The opening game of the fifth annual 2018 Ohio Valley Hoops Classic basketball showcase will feature Dayton Dunbar and Lakota East when they meet at 6 p.m. Friday at Hillsboro High School.
The Dunbar Wolverines are one of Ohio’s storied basketball programs, owning five state championships, including four since 2006. Dunbar has produced numerous college and NBA players including Mark Baker, Cornelius Cash, Deaquan Cook, Johnny Green, and Norris Cole. In fact, first year Coach Lyle Cole is the uncle of Norris Cole.
Meanwhile, Lakota East has become a dominant Division I program in Southwestern Ohio. The Thunderhawks are coached by former Wilmington Hurricane basketball standout Clint Adkins. In the past four years, Lakota East is 72-28 including a district championship, and the Hawks will be tough again this year.
Bash Wieland is the leading returnee for Lakota East. The 6-6 senior, who is signed to play at Bellarmine College next season, averaged 12 points a game last season. Alex Mangold is a 6-7 junior who averaged 5.9 last season. And, 6-2 sophomore Nate Johnson is an athletic guard who has Division I potential.
Dunbar suffered a blow when 6-6 senior Jonathon Allen sustained a knee injury. Allen is being recruited by major Division I football programs including Ohio State. His status for the OVHC is uncertain. But, Dunbar has athletes all over the floor. Seniors Brice and Martel Smith return to lead the Wolverines. Brice is a 6-4 wing while Martel is a lightning quick, 5-10 point guard. Both averaged double digits a year ago. And, 6-3 sophomore DeShaun Huffman could be the next Dunbar star.
Lakota East is 0-3 in the OVHC. But, coach Adkins has requested to play the toughest team in the event each year. In 2014 the Thunderhawks lost to New Albany 60-57, lost in 2015 to Cleveland East Tech and current North Carolina State star Markel Johnson, and lost a heart-breaker to Indiana power Hamilton Southeastern in 2016.
Dunbar will be making its first appearance since the inaugural event in 2014. In one the most exciting OVHC games to date, then Ohio State bound A.J. Harris hit a three-pointer to give Dunbar a thrilling win over a Pickerington Central team with five future Division I college players.