Monday, February 19, 2001
Boys sectional tournament preview
Area powers start road to Columbus
By Dave Schutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Winton Woods is The Enquirer's coaches poll champion following its 20-0 season, but beginning Tuesday, those credentials won't mean much.
It's like starting over, Warriors coach David Lumpkin said referring to the sectional boys basketball tournament.
Undefeated for the second consecutive season, the pressure will be on Winton Woods to avoid another early postseason exit. The Warriors lost to Hamilton in the second game of the sectional last year.
A lot of people spoke about us getting beat by Hamilton in last year's tournament, Lumpkin said. They said we were mediocre, but Hamilton had a tremendous tournament run and played good basketball at the right time.
The road to the final four in Columbus will be tough, not only in Division I but also in Division II and IV where the majority of the state's top 10 teams are from Southwestern Ohio.
In my opinion, any of six or seven (Division I) teams from Cincinnati could win the regional and go to state, said Moeller coach Carl Kremer, whose Crusaders won the Greater Catholic League South championship.
We have a great group of seniors and we're pretty confident. I truly believe our league is the best in Ohio and to win it is an accomplishment.
Another GCLS team to watch is St. Xavier, the defending Division I state champion.
Although the Bombers (14-6) finished in a second-place tie with Elder in the GCLS, two of their key players, Jordan Cornett and Steve Callahan, have been playing hurt and will again in the tournament.
Western Hills, ranked No.2 in the final poll, brings a 10-game winning streak into the sectional.
Due to a request by the players, Western Hills drew into the same bracket with Winton Woods and could play the Warriors for the Oxford upper bracket championship on Friday, March 2.
If it was my choice, we wouldn't be in the bracket with Winton Woods because I have a lot of respect for David (Lumpkin) and the program, Western Hills coach Lannis Timmons said.
The kids believe in each other and that's where they wanted to play. I gave them the opportunity to pick and that's why we're in with Winton Woods.
Elder is another team that seems to excel at tournament time. Moeller's Kremer calls coach Joe Schoenfeld's team, which twice upset the state's top-ranked team (St. Ignatius and St. Xavier), dangerous.
Another contender is Oak Hills, the Greater Miami Conference champion, and runner-up Hamilton. And how about Loveland, a team that finished with a 19-1 record but was snubbed at the seeding meeting?
Another question to be answered is how McNicholas will respond in the Division II tournament without veteran coach Jerry Doerger, suspended this season by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Traditionally, the Rockets play a schedule filled with Division I opponents, then make a deep postseason run.
Although Kettering Alter would appear to be the team to beat in Division II, Roger Bacon, Purcell Marian or Clermont Northeastern could make a run.
In Division III at Sycamore, Cincinnati Hills League rivals Madeira, Reading and Mariemont are the teams to beat.
Ripley, the No.4 seed, could also challenge.
Six of the top 10 teams in the Associated Press Division IV poll are from Southwestern Ohio, including Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy and Cincinnati Country Day.
This is an unbelievable region, said CCD coach Howard Brownstein, whose Indians went 19-1. In my opinion, this is the strongest field in the 16 years I've been at the school.
Besides CCD and CHCA, No.1-ranked Maria Stein Marion Local, Cedarville, South Charleston Southeastern, Minster and Reedsville Eastern are entered in the Southwestern tournament.
CCD's core of six seniors led the team to a 19-1 record, tying the 1992 team for best in school history.
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