Cards, Vikes, Spartans earn No. 1 seeds
Mentor’s boys basketball team looked due for a down year headed into the 2018-19 season. At least, that’s what everyone else thought.
Yet, when district brackets were released Feb. 10, the Cardinals are in a familiar position. Coaches at the D-I Euclid District voted 15-1 Mentor into the No. 1 seed.
“I thought it would be a tossup between us and Brush,” coach Bob Krizancic said. “I believe our conference and independent schedule is the reason we got the No. 1 seed. It is great to get that respect but it’s much about us and what we have to do.”
Mentor’s only loss came to Shaker Heights after the team won its first 11 games. Outside of Greater Cleveland Conference play, the Cardinals defeated Lakota East, Benedictine and Olentangy Orange.
Krizancic cited Mentor’s recent postseason history as a factor. The Cardinals have played in a district final in 10 of the past 11 seasons, the only exception being at the Solon District in 2015, when they fell to Warren Harding in a double-overtime district semifinal.
Brush was voted the No. 2 seed. The Arcs are 16-2 and undefeated in the Western Reserve Conference. Brush’s losses came to SPIRE Institute and Kennedy Catholic (Pa.). The Arcs defeated Shaker Heights on Feb. 5 in a game ended at halftime.
Behind the Arcs, Cleveland Heights is the No. 3 seed. Willoughby South (154) rounds out the district’s top seeds at No. 4. Among area teams, Madison is the No. 7 seed, Riverside No. 8, Mayfield No. 9 and Eastlake North No. 10.
Shaker Heights was voted the No. 1 seed over 12-6 Euclid at the D-I Solon District. The Panthers, who beat Shaker Heights, 79-74, last week, are the No. 2 seed. No. 9 University and No. 10 Kenston round out area teams in the bracket.
Villa Angela-St. Joseph, the defending Lakeside District champion, is the No. 1 seed at D-II Ashtabula. VASJ is 13-4 after the Vikings defeated crosstown rival Euclid Feb. 10, an impressive record against a nonconference schedule that includes Pickerington North, Cleveland Heights, St. Ignatius, West Memphis (Ark.). VASJ’s North Coast League Blue division includes Benedictine, Akron Hoban and Cleveland Central Catholic.
“We’ve had about as good of a regular season since I’ve been at VASJ,” coach Babe Kwasniak said. “With that being said, regular seasons don’t mean much to us around here.”
The Vikings are joined by No. 2 Lake Catholic, last year’s district runnerup, No. 3 Harvey and No. 4 Perry as the district’s top teams. No. 6 Geneva, No. 7 Chardon, No. 8 West Geauga and No. 11 NDCL complete area teams at the district.
Behind No. 1 Revere, 15-3 Gilmour landed the No. 2 seed at D-II Stow and Benedictine was voted No. 3. Woodridge is the No. 4 seed. Among area teams, the district includes No. 6 Chagrin Falls and No. 12 Hawken.
Lutheran East, a 2018 state semifinalist, landed the No. 1 seed at D-III Garfield Heights. No. 2 Warrensville Heights, No. 3 Elyria Catholic and No. 4 Kirtland make up the district’s top seed. Kirtland will play No. 5 Beachwood in a sectional final March 1. No. 7 Wickliffe, No. 8 Cardinal and No. 9 Berkshire round out area teams in the bracket.
Richmond Heights was voted the No. 1 seed at the D-IV Norton District. The CVC Valley champion Spartans are 14-5 and 13-0 in league play. Coach Quentin Rogers’ nonconference schedule included games against Gahanna Lincoln, Benedictine, Lorain, Toledo Whitmer, Shaker Heights and Lutheran East.
“We respect the decision by the coaches in our district, but I will make sure our team understands that the games still have to be played and seeding doesn’t guarantee victories,” Rogers said.
No. 2 Columbia, No. 3 Open Door and No. 4 Rittman are the district’s other top seeds. 2018 D-IV state runner-up Cornerstone Christian was voted into the No. 8 seed. If the Patriots defeat No. 9 Oberlin in a sectional semifinal Feb. 26, they would meet Richmond Heights in a sectional final March 1.
Kinsman Badger and Bristol are the top two seeds at the D-IV Grand Valley District. Andrews Osborne, competing in its first state boys basketball tournament since returning to the OHSAA, begins the postseason as the bracket’s No. 3 seed. No. 5 Newbury and No. 11 Fairport round out area teams at the district.
“I will make sure our team understands that the games still have to be played and seeding doesn’t guarantee victories.” — Richmond Heights coach Quentin Rogers