AKRON, Ohio – Massillon Jackson’s Kyle Young and Logan Hill were not teammates until high school.
They attended the same school growing up, but Jackson had multiple middle school teams — the purple and gold — which split their two biggest standouts and this year’s senior class in half.
“We’ve got eight seniors,” Hill said Friday after a 77-68 win at Ellet, the No. 17 team in the cleveland.com Top 25. “Half of us had been split up until high school. We always had two teams, sometimes three for travel. Just getting everybody together, especially this senior year has been a great experience.”
Jackson (20-2) has its best shot in four years with Hill and Young to reach Columbus and the state’s final four in Division I. Each of the last three years, the Polar Bears have fallen short.Which Division I No. 1 seed has the best shot at Columbus?
- Regional semifinals in 2014.
- District finals in 2015.
- District finals again last year.
This time Jackson is the fourth-ranked team in the state, according to The Associated Press. They are the best team in Northeast Ohio, according to NEOhioSpotlight.com. If Jackson lives up to its No. 1 seed in the Canton District, it will reach an Akron Regional that includes teams from Cleveland’s west side into Lorain County, the south toward Medina County and Toledo.
Of the eight districts in the northern half of the state, seven are toward the northeast. Vote in the poll above and to the right on which No. 1 seed in Division I you think has the best shot at reaching Columbus.
It’s something Massillon Jackson has aimed to reach for a while.
“To go 20-2 with this group, man it’s been a great year,” coach Tim Debevec said. “And now our goal is to get to Columbus.”
Want more district basketball? Previews from cleveland.com begin Saturday with the Division IV preview.
RELATED: District seeding takeaways.
A NIGHT OF FIRSTS
Two teams experienced something that evaded them at least 20 times this season.
For Copley it was a loss.
The Indians’ 46-game win streak in the regular season came to a close Friday at Green. Miles Demuesy's last-second shot lifted Green to a 59-57 win. Copley vied for back-to-back regular seasons with 22-0 records. Coincidentally, Green completed a 22-0 regular season two years ago.
Meanwhile, Euclid celebrated a win.
Coach Jonathan Harris’ Panthers ended their skid at 19 games with a 69-50 win at Strongsville. Freshman guard Garvin Clarke scored 27 points, and Euclid jumped out to an early lead — 43-22 by halftime — to defeat the Mustangs.
Euclid has one more regular-season game Saturday when it plays host to No. 3 St. Edward.
CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY’S SCOREBOARD
Green hands Copley its 1st loss of season 59-57 on a last second shot by Miles Demuesy pic.twitter.com/S2UwZyeHid— Green Bulldogs (@Green_Bulldogs) February 25, 2017
Avon and Avon Lake entered the night tied atop the SWC standings with Olmsted Falls, Berea-Midpark and Westlake just a game back. An Olmsted Falls win would have created a three-way share of the crown with Westlake, which edged Berea-Midpark, 53-49.
Instead, the Eagles flew away with the title for themselves after Ben Yurkovich’s free throws with 10 seconds left and a pair of missed 3s by the Bulldogs.
Just a few miles away in Avon Lake, North Olmsted ended the Shoremen’s hopes behind 20 points from Josh Hufstetler and 17 by Jack Kelly.
Victory is sweet! Proud of these young men and their coaches. Avon- great support tonight! #champs #eagleproud #SWC pic.twitter.com/ZPBz7eA8wm— KDBuller (@kd_buller) February 25, 2017
• The Greater Cleveland Conference titles remained a split, but No. 11 Elyria needed a 17-point comeback to win in overtime at No. 12 Solon and seal its piece of that title.
No. 14 Mentor made its title win less dramatic by jumping ahead early at No. 18 Medina and winning, 77-60. Four Cardinals scored in double figures, led by Manning Trubisky’s 18 points. Chad Blessing added 15, while Jack Korsok scored 14 and Matt Koski had 11.
Elyria waited for a return home to cut down its nets.
When @EHS_BoysBball wins a share of conference on the road, you cut the nets when you get home... pic.twitter.com/rCqx7IuDzE— Elyria Athletics (@ElyriaAthletics) February 25, 2017
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Avon sophomore guard Ryan Maloy is the cleveland.com Boys Basketball Player of the Week, voted by readers who chose among seven “Game Ball” candidates.
Before the Eagles won the outright SWC title, Maloy kept their hopes alive last week with 17 points in a 67-56 win against Berea-Midpark.
Maloy received 11,136 votes, almost 53 percent of the 21,025 total. Clearview senior guard Deuce Martin finished second in the vote of last week’s top performances. He received 8,859 votes or 42.1 percent.
Northeast Ohio teams wrap up the regular season Saturday with a few games. Click here for the schedule.
Looking ahead, sectional play is set to begin as part of the district tournaments. Check back each day from now until Tuesday for division-by-division previews.
Saturday: Division IV preview
Sunday: Division III preview
Monday: Division II preview
Tuesday: Division I preview.
CLICK HERE FOR AN INDEX OF DISTRICT TOURNAMENTS.
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