On Tuesday night, the OHSAA Boys Basketball Tournament got rolling throughout the Northwest Ohio region. In Toledo at Bowsher High School, a pair of Division II Sectional Semifinals took place. The first game featured Port Clinton vs. Maumee, and in the end it would be Port Clinton who would escape with a 39-37 win, to advance to a Sectional Final on Friday evening against Clyde. Here is who stood out in this first game:
2023 F Adam Thorbahn (Port Clinton) – in a tough, gritty, grind it out kind of game, it was Thorbahn who stood out, and stood up for his team on this night. Was very active throughout, mainly in the paint, on both ends of the floor. Showed the ability to finish around the rim, score through contact, and do so with urgency. Has good strength, making him tough to handle, especially down on the low block. Rebounds the ball well, gets the ball up the floor, and isn’t afraid to get physical defensively. Finished with a game-high 16 points in the win for his team, making many key plays down the stretch to allow them to advance.
2022 F Cole Graetz (Maumee) – in what would ultimately be his final high school game, Graetz went out battling, and providing tremendous hustle and energy. Has good hands, uses his body well while primarily playing against bigger opponents in the post. Deceptively athletic, plays hard, isn’t afraid to get on the floor for lose balls. Was a key piece in the continued improvement for the Maumee basketball program.
Others who stood out: Kyle Arndt (Maumee), Tyler Webb (Port Clinton).
In the second game of the night at Bowsher High School, Fostoria vs. Scott took to the floor in a game that promised to be competitive and highly contested. The game was very much a back and forth affair, especially in the second half, with Fostoria ultimately making plays down the stretch, and riding their senior leader to a 46-44 win over Scott; they advance to a Sectional Final against Toledo Central Catholic on Friday night. Here is who stood out in this one:
2022 G/F Lakai Robinson (Fostoria) – one thing that makes tournament time so special is the opportunity for young fellas to make a name for themselves (if they haven’t done so already), and Robinson did exactly that with a bit of a coming out party in this game. The 6’5″ long, athletic wing delivered time and time again for his team in critical moments. Converted nearly every opportunity he got around the rim, many times doing so with creativity and flash. Has a pretty good handle, and displayed as much in multiple coast to coast buckets here. Capable of knocking down shots from the outside, but spent most of his time getting into the paint. Robinson is quick, and has plenty of bounce. Contested and rejected numerous shots at the basket from opponents, fought for rebounds, and was strong with the basketball. Should seriously be on the radar of area JUCO programs, the cliché applies here, in that he has a very ‘high ceiling.’
2023 G/F Romel Hightower (Scott) – While it was the aforementioned Robinson that stole the show in many ways, Hightower may have had himself just as impactful of a night for his team. Finishing with a tough, and hard-earned 19 points, Hightower battled on the glass all night, on both ends of the floor. Got multiple easy buckets off of offensive rebounds, finished through contact, and brought consistent effort that was nice to see. Handled the ball well, can create for himself or others off of the dribble. A well known talent in the area for quite some time, he has a chance to have a big spring/summer on the AAU circuit, and should be considered a front-runner for City League Player of the Year in Toledo next season.
2024 G Machi Johnson (Fostoria) – the ‘Robin’ to his teammate Robinson’s ‘Batman’ in this game, Johnson displayed game, and skill of a promising young college prospect. Has solid size from the backcourt standing around 6′, he has a mature frame, and mature composure to go with it. Solid with the ball in his hands, he can be a load offensively on straight-line drives getting to the cup. Can score with creativity, and uses his offhand well. Sees the floor, makes good decisions, and plays with some swagger. Has patience, and plays a poised brand of ball for his age. Offered a lot to like on this night, and is certainly a name to remember going forward.
Others who stood out: Jordan Ferguson (Fostoria), Daryl Barnett (Scott).