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.

Lima Senior and Central Catholic Square Off

Recently state-ranked Toledo Central Catholic traveled south to Lima Senior High school on Friday night, as the top two programs in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference standings went at it. The game promised plenty of talent, and some high-intensity moments, and this one did not disappoint. Lima Senior would defend home court, and defeat Central Catholic 70-56; here is who stood out:

2025 G Makhi Leach (Toledo Central Catholic) – its certainly still pretty early in the season, but any list of the top freshman in Northwest Ohio, and probably even the state should have Leach’s name on it. Came off the bench for his team on this night, and provided immediate energy and was ready to play. Was composed, confident, and has a maturity to his game already. Led his team with 16 points, on a night when offense was a little harder to come by. Has solid strength and size already from the guard position, able to get to the rim, and knocked down threes from the outside with consistency. Doesn’t shy away from competing on the defensive side of the floor, rebounds well from his position, and is strong with the ball in his hands. Really impressive showing from him, and definitely has the makings of a D1 talent going forward.

2022 G/F Brent Moss (Lima Senior) – having already been mentioned in a previous article from this season, we’ll keep his evaluation from this night short and sweet. Led all scorers with 24 points, scored it from all three levels, and really battled on the glass. Provided great effort throughout the night on both ends of the floor, long and athletic, his presence was felt on nearly every trip. One of the breakout players this season in Northwest Ohio.

2023 G Chico Johnson (Toledo Central Catholic) – one of the premier talents of Northwest Ohio, Johnson struggled a bit on this night to get going, in large part due to being in foul trouble. Although this was the case, the talent is still very easy to see from Johnson. Has a smooth feel to his game, able to get to his spots, and has good size to go with it. Effort and competitiveness never wavered, even with the foul struggles. High IQ, doesn’t force things when it would sometimes be easy to do so, gets teammates involved. Has a really pretty stroke and great lift on his jump shot, and will make you pay if he’s not accounted for defensively. Crafty around the rim, has a good handle, and is pretty polished as a prospect already. Holds numerous offers from MAC programs, with more to certainly join the list. Finished with 14 points.

2025 F Jagger Hutchins (Lima Senior) – another freshman that left his mark on this game, Hutchins provided a nice lift off the bench, and knocked down some big shots, in key moments for his team. Has a nice frame standing around 6’5″, has a good feel for things, and is strong with the ball. Doesn’t turn the ball over, plays with poise, plays within himself, and clearly has earned the trust of his upperclassman teammates. Creates matchup problems, and stretches the floor with his ability to shoot it from three. Has a chance to be one of the next big prospects out of the Lima area with continued growth and development.

2024 G Isaiah Brenneman (Toledo Central Catholic) – provided instant offense off the bench for his team when they needed it, especially early on in the ballgame. Utilizes his strength to get the rim, and can finish through contact. Confident in his abilities, likes to compete, and really solid defensively. One of the nice, young prospects in the area. Would start for most teams, a big time asset off the bench, knows and embraces his role.

Others who stood out: Khalil Luster (Lima Senior), Michael Greenlee (Toledo Central Catholic), Anthony Mosley (Lima Senior), Camren Miles (Lima Senior), Micah Thames (Toledo Central Catholic).

New Video: Austin Parks Is One Of Ohio’s Top Prospects

2023 C/PF Austin Parks of St. Marys High School is one of the top prospects in Northwest Ohio, and one of the better in the entire state, yet doesn’t get publicized or garner perhaps as much attention as others do. He recently put together a complete showing in his team’s narrow loss to Spencerville, and although it was a loss, his development and high ceiling are very easy to see. According to many national media outlets, Parks is regarded as a Top 150 prospect in the country, yet that development has quietly come about. Highlights from the recent game at Spencerville are above.

Spencerville Takes Down St. Marys

On Tuesday early evening, St. Marys traveled the dozen or so miles north to Spencerville, for a contest between two talented teams, from two high-quality leagues. In this one, it would be Spencerville who would hold the lead for most of the night, only to give it up, and then regain it, ultimately defeating St. Marys by a final score of 57-54. Here is who stood out:

2023 C/PF Austin Parks (St. Marys) – the big man who has gained national attention in recent months, and attracted multiple suitors from numerous Midwest college basketball powers, showed why both of those things have come to fruition. Looking more comfortable than our last time seeing him, Parks did all the things you’d expect from a prospect of his stature and potential. Plays calm, collected, and under-control, with the opposition nearly always centered around him. Used his size and strength in the low post, backing down opponents, kicking the ball out to teammates, re-posting, and finishing around the rim. Flashed some quickness down low, converted multiple dunks, and has a soft touch. Able to handle the ball, capable of knocking down jump shots, but knows he’s at his best in the paint. Altered, and blocked numerous shots on the defensive side of the floor, operated well in space, fought for rebounds, and embraces physicality. Led all scorers with 22 points, and the growth over the past year for him is evident.

2023 G Josh Henline (Spencerville) – one of the most under-the-radar prospects in the greater Lima area, Henline is the total package from the guard position. Clearly the leader of his team, his communication, encouragement, and organization of his teammates on the floor is special. Can play either with the ball in his hands, or off the ball. Runs the floor well, and can really take advantage of break opportunities on offense. Shoots the ball really well from the perimeter, willing to work to get his shots. Doesn’t force things, is heady, and embraces his role. Plays the game with a sense of joy, which is refreshing. Gets down in a stance on defense, has active hands, can move his feet, and makes opponents work. Values winning, had 13 points in the win on this night; big fan of his.

2023 G Dylan Smith (Spencerville) – like his aforementioned backcourt counterpart, Smith can play either guard position and do so more than adequately. Savvy with the ball in his hands, Smith is quick, nimble, and hard to contain off the dribble. He moves well without the basketball, and can score it in numerous ways. Plays hard, makes winning plays, and brings consistent effort and focus. Locks in on defense, keeps his man in front of him, and always aware of what’s happening out on the floor. Led his team in their win with 16 points.

2024 G/F Evan Angstmann (St. Marys) – has a long, slender frame around 6’5″, finished with a quiet 18 points in the losing effort in this one. Always seems to find his way around the ball. Finishes with creativity and through contact around the rim, able to play primarily out on the perimeter and on in. Shoots the three well from the outside, stretches the floor with his ability to do so. His length allows him to be effective on the defensive side of the floor, contests shots, rebounds his area, and runs the floor well. Will be interesting to see how he progresses in the coming months.

Dunbar Embarrasses Rogers In Coach Q Kewpee Holiday Classic

On Saturday and Sunday, the annual Coach Q Kewpee Holiday Classic is taking place at Lima Senior High School. In the first boys game of the day on Saturday, Dayton Dunbar and Toledo Rogers squared off. From the opening tip Dunbar overwhelmed Rogers in nearly every way imaginable, and rolled to a 66-17 win. While there wasn’t a whole lot to be excited about in this one, here is who stood out:

2023 G Antaune Allen (Dunbar) – easily the best talent on the floor, and one of the best prospects we’re seen yet in this short season, Allen has the makings to be something special in the future. Has solid size around 6’2″, he is a skilled combo guard that can do it all. Plays with great effort, leadership, and communication. Displayed the ability to score it efficiently at all three levels, has a tight handle, and gets others involved. A high-level teammate, encouraging others on the floor, and from the bench; has fun playing the game, and lets his play do the talking. Good athlete, with burst, and speed. Was playing at a completely different level than everyone else in this one. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him land at the D1 level with a low to mid-major program down the road.

2022 PG Andre Clark (Rogers) – while there was a lot that went wrong for his team, Clark stuck with it, and never seemed deterred by the score in this one. Capable of driving to the basket with either hand, he puts pressure on the defensive with his ability to get into the paint. Doesn’t force things, and played with a maturity in this game. Not afraid to defend and be scrappy on the defensive side of the floor. Will play a key role in his team’s success in the City League this season.

Others who stood out: Hollis Terrell (Dunbar), BJ Hatcher (Dunbar), Joshua Jacobs (Rogers).

Lima Shawnee Takes Care Of Celina

On Friday night, Lima Shawnee traveled to Celina for a Western Buckeye League matchup. While things were kept close for much of the first half, Shawnee’s defensive pressure and transition offense proved to be too much for Celina; Lima Shawnee would leave with a 63-28 victory. Here is who stood out:

2023 G/F Austin Miller (Lima Shawnee) – Played a key part in their success last season as a sophomore, but has taken a step forward with his development, and looks to be one of the breakout prospects in the area this season. Has good length, energy, and activity on both ends of the floor, that make him a tough cover for opponents. Always seems to find his way around the basketball, makes plays, and is consistent in doing so. Can shoot it from the outside off of the catch, but is more effective slashing to the bucket, and being active around the rim. Has a growing feel for the game, smooth in most of what he does, and doesn’t do anything to deter him team. A name you should hear more about as the season progresses.

2022 PG Brady Wheeler (Lima Shawnee) – One of the top PG’s around, Wheeler showed his stuff as the ‘Robin’ to George Mangas’ ‘Batman’ last season. Tough, gritty, and brings a swagger to the floor. Takes his assignment personal, is an asset defensively, and is an extension of his coach. Can shoot it well from the perimeter, gets separation off the dribble to create shots for himself and others. Has a high degree of court vision, a tight handle, and is capable of getting to his spots on the floor. Quick, and deceptively explosive getting to the rim. There is no doubt Wheeler is the one who makes this team go, and is one of the top competitors you’ll find in the area.

2022 C/PF Josh Rasawehr (Celina) – Rasawehr has something that has become a bit of a commodity in the area, and that’s size. The big man continues to grow on the floor in his game and confidence. Displayed the ability to score it on the low block, going over either shoulder. Able to step out, and knock down shots from mid-range with consistency. Rebounds his area well and with strength. Sees the floor well from the paint, able to find teammates. Needs to finish around the rim with more consistency, but had a solid outing on this night despite the loss.

2023 G Toby Freiberger (Lima Shawnee) – Isn’t the most flashy, and won’t be the headliner for this team, but there is no doubt he is a key part of his team’s success. Had 5 assists on this night, being able to find teammates in creative ways. The lefty can score it effectively at the rim, and on out to the perimeter. Steady, and solid with the basketball in his hands. Brings a joy and competitiveness to the floor, which makes him a fun watch throughout the course of a game.

Others who stood out: Ja’Mari Johnson (Lima Shawnee), Braylon Gabes (Celina).

Cardinal Stritch Earns Road Win At Scott

On Tuesday night, Cardinal Stritch made the trip to the Ben Williams Fieldhouse at Scott High School for a game featuring two teams that had gotten off to good starts in the young season. While it wasn’t always pretty, Cardinal Stritch would use a big third quarter and complimentary basketball to get a road win defeating Scott 48-42. Here is who stood out:

2023 PG Christian Burton (Cardinal Stritch) – Burton was the best player on the floor on this night, using his leadership and stability to aid in his team’s winning effort. A quick, heady point guard, Burton is someone you can trust to make good decisions with the basketball, steady your offense, and provide instruction out on the floor. Gets after it defensively, and is active to create turnovers. Does a nice job keeping his head up, and pushing the ball up the floor in transition. Is crafty and precise in his ability to deliver the ball to teammates in places they can score it. Really solid outing from him on this night.

2023 F Hezekiah Ray (Scott) – Has nice size out on the wing, and brings effort and intensity to his team. Able to knock down shots from the outside, but is most effective being active from 15 feet and in. Development from last year to now is evident, and should only continue. A name to know the next two seasons in the City League.

2023 PF Kam Hughes (Cardinal Stritch) – At a sturdy 6’4″ Hughes was a load in the paint for the opposition, using his strength and body to corral rebounds and finish around the rim. Was able to get to some nice moves on the low block, he doesn’t force things, and knows a good look when he gets one. Has pretty good hands, runs the floor well, and doesn’t get deterred easily. Anchors things down low defensively, and is strong with the ball. Finished with an efficient and timely 8 points on Tuesday.

2023 G/F Romel Hightower (Scott) – Possesses a solid frame, and looks the part of a prospect at the next level. The lefty can shoot it well from the perimeter, and find his spots off the dribble. Brings good athleticism and fluidity from the wing. Willing defender, he has a nice skill set that should continue to grow. Consistent effort and a ‘next play’ mentality will allow him to continue to blossom into the well-known prospect he is for his class in Northwest Ohio. Led all scorers with 13 points for his team in the loss.

Others who stood out: Daryl Barnett (Scott), Owen Yost (Cardinal Stritch), Owen Carter (Cardinal Stritch), Isaiah Beauchamp (Scott), Breon Hicks (Cardinal Stritch).

Edison State CC Holds Off Clark State CC

On Wednesday night, Clark State traveled to Edison State in a battle of Ohio Community Colleges. Junior college basketball in Ohio has taken a blow as of late, due to COVID, among other things, but the importance of basketball at the level has never been more vital. In this one, the host Edison State would defeat Clark State by a final score of 81-73. Here is who stood out in this one:

Fr. G/F Ibrahima Athie (Cincinnati Deer Park/Edison State CC) – the best talent on the floor, without question was Athie, who showcased the ability and skill set of a sure scholarship level talent. Standing around 6’6″ with great length, strength, and bounce, he was able to get what he wanted offensively. Primarily plays in the paint, and is a load on the low block, he is capable of stepping out and knocking down mid-range jumpers. Snatched rebounds with authority and strength, sees the floor well, and delivers the ball to teammates with pace and accuracy. Competes on defense, but can become more consistent with his effort every trip down the floor. Can deter shots at the rim, and creates matchup problems with his ability. Will be interesting to see where the next step for this talented young man will be.

Fr. PG/SG Jordan Howard (Springfield/Edison State CC) – impressed with his maturity, poise, and patience from the guard position. Initiates offense, doesn’t force things, and makes good decisions. The ball doesn’t stick in his hands as he gets teammates involved, but must be accounted for as he can knock down the three with consistency. Can create turnovers with his quickness and activity on defense; brings energy and effort to the floor on each end. Has a bright future ahead with continued growth and development.

Others who stood out: Nathaniel McMillian (Purcell Marian/Clark State CC), Sekou Maiga (Columbus West/Edison State CC).