The OVAC's run of championship events started more than a month ago with the wrestling tournament.
Today, the final winter sports champions are crowned and from my perspective - with all due respect to the schools not playing at Ohio University Eastern today - it couldn't have worked out better when you consider all of the factors.
On today's five games, four are between teams which haven't seen played each other.
Only the 1A game, this morning, is a rematch.
Heck, Indian Creek and Park haven't played since 1998, so this format is working in that regard.
Granted, St. Clairsville and East Liverpool could meet in the district title game, but, without this style of event, there's no chance to ever see Fort Frye against Magnolia or even River against Linsly.
With the new games, there's excitement and the coaches have to put time and energy into preparation and tracking down information on their new opponents.
In every division - except 5A - you've got the top two seeds, meaning you've got a legitimate title game between the teams that have been battling it out on top of the standings all season.
And with that comes what should be good crowds. Some of the girls' crowds left a little to be desired, but I think today's crowds at OU-Eastern will be sizable and loud. Atmosphere adds so much to basketball. I'd actually like to see the OVAC invite pep bands to come and participate.
Above all, the weather looks good for today. Temperatures are supposed to reach the upper 40s, meaning, unlike last week's girls' tournament, there will be no travel issues for teams, fans or anyone else.
I realize the Cancer Research Classic is a nationally known and recognized event, but the crowds that came out for those games shows me there are some basketball junkies in the Ohio Valley. These are Ohio Valley kids battling it out today for a championship and it would be great to see OUE jammed all day.
THE ST. Clairsville Junior High Tournament has been one of the area's premier seventh and eighth grade post-season events for the past 49 years. The 50th annual version of the event - scheduled for Februrary of 2013 - has been re-named the Al Glitch St. Clairsville Junior High Basketball Tournament. Glitch actually played in the very first St. C. Junior High Tournament as a seventh grader at Bridgeport High School in 1964. As an educator at St. C. for 32 years, Glitch was the director for 30 years and has remained active as the tournament's public address announcer and spearheads at the bracket and seed meeting. Glitch was surprised with the honor during the Red Devils' OVAC semifinal game against Steubenville. He was presented with a ceremonial basketball and the first commemorative t-shirt from the event.
If you think you've got a lot on your docket today, you probably don't come close to Fort Frye head coach Dan Liedtke.
The veteran basketball coach will lead his team in two games today. No, the Cadet boys aren't playing a doubleheader. Liedtke is the coach of the Cadets' boys and girls' teams.
At 3 p.m., he'll guide the Fort Frye boys against Magnolia in the OVAC Championship Game. So, about 90 minute, or so, later, he'll hop back on the bus and head to Cambridge.
At 8 p.m., his girls' team will tangle with St. Clairsville in a Division III sectional semifinal.
According to Liedtke, his original plan was to bring the boys and girls' team on the same bus to St. Clairsville for the OVAC Tournament.
After the game, the boys would have the option to go home with their parents and the girls would then bus to Guernsey County for their game.
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