in 2013 (75-73). The Tigers have won at least one playoff game in each of the last six years.

The Eagles have won two of their last three. Wellsville has posted victories in six of their last seven games.

Winner to play the winner of Western Reserve/Sebring in Sectional Final on Friday

Division IV: Orwell District
Sectional Semifinal (Tuesday)
#12 Newbury (5-16) at #2 Cornerstone Christian (9-12)
…Last year, these two schools met in the Sectional Final with the Patriots coming away with a 85-24 victory. Cornerstone has won 7 playoff games in the last two seasons. Newbury, on the other hand, has not won a post-season matchup since 2011. The Black Knights have been outscored by their opposition in the post-season over their last four games by an average of 51 points.

Former Niles & Youngstown State cager Dan Jones leads his Newbury team after falling in five of their last six outings. Cornerstone holds wins over Painesville Harvey (74-69), University School (66-61), and Twinsburg (64-59) this season.

Winner to play #13 Bloomfield (2-16) in Sectional Final on Friday

#8 Lordstown (7-14) at #4 Maplewood (12-10)
…The Red Devils last played in the Districts in 2007 (where they lost to Maplewood). The Rockets have advanced to the Districts in five of the last six years including a District crown (2010).

Lordstown finished the season with five-straight losses. Maplewood, on the other hand, won their last two since falling in three of their previous four.

2015-16 Meetings
Feb. 6, 2016 – Maplewood, 59-35
Jan. 19, 2016 – Maplewood, 54-49

Winner to play #3 Mathews (15-6) in Sectional Final on Friday

#11 Fairport Harding (3-18) at #1 Bristol (20-2)
…Since their last trip to the Regionals in 2003, the Panthers have posted a 10-12 record in the post-season. The Skippers had posted a 4-3 mark in the playoffs from 2012-14. However, last year, Fairport took an early exit as they fell to Cornerstone – 84-39.

Bristol made it official Saturday night with their win over Grand Valley in the NAC Championship matchup (55-39). The Panthers did not lose to a Division IV opponent all year and won 17 of their final 18 games. Fairport has lost their last fourteen games. Their last win came against Conneaut at home (57-50), three days prior to Christmas.

Winner to play #9 Windham (6-15) in the Sectional Final on Friday

#7 Ashtabula St. John (14-8) at #6 Southington (12-9)
…In their last playoff meeting (2005), The Fighting Heralds got by Southington – 57-46. Last year, Southington snapped their six-year playoff losing streak as they defeated Windham (59-40) in the Sectional Semifinal. Their last win (prior) came in 2008.

St. John won their last two contests of the season against Bloomfield (78-25) and Fairport Harding (48-47). The Wilcats won their last three including a pair on the road at Newbury (62-32) and Badger (70-50) and the finale at home over Lordstown (64-48).

Winner to play the winner of Badger/Warren JFK in the Sectional Final on Friday

#10 Badger (6-16) at #5 Warren JFK (7-14)
…Another rematch from last year, Badger got by St. John (48-40) while JFK cruised past Ledgemont (99-34) to set up their Sectional Final showdown. The Eagles rolled by the Braves, 87-36, enroute to a District title. Badger is seeking their first trip to the Districts since 2005. JFK has posted a 12-5 mark in the post-season over the last five years including one District title (2015).

Winner to play the winner of St. John/Southington in Sectional Final on Friday

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