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March 11, 2008 - Seth Staskey
After logging many miles in the last couple of weeks for regional hoop action, the season finally comes to a close this weekend with the greatest three days of the year. The OHSAA State Boys Basketball Championship will be held at the Schottenstein Center at The Ohio State University, starting Thursday morning. This field is absolutely loaded. Division II kicks the tournament off and that field is unreal. Toledo Libbey is probably the most talented team in the field and it features William Buford, who's headed to Ohio State. St. Paris Graham, Poland Seminary and Chillicothe make up the rest of the field and Poland and Chillicothe are number one and two in the state and will meet in the semifinals.
In Division I, Lakewood St. Edward could be the story of the season. It lost its best two players -- including Michigan State signee Delvon Roe to injuries -- and low and behold here it is in the Division I state tournament. Cincinnati St. Xavier is my pick for the title. Toledo Whitmer was the last team to punch a ticket, knocking off Timken in the regional final. Newark -- which took out Zanesville and Trotwood Madison -- is the final Division I team.
In Division IV, Bedford St. Peter Chanel is my pick. The Firebirds took out Malvern in the regional final and have played a lot bigger schedule than the average Division IV team should play, including St. Edward, Hoban and St. Vincent-St. Mary to name a few. Worthington Christian will also be a tough out and that's who Chanel will play in the semifinals. The other semifinal pits New Knoxville against Haviland Wayne Trace.
In Division III, Garaway is the sentimental pick, but my knowledge and brain tells me to take Cleveland Villa-Angela St. Joseph. VASJ was in the state final two years ago and was in the state tourney last winter, but failed to bring back the prize. Look for the monkey to get off their back this season. Anna's Rockets can't be taken lightly since they did knock off three-time defending champion Cincinnati North College Hill in the regional tournament.
No matter who wins, it's going to be a great tournament and a great time. If you are heading to the state capital let us know and look us up. We'll be the guy sitting courtside for all 12 encounters. I don't think I will be able to sleep the next few days.
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