’19 State Tourney Recap

24 Mar

Amari Davis

The 2018-2019 Ohio high school basketball season ended on Saturday evening with a bang, as not only were four State Champions crowned, but fans were treated to thrillers in both the D1 and D2 games. In D1, Cincinnati Moeller came from behind to closeout Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s, for the Crusaders second-straight State Title, as Big Moe finished the season 29-0. Next, in D2, Trotwood Madison won the first title in school history, defeating Columbus South in one of the most memorable, and fast-paced, games in recent history. In the small school divisions, Columbus Harvest Prep defeated Cleveland Lutheran East for the D3 title, while Convoy Crestview handled Berlin Hiland in the D4 finale. As always, the State Tournament was filled with many great individual performances; here’s a look at the key standouts in our eyes from this past weekend…

Deuce McBride – ’19 PG Cincinnati Moeller: McBride, a West Virginia signee, capped off a distinguished career with 16 points in the final and 13 points in the semi-final, as the senior ended his career with just one loss as a starter, as well as back-to-back D1 State Titles. One of the most dominant winners we’ve seen in Ohio in the nearly a decade we’ve been doing this, McBride continued to show throughout the final four that he can control a game while hardly ever taking a shot. Whether it’s his on-ball defense, rebounding, ability to create for others as a passer, or his consistent shooting stroke on mid-range pull-up jumpers, McBride had as good of a senior season as anyone in Ohio, and certainly cemented his legendary status in his final two games.

Ben Roderick – ’19 SF Olentangy Liberty: The only senior on this not presently committed to a school, Roderick had the most on the line individually on Friday night, and put together a valiant effort, scoring 25 points in a loss to Akron STVSM. A smooth slashing guard who can make shots, create with his strong body and finish around the rim with touch, Roderick has some pure scoring instincts that coaches cannot teach, and his will alone kept Liberty in the game, as his team featured limited scoring options outside of shots that Roderick personally created. Immediately following the game, Roderick received new scholarship offers from Saint Bonaventure and Ohio University’s new staff, as the 6’5 scoring wing will likely be the most highly recruited 2019 prospect in Ohio still on the board.

Amari Davis – ’19 SG Trotwood Madison: Playing in the State Tournament for the third year in a row, Davis was finally able to help his team break on through and capture a title in his senior campaign, as the athletic lefty slashing guard scored 33 points in a blowout win over Akron Buchtel on Thursday and then again led Trotwood in the final, scoring 24 points in that matchup. Davis, a Green Bay signee, is not only a dynamic athlete, but a prospect who also brings effort, defense and energy to the floor, as he’s a deadly transition player who thrives in Trotwood’s unbelievably fast tempo. Capable of scoring in bunches, especially slashing to his left-hand, this title might be enough to put Davis in consideration as to arguably the most accomplished high school player in Trotwood history (along with 2007 graduate Chris Wright).

Javin Etzler – ’19 SF/PF Convoy Crestview: With his team trailing at the half to Richmond Heights in the semifinal, the talk of the arena was that Etzler, a Miami (OH) signee, had not scored a single point yet. The talk after the game was regarding just how much Etzler had scored, as the 6’7 forward poured in 25 points to lead the come-from-behind victory, as Etzler made skilled play after skilled play around the rim, showcasing his ability to shoot the ball as well as to operate out of the mid-post. In the finals, Etzler came out locked in and ready to go, finishing with a double-double (10 & 11) in a blowout Crestview victory.

Alec Pfriem – ’19 SG/SF Cincinnati Moeller: While there’s no denying that Deuce McBride was Moeller’s best all-around player and team MVP, Pfriem was, both this weekend and all season long, the Crusaders leading scorer, as the Bellarmine signee finished his career off with 19 points in the finals and 20 points in the semi-finals. A pure scoring guard with a great feel for the game and a knack for finishing at the basket, the Pfriem-McBride tandem will be talked about for years to come not only at Moeller, but throughout Ohio basketball, as Big Moe finished undefeated this year, undefeated in the state of Ohio last year, and back-to-back State Champions in Pfriem’s two years at the school.

Lunden McDay – ’19 SF Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s: A defensive workhorse who effects the game in many different ways, we’ve always been high on what McDay brings to the table; however, it was his scoring prowess early in the semifinal win over Olentangy Liberty, and the finals loss against Moeller, that stood out to us; with the Ohio University signee showing that he’s a versatile scorer to follow on the next level. McDay is both strong and mobile attacking the rim, while also being one of Ohio’s most polished players, in that he knows his roles and plays to his strengths on the offensive end. A former state champion from the 2017-2018 season, McDay will bring a winning mentality to Athens next year.

CJ Anthony – ’20 PG Columbus Harvest Prep: The first non-senior on this list was also our top performer in January at Flyin’ to the Hoop, as well as the AP Poll’s Ohio D3 Player of the Year; so, there should be no surprise that Anthony’s name appears in bold in this recap. As hard-nosed of a guard as you’ll find anywhere, Anthony dominated both the semifinal win over Cincinnati Purcell Marian and finals win over Cleveland Lutheran East, to lead Harvest Prep to their first ever State Title. While Anthony’s numbers of 17 points in the semis and 21 in the finals aren’t eye-popping, it was his overall point guard play, leadership and toughness as a strong guard who can make shots, defend and control tempo that all stood out to make him our top performer from this weekend out of the junior class. Already holding an NCAA D1 scholarship offer, don’t be surprised to see Anthony’s name mentioned again by this publication by the end of the circuit season.

Trevell Adams – ’20 PG Columbus South: While Anthony was already a known commodity state wide heading into this weekend, Adams was without question the pleasant surprise of the weekend out of the 2020 class, as the junior point guard showed heart, explosive athleticism, playmaking ability and some charisma, in leading Columbus South to the finals. Even though the Bulldogs came up just short in the title game, Adams was spectacular, scoring 16 points but also making impact defensive plays, finishing in transition and getting to every loose ball, as Adams’ ideal style of play coincides with the frantic pace that both South and Trotwood Madison love to play at. College coaches were already inquiring about Adams following the conclusion of his performance Saturday, as the 5’10 scoring point guard could become a big name in Ohio’s 2020 class on the recruiting scene.

Honorable Mention: Alex Williams (’21 PF Cincinnati Moeller), Max Land (’20 SF Cincinnati Moeller), Logan Duncomb (’21 C Cincinnati Moeller), Seth Wilson (’21 PG Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s), Chris Painter (’19 PG Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s), Malaki Branham (’21 SF Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s), Demetrius Terry (’19 SG Cleveland St. Edward), Grant Huffman (’20 SG Cleveland St. Edward), Devontae Blanton (’20 PF Cleveland St. Edward), Nick Nakasian (’19 SF Olentangy Liberty), Carl Blanton (’20 SG Trotwood Madison), Sammy Anderson (’20 PG Trotwood Madison), Treohn Watkins (’19 PG Columbus South), Marcus Johnson (’20 SF Columbus South), Chris Livingston (’22 SF Akron Buchtel), Ronnell Perie (’21 SG Akron Buchtel), Landen Russell (’21 SF Thornville Sheridan), Ethan Heller (’19 PG Thornville Sheridan), Javonta Lyons (’19 SG Cincinnati Purcell Marian), Bryan Warah (’19 PF Cincinnati Purcell Marian), Soul Hines (’19 SG Columbus Harvest Prep), Joey Holifield (’20 SG Toledo Cardinal Stritch), Little Anderson (’19 PF Toledo Cardinal Stritch), Nehemiah Benson (’20 PF Cleveland Lutheran East), EJ Farmer (’21 SG Cleveland Lutheran East), Andy Miller (’19 PG Berlin Hiland), Sam Habeger (’20 PF Berlin Hiland), Caden Niekamp (’19 C Saint Henry), Curtis Houston (’19 SG Richmond Heights), Gblahan Adio (’20 SG Richmond Heights), Wade Sheets (’19 SF Convoy Crestview), Kalen Etzler (’21 PF Convoy Crestview)

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