When the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic showcase basketball event came to Southern State Community College last December it promised to provide area fans an opportunity to see some of the best Division I teams in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Now that the season is nearly over, it is safe to say that fans attending the three-day event did, indeed, see some of the best basketball teams the three states had to offer.
In Ohio, the Moeller Crusaders are 27-0 and have reached the Division I Final Four while finishing as the number one ranked team in the final Associated Press Division I poll.
Pickerington North, whom Moeller defeated in the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic (OVHC), reached the Elite 8. Upper Arlington (6th in final AP poll) and Mason both made it to the Sweet 16 in Ohio’s Division I before falling to fellow Ohio Valley Hoops Classic participants. The Comets finished the season 21-3, bowing out to Moeller in the regional semifinals in a thrilling two-point game. Upper Arlington was 24-3, falling to Pickerington North in the round of 16.
Over in Kentucky, the Cooper Jaguars were state runners-up, finishing with a 31-4 record. Fern Creek finished the season 35-3, and ranked number one in the state, before losing to Cooper in the semifinals of the Kentucky Sweet 16.
In all, six of the 2016 Ohio Valley Hoops Classic participants made it to the Sweet 16 in either Kentucky or Ohio.
Several other teams had outstanding seasons as well. Hilliard Bradley (9th in final AP poll) lost to Oak Hills in the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic, and did not lose again until falling to Upper Arlington in the district finals, ending the year with a 24-2 record. The aforementioned Oak Hills team finished the year at 22-4 and won the Greater Miami Conference.
The lone Indiana representative, Hamilton Southeastern, also had an outstanding season, finishing 21-6 while being ranked as high as number three in the state.
Other OVHC teams posting winning seasons included Centerburg at 17-8, Lakota East 16-7, Lynchburg-Clay 15-8, Paint Valley 15-10, Chaminade Julienne 14-11 and Wimington 13-10. Overall, this year’s Ohio Valley Hoops Classic participants finished the regular season with a combined record of 339-202, and thus far in tournament competition they are 50-23 pending the outcome of Moeller’s season.
The slate for next year’s Ohio Valley Hoops Classic, which will take place on Dec. 1 and 2 at the Southern State Patriot Center in Hillsboro, will be announced later this spring.
Bennie Carroll is the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic tournament founder.