The second Ohio Valley Hoops Classic Nov. 27-28 appears loaded with talented individuals and high caliber teams.
“We feel like it’s pretty high level,” tournament director Bennie Carroll said. “We feel like we have some pretty good team and pretty good individual players coming to town.”
The matchups for Nov. 27 are:
• New Albany vs Northmont
• Johnstown Monroe vs Chaminade-Julienne
• South Ripley (Ind.) vs Dayton Northridge
• Dublin Jerome vs. Mason
• Wilmington vs. Cleveland Heights
The matchups for Nov. 28 are:
• Clinton-Massie vs. Leesburg Fairfield
• Blanchester vs. Eastern Brown
• Indianapolis Park Tudor vs. Mansfield Senior
• Cleveland East Tech vs. Lakota East
• East Clinton vs. Paint Valley
The tournament will once again be held at Wilmington College’s Fred Raizk Arena.
The four Clinton County schools along with New Albany, Northmont, Chaminade Julienne, and Lakota East all participated in the inaugural OVHC in 2015.
Last year’s tournament featured numerous players headed to Div. I college programs.
Wilmington, 24-2 last year, will be led by University of Cincinnati commit Jarron Cumberland. The 6-5 forward is on track to become the Hurricane’s all-time leading scorer. He also has a shot at reaching the 2,000-point plateau.
But Cumberland won’t be the lone cog in the Wilmington wheel expected to play in the OVHC. Sophomore Dylan Beaugard, juniors Cameron Stewart and Chris Wolary and senior Alex Miller all had key roles last season.
Cleveland Heights has two of the top-rated players in their respective classes in 6-7 junior Jaylen Harris and 5-9 sophomore point guard Yahell Hill. The Tigers will not have a home game this season because of the remodeling of their home gymnasium. Harris may be the best athlete in the entire tournament as he has Div. I scholarship offers in both basketball and football.
One of the big-time matchups pits Dublin Jerome against Mason. Both teams were rated in the top three in the state at one time last season.
Dublin Jerome was 22-3 last season and advanced to the final eight in the state last season. The Celtics return four starters.
Mason lost two games a season ago, both coming after a 21-0 start. The Comets, coached by former Clinton-Massie baseball coach Greg Richards, will return three starters.
Senior post player Jason Carter, 6-8, leads Johnstown Monroe against CJ. Carter has committed to Ohio University. The Johnnies were 21-4 last season and advanced to the Elite 8 in Div. II last season. The Eagles, coached by Joe Staley, were in the Div. III Final Four and finished 22-7.
The matchup between South Ripley and Northridge pits two teams who made it to the Elite Eight in their respective state tournaments — the Raiders in Div. II in Indiana and the Polar Bears in Div. III in Ohio. South Ripley returns four starters while Northmont has three starters coming back.
Blanchester returns Alec Richardson, Dylan Miller and Nick Grogg from last season for its matchup with Eastern Brown.
Clinton-Massie has Trey Uetrecht and Hunter Fentress returning to face the Fairfield Lions.
East Clinton, under first-year coach Tony Berlin, will face Paint Valley and its massive 6-10 sophomore Dylan Swingle, who has several Div. I college offers including West Virginia. The Astros, returning Wyatt Floyd, Brian Barnes and Paul Luttrell, lost to Paint Valley during the regular season last year.
Indianapolis Park Tudor has won four of the last five Indiana Div. II state championships, including back-to-back state titles. The Panthers return Jaren Jackson a, 6-8 standout, who has offers from Indiana, Georgetown, Purdue and Michigan State, Carroll said. Mansfield Senior was 16-8 a year ago and the Tygers return three of their top players.
Cleveland East Tech might get the top nickname award — the Scarabs — but they were also pretty good on the floor, finishing 22-4. CET has one of the top juniors in the state in Markell Johnson, who has numerous Div. I college offers in hand. Lakota East, coached by Wilmington High School alum Clint Adkins, was 22-3 last season.