DIV District Semifinals – Wapakoneta Recap

On Tuesday night a pair of Division IV District Semifinals was hosted by Wapakoneta High School. The first game featured St. Henry going up against Marion Local in a meeting of familiar conference foes. While it took a little time for the offenses to get going, Marion Local would have too much size, and too many athletes for St. Henry, taking the first game of the night by a final score of 56-43. Here is who stood out in this one:

2024 C Jack Knapke (Marion Local) – Following in the foot steps of brother Luke, who starred at the University of Toledo, Jack certainly has a bright future of his own. Standing around 6’8″ with a thick, strong build, Knapke bullied anyone who was thrown his way on Tuesday night down low. Runs the floor well, and is active on the glass on both ends. Scores it consistently, and cleans up around the rim on offense. Will need to continue to develop an array of moves on the low block, and improve his footwork, but the young big man has to be considered one of the top post prospects in Ohio in his class. Plays with passion, can be a vocal leader, and was far and away the best player on the floor. Makes his presence felt defensively with his strength, and ability to contest shots. Finished with a game-high 23 points on this night.

2022 PG Brady Ronnebaum (Marion Local) – smart and skilled lead guard, who does a nice job of managing the floor for his team. Picks his spots to score it, but makes sure to get teammates involved. Capable of pushing the pace in transition, he also does a sound job of being solid with the basketball and valuing possessions. Competes, plays quick, but not in a hurry. Brings activity to the defensive side of the floor. Key piece to their success thus far.

Others who stood out: Seth Heitkamp (St. Henry), Bennett Gels (St. Henry), Tate Hess (Marion Local).

In the second game of the night, Lima Perry matched up with Spencerville in a game that promised to bring intensity to the floor, and that it did. Spencerville would take an advantage early in this one with shot-making, and energy, but Perry would make their runs to get themselves back in this one when it counted. Just as Perry would get close in the final quarter, Spencerville would come right back led by stellar play from their standout junior backcourt, ultimately sealing the game, and advancing 50-43, to face Marion Local in the District Final. Here is who stood out:

2023 G Dylan Smith (Spencerville) – he may not look the part, but Smith can really go, and had his fingerprints all over this game. He is an extension of his coach on offense, understanding what they want to do, and making good decisions. Has a good handle, capable of beating pressure off the dribble. Smith is quick, and doesn’t require much space to get to the rim where he does the bulk of his damage. High energy, steady, and trusts his teammates. Made big plays as needed, finishing with 20 points in the win on this night. Doesn’t do anything to ‘wow’ you, but there is no denying he can play.

2023 G Josh Henline (Spencerville) – had a defender draped over him all night long, but managed to not let the frustration get to him, and still contributed in a major way. Pretty polished and skilled as a prospect, Henline does a lot of the little things to impact winning. Has a smooth demeanor, confident, and is a fun watch on the court. Really gets after it defensively, moves his feet, and puts pressure on the ball. Shoots it well from the outside with a nice looking shot, and doesn’t get deterred if it’s not his night offensively, as was the case tonight. Will be interesting to see what attention he can garner on the AAU circuit this spring and summer, but for now is a key reason his team continues to find success.

2022 G/F Ryan Yingst (Lima Perry) – brought fire and tenacity to the court for his team when they really struggled to find that, especially early on. Isn’t afraid to be physical, and doesn’t back down from opponents regardless of what end of the floor it’s on. Scored it well around the basket, and made his presence felt in transition. Signed to play baseball at Tiffin University in the future, but left it all on the floor in his final game on the basketball court.

Others who stood out: Terry Riley (Lima Perry), Bubby Knight (Lima Perry), Carter Sudhoff (Spencerville).

DII Sectional Finals – Ada District Recap

On Friday night, Lima Senior High School played host to a pair of DII Sectional Finals in the Ada District. In the first game of the night, Celina and St. Marys Memorial added another chapter to their rivalry game (having just played a few days prior in the regular season). While Celina would show some fight and grit, St. Marys would take full control of this one, and come away with a 52-28 win. With the win they advance to the District Semifinals at Ohio Northern University, with a date against the winner of the night’s next game. Here is who stood out in this one:

2023 C Austin Parks (St. Marys Memorial) – having seen the recent Ohio State commit about two months prior, it is quite remarkable to see how his game continues to develop at quite a high rate. Parks was a load in the paint on both ends of the floor, and must be accounted for on nearly every possession. Was very active on both the offensive and defensive glass, throwing his size and strength around to corral rebounds. Capable of finishing at the rim through contact, and with greater consistency when he has the chance. Not at all afraid to bring physicality to the floor, the big man is truly a force when he’s on the court. Displayed the ability to consistently knock down shots in the mid-range, adding another wrinkle to his already growing game. Really impresses with his ability to see the floor, and pass the basketball, making him a real threat with the ball in his hands. Finished with an 18 point, 10 rebound, and 5 assist performance in the Sectional Final win on this night. Looks the part of a national Top 150 recruit.

2024 G/F Evan Angstmann (St. Marys Memorial) – his season probably has been overshadowed by the aforementioned Parks, but he also has a bright future in the game if he wants it. Equipped with good height already around 6’5″, he has the length and ability to cause problems for opponents in more ways than one. He can really shoot it from the outside, capitalizing on most open looks that he gets, but can also slash to the rim and make plays in that area as well. Does a lot of the little things well, and doesn’t shy away from the moment. Seems to really just be scratching the surface on his potential, someone you should be hearing more about in the future.

Others who stood out: Josh Rasawehr (Celina), Braylon Gabes (Celina).

In the second Sectional Final of the night, Van Wert and Wauseon would take the floor, with the winner advancing to a District Semifinal date next week with St. Marys Memorial. It would be Wauseon who would take control early, but relinquish their lead late to Van Wert who would force overtime. In the extra period, Wauseon would make enough plays down the stretch to come away with the win, 56-53, keeping their season alive. Here is who stood out in this one:

2022 G Jonas Tester (Wauseon) – the undeniable best player on the floor in this game, Tester took control early, virtually stuffing the stat sheet for his team in the process. The senior was very active, making his presence felt everywhere on the floor. Savvy and quick in his ability to get to the basket offensively, he also has a very smooth mid-range game to go with it. Can handle the ball well, and do so in pressure situations. Gets teammates involved, keeps the ball moving, and has good basketball smarts. Was isolated on the low block on offense on numerous occasions, winning those matchups, and came through with timely buckets down the stretch when his team needed them most. Leads by example, and made it clear with his play that his time in high school basketball wouldn’t be ending on this night. A high-quality small school college prospect at the next level.

2023 G/F Aidan Pratt (Van Wert) – one of the best athletes in the Western Buckeye League, Pratt had that on full display on Friday night. He has good size and length, and has a solid inside-out game offensively. Impressed with his ability to get on the defensive glass and push the ball up the floor in transition, doing so on multiple occasions aiding his team in their comeback efforts. Just as he does as the QB on the football team, he saw the floor well here and made plays getting teammates involved. Brings a competitive edge, and confidence to the court. Saw his season end on this night, but will be back next year. Will have the chance to play football at the next level, but otherwise could probably do so for his ability on the basketball floor as well.

Others who stood out: Garett Gunter (Van Wert), Landon Hines (Wauseon).

DII Sectional Semifinals – Millbury District Recap

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).

Elmwood Fends Off McComb On Home Floor

On Tuesday night McComb made the short trip north to Elmwood High School for a non-conference evening contest. After a slow start and an early edge by McComb, it would be Elmwood who would take control and ride their standout senior to a 71-64 win. Here is who stood out in this one:

2022 G/F Bryce Reynolds (Elmwood) – After a bit of a cold start, maybe forcing the issue a bit, Reynolds got comfortable, and put on a show on his way to a 36 point outing, while becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer in the process. He has good size around 6’4″ and a good strong frame that allows him to score through contact, doing so in this one with creativity. Possesses a nice stroke from three point territory, and was able to get to the rim at-will; a true scorer of the basketball at all three levels. Knows his role, is heavily relied upon, but handles the duties well, doing so effectively and efficiently. Plays with determination, and is consistent with his effort on the floor. Uses his size well on defense, has active hands, gets in passing lanes, contests shots around the rim, and moves pretty well. One of the top available seniors in Northwest Ohio, and it showed on this night in front of multiple small college coaches in attendance.

2024 PG Kade Lentz (Elmwood) – A young backcourt prospect who looks to really just be scratching the surface on his potential, Lentz brings a lot to like to the floor combined with his youth. His size, around 6’2″ stands out, and he has a nice skill set to go with it. Sees the floor well, takes ownership offensively getting into sets, and plays with poise. Capable of knocking down the three ball, he can get to the rim off of the bounce as well. Could look to score the ball more in the future, and should be asked to do so. Has good quickness, and uses it on both ends of the floor. Scrappy on defense, competes, and capable of creating turnovers. Will only continue to grow and develop, and is most certainly a name to remember in the years to come.

2023 G/F Camden Glaser (McComb) – Played an admirable night of basketball on Tuesday, consistent with his effort, and didn’t get deterred. Quietly led his team in scoring, and many times did so earning extra opportunities around the rim, and being active in the paint. Deceptively athletic, he has fun on the floor, and was a key reason his team was in this game at the end.

Others who stood out: Kaden Sherick (McComb), Brady Ziegler (Elmwood).

Defiance Picks Up Win On The Road

Defiance traveled to Lima Bath on Friday night in a game between two Western Buckeye League foes, with each team entering this one on respective winning streaks. After a slow start and some cold shooting by either side, Defiance would take control early, and earn a road win by a final score of 40-28. Here is who stood out:

2023 G Bradyn Shaw (Defiance) – One of the more underappreciated talents in Northwest Ohio, Shaw brings a lot of good stuff to the floor, and does so consistently. Can play off the ball, but primarily runs the point guard position and does so admirably. Really sees the floor well, always with his head up, and sets the table for his teammates. Has good size at 6′ and a broad physical build. Could be more assertive in looking to score the ball, but didn’t need to on this night, running their stuff efficiently and effectively. Tough to stop once he gets going downhill off the dribble, he is a capable scorer on the perimeter as well. Was perhaps most impressive defensively on this night, getting down in a stance, moving his feet, and shutting down whoever he was assigned. Fun to watch, competitive, and is a winner. Would be a nice get for a small school college down the road.

2023 F Cayden Zachrich (Defiance) – Like his aforementioned teammate, Zachrich is deserving of attention for his ability and skill set on the floor. Standing around 6’5″, he can be effective offensively with his back to the basket, on the perimeter, and creating shots off the dribble. Has a pretty good handle considering his size and position, he uses his body well to shield off opponents. Excels as a passer, smart, brings great effort, and has fun playing the game. Fundamentally sound defensively, he talks on the floor, and leaves his mark on the glass. Won’t necessarily ‘wow’ you, but has an old-school feel to his game and produces. Combined with the previously mentioned Shaw, the duo has to be considered one of the better tandems in Northwest Ohio.

Others who stood out: Drake Craddock (Lima Bath), David Jimenez (Defiance), Britton Hall (Lima Bath).

New Video: McKane Finkenbine Will Get You Buckets

2022 G McKane Finkenbine of Anna High School is one of the more underrated prospects in West Central Ohio, as he sees the floor, moves the basketball, and can score it as well as anyone around. While his team hasn’t had quite the success they’d like to see, they are never out of it with him in the lineup. A sure small school college prospect, Finkenbine has interest from numerous college programs, and that should only grow as we get deeper into the season. The above video are game highlights from their recent close loss to Fort Loramie.