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OHSAA announces Division I football playoffs will have four regions

By Michael Beaven Published: April 14, 2016

The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced Thursday that the Division I football playoffs will move from two regions to four regions beginning in 2016 following a 9-0 vote by the OHSAA Board of Directors.

Division I will now have the same format as Divisions II through VII with four regions. Tim Stried of the OHSAA said the decision will place “a greater emphasis on the regional championship games and decrease travel.”

Division I will still have 32 playoff teams out of a field of the 72 largest high schools in Ohio. Each region will have 18 teams.

“Changing Division I to four regions is a great decision for many reasons,” said Beau Rugg, OHSAA Assistant Commissioner and the state’s football administrator.

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High school basketball: Malone University set to host girls, boys all-star games Wednesday

By Michael Beaven Published: March 23, 2016

High school basketball fans seeking to see a couple more games should head to Malone University on Wednesday night for the 28th annual William Heichel Memorial Plain Rotary All-Star Classic.

Event organizer David Kraft said the basketball classic pits girls’ and boys’ all-star teams inside Osborne Hall. Players from Stark County, Summit County, Portage County and Medina County are scheduled to participate.

The girls’ all-star game will start at 6:30 p.m., and the boys’ all-star game will start at about 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $6 at the door and good for both games. Advanced tickets are available for $5 by contacting Kraft at 330-455-9489. All proceeds go to scholarships for high school students and funding of community projects.

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High School wrestling: St. V-M hires Justin “Harry” Lester as its leader on the mat

By Michael Beaven Published: March 23, 2016

St. Vincent-St. Mary High School announced Wednesday it has hired Justin “Harry” Lester as its wrestling coach.

Lester, a former Akron resident, is a four-time state champion from 1998-2001 while attending Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy.

Lester currently resides in Colorado Springs where he is training with the U.S. Army WCAP for the Olympics. He has 10-years of experience competing with Team USA, 2005-2010 and 2011-2016.

“It has always been my passion to give back to wrestling,” Lester said in a prepared statement. “I feel it is my responsibility to give every bit of knowledge of the sport back to any athlete who wants to learn.”

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Division II boys basketball state final: New Concord John Glenn 76, St. V-M 72

By Michael Beaven Published: March 19, 2016

COLUMBUS: St. Vincent-St. Mary concluded its 2015-2016 boys basketball season as Division II state runner-up Saturday in Columbus.

New Concord John Glenn defeated St. V-M 76-72 before a croewd of 14,643 at Value City Arena inside the Schottenstein Center.

Drew Rackley led John Glenn with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Matt Weir scored 18 points and Tanner Slack scored 15 points.

Jayvon Graves led St. V-M with 18 points and eight rebounds. Henry Baddley scored 16 points and John Williams scored 14 points.

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Division II boys basketball state semifinal: St. V-M 85, Cincinnati Aiken 68

By Michael Beaven Published: March 17, 2016

COLUMBUS: St. Vincent-St. Mary senior Henry Baddley and junior Jayvon Graves turned Thursday’s Division II state semifinal boys basketball game into an impromptu slam dunk contest.

Baddley and Graves each had their hands on the rim multiple times with two hand jams and one hand jams inside Ohio State University’s Value City Arena.

Their explosive leaping ability coupled with depth allowed St. V-M to defeat Cincinnati Aiken 85-68 before a crowd of 7,998 spectators.

St. V-M (26-3) will play in the Division II state final at 2 p.m. Saturday against either New Concord John Glenn or Bay Village Bay, who are scheduled to tip-off at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

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Boys basketball: Cuyahoga Falls set to host 29th annual GABCA game Wednesday

By Michael Beaven Published: March 15, 2016

The 29th annual Greater Akron Basketball Coaches Association boys all-star game will take place Wednesday at Cuyahoga Falls High School.

Joe Wojcik, the GABCA secretary, and Walsh Jesuit coach John Norris said there will be three contests – free throws, 3-point shooting and slam dunk – between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. The game is set to tip-off around 7 p.m.

… Game rosters …

NATIONAL TEAM – Players: Kevin Gainer, Cuyahoga Falls; Larnell Nealy, Copley; Bryce Harvey, Copley; Raybon Lewis, Firestone; Jaylin Moore, Firestone; Joseph Wiencek, Highland; Caleb Pratt, Norton; Allan Benson, Black River; Tyler Helderman, Tallmadge; Nate Peters, CVCA. Coach: Mark Dente, Copley.

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Girls basketball: Norton set to host two all-star games on Monday

By Michael Beaven Published: March 13, 2016

The Women’s Tri-County Basketball Coaches Association will hold its annual senior All-Star Games at Norton High School on Monday.

Brian Miller, Norton’s athletic director and girls basketball coach, said senior girls have been invited to play from schools located in Summit, Portage and Medina counties.

The first game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., followed by an awards presentation then the second game is slated to tip off at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. 

Rosters for Game One:

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Girls basketball: Wadsworth 60, Mason 51: Jodi Johnson scores 28 pts to lead WHS in DI state final

By Michael Beaven Published: March 12, 2016

COLUMBUS: Wadsworth senior Jodi Johnson said Friday night that she and her Grizzlies teammates came to Columbus “on a business trip.”

Saturday night, the girls dressed in white with red trim finished their work inside Value City Arena as Wadsworth defeated Mason 60-51 to win the Division I girls basketball state on the campus of Ohio State University.

Johnson, an Ashland University recruit and the Co-Division I Player of the Year with Nia Staples of West Chester Lakota West, led Wadsworth with 28 points.

Stay tuned to the Akron Beacon Journal and ohio.com for more on this developing story.

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Girls basketball - Wadsworth 58, Reynoldsburg 48: Jodi Johnson guides WHS to Division I state final

By Michael Beaven Published: March 11, 2016

COLUMBUS: The Wadsworth girls basketball team is headed to the Division I state championship game.

Following a slow start Friday, the Grizzlies rallied to defeat the Reynoldsburg Raiders 58-48 in a state semifinal game inside Value City Arena at Ohio State University.

Senior Jodi Johnson scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Wadsworth (27-1).

Junior Brooklyn Pannell scored 19 points to pace Reynoldsburg (23-6).

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Akron Public Schools Board of Education approves hiring of Sonil Haslam to coach North football team

By Michael Beaven Published: February 10, 2016

Akron Public Schools announced Wednesday that Sonil Haslam has been named the North football coach.

Members of the APS Board of Education approved the hiring of Haslam as North’s football coach Monday at a regular meeting.

“Coach Haslam has coached for over 20 years at a variety of Akron-area public and private schools, most recently working as assistant head coach in 2015 at Firestone High School,” APS Athletic Director Joe Vassalotti said. “He has been employed for the past 12 years at Akron’s YMCA Phoenix School, where he is the Transition Coordinator.”

Haslam worked under coach Eric Mitchell at Firestone.

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