By Dean Eversole
When the organizers named Dayton's premier high school basketball event "Flying to the Hoop," this past weekend must have been what they had in mind.
The Vandalia Student Athletic Center was the sight of many thunderous dunks, led by Trotwood's Chris Wright. The high-flying senior provided four rim rattling dunks against Oak Hill Academy in a 21-point performance. But, the show wasn't limited to one game and continued the entire weekend as some of the nation's best talent did what they do best, showcase their Division I skills.
Speaking of Trotwood, the Rams may have delivered a loud and clear message, even in defeat. Trotwood dropped an 81-74 contest to Oak Hill Academy, who improved to 21-0 on the year. As has become the norm, Oak Hill is considered one of the nation's top teams and for the 10-1 Rams to stay so close puts the state's D-I schools on notice - they will be a team to watch in February.
If Trotwood gets the team award for performance, then Cincinnati Harmony is the team endurance champion. After playing a game in Boston on Sunday morning, Harmony hit the road and drove straight to Vandalia for a Monday affair. Needless to stay, Harmony's bench was put to full use.
The all-tourney team included the local star Wright, Brandon Jennings (Oak Hill), Rafee Smith (Lakota East), Ashen Ward (Cleveland St. Villa, St. Joe), and Alvin Abreu (Boys to Men Academy).
On Monday the MLK Classic was held at Xavier's Cintas Center. With Flying to the Hoop taking place just 50 miles north, one of the nation's top juniors put his talents on display in the Queen City, Winthrow's Yancey Gates.
The 6-8 forward tallied 24 points and snatched 8 rebounds as his team downed Winton Woods, 71-53. In the other games, Shroder snuck past Clark Montessori, 72-66, in overtime, and Hughes downed North College Hill, 68-54.
Football Powers, Hardcourt Monsters
The top D-I boys basketball poll is a mirror image of the football poll. Three of the teams sitting near the top are Cincinnati's Archbishop Moeller, Lakewood St. Edward and Canton McKinley.
Known for football, these three schools have dominated D-I basketball in their region the last few years and with just one loss combined. 2007 looks to be more o the same.
Small Town, Big Program
If you venture down into Division IV basketball you will find the Russia Raiders, sitting at No. 1 in the AP poll. A traditional basketball power, this Shelby County school has an annual graduating class of roughly 30 students. There are no state highways running through this tiny town and just a handful of stores. But what they do have is a perennial basketball power fueled by a town in love with the game. The Raiders will be looking for a trip to Columbus, even if it requires taking mostly country roads.
No Division Change for Football
The OHSAA has backed away from their proposed division realignment. After establishing a bylaw that would have decreased the number of D-I teams, the OHSAA switched their position after receiving pressure from member schools. In a statement released by the OHSAA board it was noted that an attempt to create fairness for Division I, was perhaps creating unfairness in the other divisions.
The end result means the OHSAA will continue dividing schools in a manner were all six divisions have an equal number of schools competing in them.
Swimmers Head to Cincinnati
Some the state's top swimmers took to the pool at the Southwest Ohio Swimming Classic held in Cincinnati.
As has become tradition the boys' squad from St. Xavier took the team title. The Bombers have won every year since the meet's inception in 1984. X was paced by David Mosko who tallied four individual wins.
On the girls side Cincinnati St. Ursuline captured its' third-consecutive title beating out Centerville by just 40 points.