Cards, Vikes, Spar­tans earn No. 1 seeds

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Sports - By Nate Barnes [email protected]­ @NateBar­nes_ on Twit­ter

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

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