August 2, 2019
By Morgan Wenger
A first-round pool play game between Details and TCB turned out to be a foreshadowing of things to come in the high school division. In a hard fought, back and forth affair, Details were able to overcome some hot shooting from Bryce Biggs (10 points) to defeat TCB 30-27. Jalen Wenger (18 points) scored several tough baskets down the stretch to help Details overcome a late deficit to win the game.
From that point on, the division looked to be playing out in favor of Dubz 2.0. They racked up a convincing win (30-14) over Showtime, a 30-27 win over Details, and a 30-22 win over Different Breed to gain the number one seed heading into bracket play. Their pool play run was highlighted by the play of Owen Roach, who exploded for 19 points in their 30-27 win over Details. Despite going 0-3 in pool play, Showtime was able to upset the number three seeded Tropics to advance to the semifinals behind 16 points from Joey Dalessandro. Details came out strong and left no doubt against Showtime in the semifinals. Hot shooting led the way to a 13-0 start, and Details coasted to a 30-11 victory to punch their ticket to the championship game. The other side of the bracket had much more drama. TCB overcame an 0-2 start to the day by defeating Different Breed 30-21. Adam Chaney led the way for the winners with 12 points while Eli Steiner led Different Breed with nine points in defeat. This set up a semifinal matchup with unbeaten Dubz 2.0. TCB gave their strongest showing of the day in methodically overwhelming Dubz 2.0 by the score of 30-20 to advance to the championship game. The championship game was a battle from the beginning, with Details landing the first few punches in the form of three Jalen Wenger three pointers on their way to an early 17-7 lead. As the game neared the stretch run, Jaiden Malone was able to provide Details with some tough baskets to keep them comfortably in front of a hungry TCB group. Details were able to finish off the 30-18 victory and championship in a game that seemed much closer than the score would indicate. Jalen Wenger led the way with 13 points in the game, with Malone following closely behind with 11. Adam Chaney led the runner ups with 9 points. Jalen Wenger was the leading scorer in the division at 16 points per game.
The Young Bucks division had two teams emerge from pool play unscathed. Details posted two convincing wins over Ohio Laces and Gurus of Go and escaped with a four-point win against the Bobcat Ballers. Stuman Spitner, on the other hand, eked out one-point wins against the Dribble Dawgs and Ohio Laces on their way to an unblemished pool play record. The first round of bracket play went according to seed. Gurus of Go defeated the Bobcat Ballers 30-22 behind Kellon Smith’s 12 points, and Ethan Siders (11 points) led the Dribble Dawgs to a first-round victory over Ohio Laces. Despite not getting much of a challenge in pool play, Details found themselves in a semifinal battle with the Dribble Dawgs. The game went back and forth in the early stages before Details were finally able to pull away for a 30-23 victory. Jalen Wenger led the way with 18 points for number one seeded Details while Braylon Wenger chipped in 12 points. Brett Alberts played strong in defeat for the Dribble Dawgs with 16 points. The other semifinal, between Stuman Spitner and Gurus of Go, went down to the wire. In a game that was close all the way, Jack Steiner and Kellon Smith were both making plays for their respective teams. Steiner scored 16 points for Stuman Spitner, while Smith poured in 17 for Gurus of Go. A late miss at the free throw line opened the door for Gurus of Go, and they took full advantage by scoring the game winning basket soon after to secure a gutsy 30-29 win. Due to the three-point marksmanship of Jalen Wenger, the championship game was a rout from the beginning. Details jumped out to a huge lead and never looked back in a 30-12 victory over Gurus of Go. Jalen Wenger made six three pointers on his way to a game high 20 points for the winners, while Braylon Wenger added two more long balls as part of his 10 points. Zack Miller led Gurus of Go with seven points. Jalen Wenger led the division in scoring at 19.2 points per game.
The 8th Grade division featured several close games between evenly matched teams, resulting in a five-way tie for first place. The Basket Junkies emerged as the top seed on the strength of a 23-20 win over the second seeded Hoover Vikes and a 30-12 shellacking over the previously unbeaten Storm. With five teams tied for the top seed before point differential was considered, the stage was set for very competitive bracket play. Storm scored an impressive quarterfinal win against the Grizzlies, knocking off the previous year’s champions 30-8 to advance to a semifinal round rematch against Basket Junkies. Kyle Maltarich led Storm against the Grizzlies with 11 points. Perhaps using their earlier defeat as motivation, Storm looked like a different animal against Basket Junkies this time around. Using a balanced attack that featured three different players scoring between seven and nine points each, Storm avenged their earlier loss by a 30-20 count to advance to the championship game. Shots Fired entered bracket play as the number six seed, and promptly upset third seeded CBSJ in a hard fought 30-26 quarterfinal victory. Hunter Pertee (11 points) used his sharp shooting expertise to help Shots Fired overcome a huge effort from Collin Jones (12 points). This set up a hotly contested and entertaining semifinal game between Hoover Vikes and Shots Fired. The game was close throughout, as both teams used their full arsenal to try and advance to the championship game. Mason Ashby (10 points) was steady throughout the game for Hoover, while Hunter Pertee (13 points) used his long-range shooting to keep Shots Fired close behind. In the end, Grant Walker was just too much for Shots Fired to overcome. Walker scored from inside and outside on his way to a 15-point performance and a 30-27 win for his team. After avenging their only loss of the day in the semifinals, Storm would not be denied in the championship game. Led by Grayson Lehman (12 points) and Sammy Detweiler (10 points), Storm just overwhelmed Hoover in the championship game by a 30-8 margin. Sam Sprang, of HW Hoopers, led the division in scoring at 12 points per game.
The Biddy Ball division seemed to be heading towards a Perry Black and Norwayne championship game clash from the beginning. Other than when they played each other, both teams breezed through pool play to grab the top two seeds heading into bracket play. The pool play matchup between the top two teams went to Norwayne by the score of 22-13. This gave the defending champions the top seed on the bracket and a first-round bye. Dalton Dawg Pound defeated the Rittman Indians 27-17 to earn a shot at the top seeded Norwayne squad in the semifinals. Alex Hess led Dalton Dawg Pound with 13 points to help offset the hot shooting of Rittman’s Jake Newark (3 three pointers). There would be no upset in the semifinal round though, as Norwayne dominated from start to finish in a 30-10 victory. Connor Preattle and Parker Metsker led a balanced Norwayne attack with 10 points each. Perry Black held off a pesky group from Waynedale on their side of the bracket in a tough game that ended in a 21-20 score. Paul Rusinko led the winners with 9 points while Alyssa Geiser had 8 points in a losing cause for Waynedale. Everything seemed tilted in Norwayne’s favor heading into the championship game, but Perry showed early on that this game might be different. With Paul Rusinko using his height effectively to finish several baskets inside, Perry was able to separate from Norwayne as the game went along. Norwayne kept clawing away at the lead, in large part due to the play of Braden West (9 points). In the end, there was just too much Rusinko (15 points) inside and too much Perry in general. Perry earned the division title with a 30-21 win. Paul Rusinko led the division in scoring with 9.5 points per game.
The Junior division was as deep with teams and talent as it has ever been in tournament history. This made the road to a championship very long and arduous for everyone in the field. The cream started to rise to the top during pool play, but that merely set the stage for the typically unpredictable events that would follow during bracket play. Gurus emerged from pool play as the only team without a loss to claim the top seed on the bracket. To display the parity and depth of talent on hand, there were five teams tied for second place with only one pool play loss and another four teams right behind them that went 1-2 during pool play. This set up an incredible slate of bracket games to decide the winner of the division. The action really heated up in the quarterfinal round. North Canton claimed the number four seed after point differential was applied to the pool play records, and they advanced to the semifinal round with a 30-17 victory over Norwayne. Ryan Cervenak (14 points) and Hunter Hershberger (13 points) both had huge games for North Canton while Norwayne was paced by Jaxson Gasser’s five points. Third seeded Grizzly 4 did not fare as well, as the Splash Brothers were able to spring the upset by a 26-19 count. Chad Rusinko (12 points) and David Seibert (11 points) led the way for Splash Brothers while Burk Hughes led Grizzly 4 with 10 points in defeat. The one team in the top four that did not get challenged in this round was Central. The number two seed boasted the most physically impressive player in the division in Brian Martin. As he did against most of the teams in the division, Martin (14 points) enforced his will on the interior against an overwhelmed Storm team in leading his team to a 30-9 win. Meanwhile, the top seeded Gurus were facing Zero Gravity. Although the unbeaten Gurus raced out to an early lead, they would soon find themselves facing some adversity for the first time all day. Zero Gravity found a dynamic scoring duo with Ally Wickens (10 points) on the inside and Madison Singer (14 points) on the outside to cut their deficit to 28-26 late in the game. After regrouping during a timeout, Gurus were able to score the winning basket and advance to the semifinals. Tyler Pappas nailed 3 three pointers to lead his team with 13 points in the victory. Perhaps awakened by their close encounter with Zero Gravity, Gurus wasted little time in dispatching of North Canton in the semifinals by a 30-14 score. Brady Lucey led the unbeaten Gurus in this round with 12 points. Fresh off their upset of Grizzly 4, Splash Brothers were clearly hitting their stride entering their semifinal matchup against Central. David Seibert (13 points) and D’Mari McGill (10 points) combined for five three pointers to outlast a mammoth 22-point effort from Brian Martin as Splash Brothers continued their magical run with a 30-29 win. That run came to a screeching halt in the finals, however, as Gurus simply had too much firepower. All four Gurus players scored between six and nine points as they methodically took Splash Brothers apart 30-11 to claim the division title with an undefeated record. Brian Martin led all scorers in the division with 16.8 points per game.
The Junior Girls division featured some very competitive pool play games. Only one game was decided by more than seven points as the teams battled for the top spot on the bracket. Crusaders grabbed the top seed with an unblemished 3-0 record and looked like the prohibitive favorite heading into bracket play. They did nothing to dispel that notion in the semifinals as they rode Lily Belden’s 10 points to a 16-8 victory over the Lady Titans. The other side of the bracket saw a fierce tussle between Waynedale and Orange Crush taking place. Defense was the order of the day in this one as both teams were having difficulty locating solid scoring opportunities. Waynedale was able to pull out a hard fought 7-6 win to advance to the championship round. While Waynedale was prepared to spring the upset, Crusaders were simply too good in claiming the title with a 22-15 win. Crusaders were paced by the trio of Lily Belden, Ellie Buckler, and Madison Lepley who scored six points each in the championship game. Kylie Geiser led Waynedale in defeat with 10 points. Lily Belden led all scorers in the division with 10.4 points per game.
The Puppy division is always a crowd favorite as the rising third and fourth graders always give maximum effort on nearly every possession. As is the case almost every year in this division, the day often starts with some very lopsided scores and then has more competitive games as the young players gain some experience. Perry Panthers #1 was able to secure the top seed heading into bracket play after emerging from pool play unscathed at 3-0. They were able to take down Bobcats 30-6 in the semifinals behind 12 points each from Joe Luchitz and Alex Rohr. Bryce Besancon led Bobcats with four points. Perry Panthers #2 made it an all Perry final as they escaped their game against Team Steiner with a 20-18 victory. Perry was led by Mitchell Takacs (10 points) in the win to help offset an eight-point effort from Cole Gasser. Team Steiner showed tremendous improvement from the beginning of the tournament until the end. While Perry Panthers #1 had soundly defeated Perry Panthers #2 in pool play, Perry Panthers #2 was more than ready for the rematch. After gaining a lead midway through the game, they simply would not allow Perry Panthers #1 an opportunity to catch them. JJ Frantz and Brennan Ebert both scored eight points to pace the winners, while XJ Wohlheter scored 13 for the runner ups. XJ Wohlheter led the division in scoring with 8.2 points per game.
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