Here are my thoughts about this week's girls state basketball action and the boys regional tournaments:
*I think Walsh Jesuit could defeat defending Division II champion Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown in the 3 p.m. Thursday semifinal. The Blazers have had a weaker post season schedule, but are a veteran club and will be a heavy favorite. The key will be rebounding for the Warriors to keep Mylan Woods off the boards and stopping guard Alana Guy from hurting them with outside shots and penetration. I expect the winner to take the state title.
*Sophomore Ameryst Alston of Canton McKinley is the best guard in the state and to me any team that wants to stop the Bulldogs has to find a way to keeep her from going inside.
*Smithville is a team that fully utilizes senior star Jenna Pew. It will take a very quick team and/or a defense that can force the Smithies away from their normal patient halfcourt offense. Just wonder if they could have given defending champion Regina, ousted from the playoffs for use of ineligble player, a game or beat them.
*Steve Thomas's 3-point shot that gave East a 63-62 win was a bit of justice. The referee clearly missed an over-and-back call right before Kent Roosevelt took the lead 62-60 on Marcus Wright's basket with 9.7 seconds left.
East will need all its athletic talent and bench to stop Jackson Thursday night in the Division I regional semifinal at the JAR Arena in Akron. Most peole favor the Polar Bears. East coach Ross Fiorello said, " They are bigger than us ... maybe we should send Kent there."
*If you doubt that St. Vincent-St. Mary and coach Dru Joyce are in Buchtel's heads, go back to the Division II title game Saturday at the Canton Fieldhouse. Make it five straight times the Griffins have lost to the Fighting Irish in playoffs games since 2004 and frankly this was the most disappointing. I honestly thought Buchtel could win a state title.
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