Boys basketball has reached regional tournament week, and five area teams are still practicing with hopes of winning four more games to hoist a state championship trophy.
The five are Green and St. Vincent-St. Mary in Division I, Buchtel in Division II and Mogadore and Orrville in Division III.
Buchtel on Saturday won its first district title since 1998 when Doylan Robinson was wearing a Griffins uniform. Buchtel’s stars these days are freshman Chris Livingston and senior Jonathan King, a duo that led the Griffins to an 82-58 victory over East and an 86-52 triumph over Tallmadge to win a district title at the Canton Memorial Field House.
Livingston scored 31 points against East and 37 points against Tallmadge. Sophomores Ronnell Perie II and Noah Peeples and senior Anthony Hunt Jr. also start for Buchtel.
Buchtel (18-7) will meet Poland Seminary (23-2) at the Canton Memorial Civic Center at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
“This is an opportunity for us to keep building on things that we have been doing well — and that is attention to detail, defense and looking to move the ball on offense,” said Griffins coach Matt Futch, a 2002 Buchtel graduate. “We are looking for great shots. We are shooting the ball better from behind the arc and we are looking to throw it inside too.”
Poland has won 18 games in a row, and features Braeden O’Shaughnessy, Daniel Kramer and Michael Cougras.
St. V-M (21-3) has a date with Olmsted Falls (24-2) at the University of Akron’s Rhodes Arena at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Irish beat Ellet 79-49 and Copley 30-25 to win the Barberton Division I regional title.
Irish coach Dru Joyce II said the 30-25 win was “lower scoring than the 2003 [Division II] state championship when Kettering Alter held it on us. That score ended up 40-36.”
St. V-M features seniors Lunden McDay, Chris Painter and Keyshawn Jones, and sophomores Seth Wilson and Malaki Branham.
St. V-M, the two-time defending Division II state champion, is in the regional bracket for the 11th year in a row. The Irish have won 20 district titles in the past 22 years. Included in that run is seven of the eight state titles the program has won, including three with LeBron James between 2000-2003.
Olmsted Falls is led by Eric Hanna, Braden Galaska and Gavin Dietrich.
Green (21-4) won its first district title on Saturday, topping Jackson 65-45 in Canton to advance to meet Mentor (23-2) at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center.
Senior Kaleb Martin led Green over Jackson with 35 points. The Bulldogs' other starters are juniors Garrison Keeslar, Ryan Smith, Donovan O’Neil and Shea Simmer.
Mentor features Luke Floriea, Chad Rogers, Alex Edwards, Mason Trubisky and Luke Chicone.
“Their five starters can all score the basketball,” said Bulldogs coach Mark Kinsley, a 1984 Green graduate. “They have all scored in double digits at least a couple of times. … They can all shoot the 3, and they have decent size with a couple of 6-4 guys that can play inside and out.”
The Division III regional at the Canton Memorial Field House on Wednesday will pit Mogadore (19-6) against Ashtabula Edgewood (24-2) at 6:15 p.m., and Orrville (17-8) versus Cleveland Heights Lutheran East (19-8) at 8 p.m.
Mogadore is led by coach Russ Swartz, a 1981 Mogadore graduate. The Wildcats' starting five includes junior Lukas Swartz, and seniors Connor Kerr, Kyle Coffman, Cam Ramirez and Eli Robertson.
Orrville also features an alum as coach in Sly Slaughter. The Red Riders' top players are Marquael Parks, Cayden McDaniel, Ben Summers, D’Vontez Brown and Logan Domer.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.