The 95th annual boys basketball state tournament concluded on Saturday at Value City Arena with four championship teams.
All four winning squads hail from Northeast Ohio, including two in the Akron Beacon Journal coverage area Jackson in Division I and St. Vincent-St. Mary in Division II.
?Jackson (28-2) beat Lakewood St. Edward (23-6) by a score of 75-64 in a state semifinal and then defeated Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller 39-38 in the final. The Polar Bears and the Crusaders (28-1) both made 13-of-37 shots from the field in the title game. The difference was Jackson made 5-of-15 3-point attempts and 8-of-13 free throws, and Moeller was 2-of-8 on 3-pointers and 10-of-15 on free throws.
?Jackson senior Kyle Young made the game-winning free throw with 3.6 seconds to play in the final. Young averaged 15.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in Columbus.
?St. V-M (25-5) played its best in the second and fourth quarters in a 62-60 semifinal win over Trotwood-Madison (26-3) and a 45-30 final win over Wauseon (27-2). The Irish outscored the Rams and Indians 32-17 in the second quarter, and 30-21 in the fourth quarter.
?St. V-M senior Jayvon Graves displayed his versatility all weekend, and made the game-winning shot at the buzzer to beat T-M in the semifinal. Graves averaged 23.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 3.0 blocks per game.
?Also contributing for Polar Bears were senior Logan Hill (11.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 blocks per game); junior Jaret Palotta (9.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists); senior Kyle Nicolas (8.0 points); senior Dillon Dingler (5.5 points, 2.5 rebounds); and junior Ethan Stanislawski (3.5 points, 2.5 assists).
?In addition to Graves, the Irish also received solid contributions from sophomore Lunden McDay (9.0 points, 2.0 rebounds per game); senior Justin Sampson (8.5 points, 5.0 rebounds); senior Jonathan Williams (6.0 points, 5.0 assists, 2.5 rebounds); and junior Scott Walter (3.0 points, 1.5 assists).
?St. V-M has won seven state titles, matching Middletown and Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph for the most in Ohio boys basketball history. The Irish won a Class AA championship in 1984, Division III titles in 2000 and 2001 and Division II titles in 2003, 2009, 2011 and 2017. Middletown won its championships all in the big-school division between 1944-1957. VA-SJ won its titles between 1991-2017 in all four of the current divisions.
?The victory on Saturday was Dru Joyce IIs 328th victory as St. V-M coach one more than former coach Eddie Wentz. Joyce has been St. V-M coach for four titles and was an assistant to coach Keith Dambrot for two crowns. Joe Suboticki led the Irish to their first state championship.
?Jackson has won two state titles in 2010 under coach Mike Fuline and this year under coach Tim Debevec, who was an assistant to Fuline in 2010.