Ohio Finals: Taft Of Cincinnati Sets Scoring Record In 95-52 Victory

LaSalle of Cincinnati defeats Northland of Columbus in Division I final.

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Division I Finals: LaSalle Spoils Final Game For Northland Coach Sullinger

Brandon Neel scored 22 points and LaSalle of Cincinnati won its first state title since 1996 on Saturday with a 59-40 victory over Northland of Columbus.

It was LaSalle's 14th straight victory, and it was the final game for Northland's retiring coach, Satch Sullinger, who won a state title at his Columbus school two seasons ago.

With seven players between 6-foot-1 and 6-foot-3 who can play inside and out, LaSalle (26-2) overwhelmed Northland (26-2) in the final three quarters, closing out the first quarter with an 8-0 run to tie the score and 12-12 and then taking a 28-22 lead at halftime and 43-31 lead following three quarters .

A 17-9 advantage for LaSalle in the fourth quarter accounted for the final margin of victory as LaSalle won going away.

A major difference in the game was the ability of LaSalle to protect the basketball and force turnovers, then convert those opportunities into made baskets. The Lancers forced 15 turnovers and committed only eight, while scoring 17 points off Northland mistakes.

Neel, who is receiving interest from several Division I programs, was LaSalle's top scorer.

Ryan Fleming, son of LaSalle coach Dan Fleming, scored 17 points.

Northland received only 10 points from Trey Burke on 4-of-14 shooting. Burke, a Michigan commit and Ohio's Mr. Basketball, had four assists but committed four turnovers. Northland had the height advantage with two 6-foot-8 juniors in Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott.


Ohio Finals: Taft Sets D-III Record For Points In 95-52 Victory

In a game featuring the co-players of the year in Ohio's Division III, Adolphus Washington and Taft's full-court pressure were too much for Anton Grady and Central Catholic in the Senators' OHSAA title-winning 95-52 victory on Saturday at Value City Arena in Columbus.

The 95 points by Taft set a Division III title game record, breaking the  mark of 90 set in 2006. The 43-point margin of victory set a state record for a championship game.

Taft (26-1), only the second Cincinnati public school to win a state championship in basketball, took control of the game early, leading 16-6 after the first quarter.

Central Catholic (19-8), of Cleveland, wasn't able to handle the Senators' pressure defense, shooting 20 percent in the first quarter after seeing its star player, the Cleveland State-commit Anton Grady, head to the bench with two quick fouls. Grady set a tournament record with 22 rebounds in the semifinals and finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds despite his foul trouble.

Playing for its second title in three years, Central Catholic was unable to respond in the second quarter, as Taft took a 46-16 lead into halftime on 62 percent shooting (64 percent from beyond the arc), while turning Central Catholic turnovers into 19 points.

The future for Taft looks bright as well, as the team will return five of its top six players next season.

Adolphus Washington, a top national defensive end recruit in the 2012 class, led Taft with 19 points. Eleven players for Taft scored.


Division IV Finals: Hiland Surges Past Harvest Prep To Take First Title Since 1992

Hiland extended its winning streak to 22 and won its second Ohio boys basketball state title Saturday with a 63-48 victory over Harvest Preparatory (22-6) at the Value City Arena in Columbus.

A decisive fourth quarter was the difference in this Division IV final in a game tied 37-37 after three quarters. Hiland (27-1), located in  of Amish country, outscored Harvest Prep 26-11, including a 14-2 run to close the game.

The loss kept Harvest Prep, from the Columbus suburb of Canal Winchester, from winning its first championship.  The school finished second in 2007.

Harvest Prep was also denied the rare feat of winning both the boys and girls titles after the Lady Warriors were crowned champs last week.

Seger Bonifant, part of a Hawks frontcourt that features four players 6-foot-5 or taller, scored 21 points off the bench to lead the way for Hiland.

Dylan Kaufman, the Co-Player of the Year in Division IV, added 19 points. Jalen Miller scored 13 for Hiland to help the team take home its first title since 1992.


Division II Finals: St. Vincent-St. Mary Uses Second-Half Surge To Drop Thurgood Marshall

St. Vincent-St. Mary, a school best known as LeBron James' alma mater, used a 15-1 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to pull away from Thurgood Marshall and won 57-46 in Ohio's Division II finals at Value City Arena in Columbus.

After a close first half, St. Vincent-St. Mary led 29-27 with less than five minutes left in the third before scoring nine of the last 10 points to close the quarter.

St. Vincent-St. Mary started the fourth quarter equally as strong, scoring the first six points to put the game out of reach.

A strong defensive effort also helped keep Thurgood Marshall in check, as the Fighting Irish's zone defense kept the Cougars out of the paint and 26 points below its season scoring average. During the decisive run, St. Vincent-St. Mary held Thurgood Marshall without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes.

It was the second time in three years that St. Vincent-St. Mary of Akron (19-9) met Thurgood Marshall of Dayton (22-6) in the state finals, and it was the sixth basketball title overall for St. Vincent-St. Mary.

Junior Lorenzo Cugini led St. Vincent-St. Mary in scoring for the second straight game with 15 points. He added 10 rebounds.

Teammate Devonte Beard, a senior guard receiving Division I interest, filled up the stat sheet with 13 points, four assists and three rebounds.

Thurgood Marshall star Jordan Watson, who was suspended for the semifinals, scored a game-high 16 points.


Four Titles To Up For Grabs In Ohio On Saturday

Saturday in Columbus, the Ohio state basketball finals kick off at 10:30 with the Division II title game featuring St. Vincent-St. Mary of Akron (18-9) versus Thurgood Marshall of Dayton (22-5).

Junior Lorenzo Cugini led St. Vincent-St. Mary in scoring with 14 points, nearly matching his season average of 14.8. Leading scorer Devonte Beard struggled in the semifinal, but led the team in scoring at 17.8 points per game this season. Beard is currently being recruited by Boston College, along with a number of other division one mid-major programs.

Four Thurgood Marshall players registered double-digit scoring totals in the semifinal led by Mark Alstork with 18. The semifinal victory was impressive considering the team played without leading scorer Jordan Watson (18 ppg) who was suspended for the game.

In the Division IV finals, Harvest Preparatory of Canal Winchester (22-5) against Hiland of Berlin (26-1).

In their semifinal matchup, Harvest Preparatory took an eight point lead at the end of one quarter and cruised to victory behind a team leading 14 points by Grant Harris in only 17 minutes of action. Leading scorer Shakir Dunning struggled with 10 points on 5-16 shooting, but leads the team in scoring on the season at 18.2 points per game.

A big contribution off of the bench by Seger Bonifant (23 points in 20 minutes) paced Berlin in its 14 point semifinal victory. Berlin’s leading scorer, junior Dylan Kaufman (14.2 ppg) was held to nine points in the semifinal.

Division III features a David versus Goliath matchup as top ranked Taft of Cincinnati (24-1) squares off against unranked Cleveland Central Catholic (19-8).

Taft is led by two sport star Adolphus Washington whose 22 points in the semifinal on 7-8 shooting paced the Senators. Just a junior, Washington is receiving division one interest in both football and basketball and is considered one of the better defensive end prospects in the country heading into the fall.

For Cleveland Central Catholic, 6-foot-8 senior center Anton Grady continued his impressive senior season by posting 26 points and 22 rebounds in the semifinal. Grady, a Cleveland State recruit, is averaging 21.1 points per game on the season.

The final championship game of the day pits Northland of Columbus (26-1) versus LaSalle of Cincinnati (25-2). The teams are ranked numbers two and three in the state respectively.

Michigan recruit Trey Burke leads Northland at 24.3 points per game including 15 in the semifinal on 4-17 shooting. 6-foot-8 junior Devon Scott posted 17 points on 8-11 shooting and 10 rebounds in the semifinal win to raise his scoring average to 11.5 points per game on the season.

LaSalle features a more balanced scoring attack led by senior Brandon Neal with 14.7 points per game. In the semifinal, Neal paced LaSalle with 23 points on 10-16 shooting.

Ohio at a Glance - All Games ET

Saturday, March 26 @ Value City Arena, Columbus

Division II Finals

10:30 a.m. - St. Vincent-St. Mary of Akron (18-9) vs. Thurgood Marshall of Dayton (22-5)

Division IV Finals

1:30 p.m. - Harvest Preparatory of Canal Winchester (22-5) vs. Hiland of Berlin (26-1)

Division III Finals

4:30 p.m. - Taft of Cincinnati (25-1) vs. Central Catholic of Cleveland (19-8)

Division I Finals

8:30 p.m. - LaSalle of Cincinnati (25-2) vs. Northland of Columbus (26-1)

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