The final game of the 2017 Ohio Valley Hoops Classic basketball showcase event will feature the Hillsboro Indians and the McClain Tigers as they meet for the first time as members of the Frontier Athletic Conference. (We will have more on that game later)
Local fans may want to arrive early to catch the first two games of the evening session. The game immediately preceding the Indians/Tigers showdown features state powers Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller and Columbus Eastmoor Academy.
Moeller has been a dominant Division I power in Ohio high school basketball over the past 20 years, winning state championships in 1999, 2003, and 2007. And, last year’s Crusader team was 28-0 before falling by one point to Massillon Jackson in the State Finals. Don’t expect the Crusaders to miss a beat this season as they are once again loaded with Division I talent. Leading the group is 6’9” senior Jaxson Hayes who is committed to play for the Texas Longhorns, but had offers from many major programs including the University of Kentucky. Fellow senior, 6’6” Jeremiah Davenport, has committed to Wright State, while point guard Isaiah ‘Sleepy’ Payton will play for Division II Indiana Wesleyan. Junior guard Miles McBride is also a Division I college prospect, but he is expected to miss the OVHC due to a football injury.
Don’t feel sorry for Moeller’s opponent, the Warriors of Columbus Eastmoor Academy. The Warriors were 22-7 last season while advancing to the Final Four in Division II. Eastmoor is led by 6’5” senior guard Taevion Kinsey, one of Ohio’s most athletic players. Kinsey has offers from multiple Division I teams. Tarique Brown is another 6’6” athletic wing who has Division I talent. Stanley Williams is a 6’8” physical specimen on the inside for Eastmoor Academy.
The opening game of Saturday’s evening session features the renewal of a once heated rivalry. The Mason Comets and Springboro Panthers, though only 15 miles apart, have not played since 1999 when Springboro beat Mason on the way to an undefeated 20-0 regular season and Fort Ancient Valley Championship. The Comets now compete in the Greater Miami Conference while Springboro is a member of the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
Coach Greg Richards’ Mason Comets were 21-3 last season, losing by 2 points to Moeller in the Regional Semi-finals. Over the past three years, the Comets are 63-7. A pair of senior guards, 6’4” Noah Pedelty and 6’0” Tanner Knue will lead Comets this season. Springboro was 13-12 a year ago in the tough GWOC. The Panthers are also led by a pair of seniors, 6’6” Thomas Arrington and 6’2” Caleb Taylor.
The Ohio Valley Hoops Classic is Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Patriot Center on the campus of Southern State Community College. In all there are 11 games over the two days. Tickets will be available at the four participating Highland County schools as well as East Clinton and Wilmington. Tickets can also be purchased online by visiting www.ohiovalleyhoopsclassic.com or purchased at the door.
This story was submitted by Bennie Carroll, manager of the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic.