CLEVELAND, Ohio – A top-five team from the start, St. Ignatius closes the regular season at No. 1 in the cleveland.com boys basketball rankings.
The Wildcats began the year ranked No. 4 and took over the top spot Jan. 23, remaining there for the last month. Preseason No. 1 Lorain is fourth. Three teams jump into the final rankings, including 21-1 Woodridge of the Portage Trail Conference.
The boys basketball season is under way around the state and begins this week in Northeast Ohio with sectional play. Here is final Top 25 of the season:
1. St. Ignatius (17-5)
Where they stand: The Wildcats, seeded No. 1 in the Strongsville District tournament, own signature wins against No. 2 St. Vincent-St. Mary and No. 3 St. Edward — twice — en route to being crowned the Cleveland area’s top team for the regular season. Their losses included defending Division I state champion Westerville South on the road in overtime and a season opener vs. Cleveland Heights, which they avenged late in the season.
Last week: Ranked No. 1, beat Benedictine 81-80 in 2OT on Feb. 21, beat Kenston 76-65 on Feb. 24.
2. St. Vincent-St. Mary (17-5)
Where they stand: Senior guards Jayvon Graves and Jon Williams have the Fighting Irish rolling into the Division II Canton District with 11 wins in their last 12 games. The 100-62 loss to Trotwood-Madison a day before Flyin’ to the Hoop in Dayton could be the turnaround moment for this group.
Last week: Ranked No. 2, beat North Canton Hoover 79-68 on Feb. 21, beat Canton McKinley 72-54 on Feb. 24.
3. St. Edward (17-5)
Where they stand: The Eagles might have turned a corner with a four-game win streak that includes Central Catholic on the road and a home victory vs. Michigan power East English Village Prep. Coach Eric Flannery recently inserted freshmen Grant Huffman and Devontae Blanton into the starting lineup, while utilizing high-energy players Demetrius Terry and Emmett Chambers off the bench.
Last week: Ranked No. 3, beat East English Village Prep 73-56 on Feb. 21, beat Euclid 82-52 on Feb. 25.
4. Lorain (20-2)
Where they stand: The Titans take a 12-game win streak into the Division I Elyria Catholic District, where they are the top seed. Lorain finished eighth in the final Associated Press state poll, but finish behind St. Edward in these rankings for a 13-point home loss to the Eagles.
Last week: Ranked No. 4, beat Central Catholic 84-71 on Feb. 21, beat Cleveland Heights 64-61 on Feb. 24.
5. Archbishop Hoban (20-2)
Where they stand: The North Coast League Blue Division champions lost only at Columbus St. Charles Prep and STVM — in overtime — and are the top seed in the Division I Copley District.
Last week: Ranked No. 5, beat Youngstown Ursuline 61-49 on Feb. 21, beat Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin 78-33 on Feb. 24.
6. Garfield Heights (18-4)
Where they stand: The Bulldogs closed with one of their top wins against Hoover, giving them some more momentum into the Division I Solon District.
Last week: Ranked No. 6, Akron North 98-48 on Feb. 21, beat North Canton Hoover 73-67 on Feb. 24.
7. Copley (21-1)
Where they stand: The regular-season win streak is over at 46 games, and Copley will be seeded fourth in the Division I Canton District. The loss to Green in the finale came on the road vs. a team tested from the Federal League, but the win against Wooster handed that squad — seeded third in Canton — just its second defeat.
Last week: Ranked No. 7, beat Wooster 86-53 on Feb. 21, lost to Green 59-57 on Feb. 24.
8. Benedictine (17-5)
Where they stand: Yes, Benedictine lost last week. It came on the road to the No. 1-ranked team and without starting guard Chris Jefferson. That’s enough to push up the No. 1 seed in the Division II Stow District.
Last week: Ranked No. 9, lost to St. Ignatius 81-80 in 2OT on Feb. 21, beat Walsh Jesuit 66-53 on Feb. 24.
9. Villa Angela-St. Joseph (16-6)
Where they stand: The Vikings closed with a one-point loss at Warren JFK, a Division IV contender, but they still won an outright NCL White Division title. VASJ also just beat JFK by 12 at home on Feb. 10 and owns a road victory at No. 2 STVM. Coach Babe Kwasniak’s outfit is the top seed for the Division III Garfield Heights District tournament.
Last week: Ranked No. 8, beat Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas 65-51 on Feb. 24, lost to Warren JFK 70-69 on Feb. 25.
10. Elyria (18-4)
Where they stand: A comeback from 17 points down saved Elyria’s hopes for a Greater Cleveland Conference title and could become a galvanizing moment for a team seeded No. 2 in the Division I Elyria Catholic tournament behind Lorain.
Last week: Ranked No. 11, beat Shaker Heights 66-57 on Feb. 21, beat Solon 76-73 on Feb. 24.
11. Mentor (17-5)
Where they stand: An impressive close to the regular season won Mentor a share of the GCC with Elyria, which it beat 61-49 on Feb. 17. Those two split their regular-season matchups, which keeps the Cardinals from overtaking them in these rankings. However, wins against Cornerstone and Medina should make them a scary matchup in the Division I Euclid District. Bob Krizancic’s crew is seeded second.
Last week: Ranked No. 14, beat Cornerstone Christian 92-90 on Feb. 20, beat Medina 77-60 on Feb. 24, beat SPIRE Institute 95-79 on Feb. 25.
12. Solon (15-7)
Where they stand: The top seed of that Euclid District goes to the Comets, who won it last year on a Cinderella run to the Cleveland State regionals.
Last week: Ranked No. 12, lost to Elyria 76-73 on Feb. 24.
13. Cornerstone Christian (16-6)
Where they stand: The highest-ranking Division IV team, defending state champion and top seed at Orwell, Cornerstone lost a high-scoring test at Mentor in the regular-season finale.
Last week: Ranked No. 13, lost to Mentor 92-90 on Feb. 20.
14. Maple Heights (17-5)
Where they stand: The No. 2 seed in Solon’s Division I tournament, the Mustangs have hit a snag entering the postseason. They lost a high-scoring affair at Warren Harding and suffered an upset to Lake Erie League rival Warrensville Heights.
Last week: Ranked No. 10, lost to Warren Harding 100-88 on Feb. 21, lost to Warrensville Heights 47-41 on Feb. 22, beat Bedford 78-53 on Feb. 24.
15. Central Catholic (14-8)
Where they stand: The Ironmen are seeded third in the Division II Stow District behind Benedictine and Woodridge, but one of the area’s toughest schedules — including wins against Holy Name and Garfield Heights — lands them here.
Last week: Ranked No. 15, lost to Lorain 84-71 on Feb. 21, beat Youngstown Valley Christian 91-52 on Feb. 24.
16. Holy Name (19-3)
Where they stand: Three straight victories has helped Holy Name rebound from that 89-67 Central Catholic loss. Coach Jeff Huber’s squad is the top seed in the Division II North Ridgeville District.
Last week: Ranked No. 16, beat Lake Catholic 63-57 on Feb. 21, beat Rhodes 68-47 on Feb. 24.
17. Ellet (18-4)
Where they stand: The top seed in the Division I Alliance District, Ellet showed its grit in a close season finale vs. state-ranked Massillon Jackson.
Last week: Ranked No. 17, lost to Massillon Jackson 77-68 on Feb. 24.
18. Cleveland Heights (12-9)
Where they stand: Like Medina and Brunswick, two teams that were ranked ahead of the Tigers last week, this squad is struggling as the postseason arrives. However, Cleveland Heights once again pushed Lorain. No team in the LEL could beat the area power, and only North Canton Hoover and St. Edward managed it this season. That’s enough to elevate Cleveland Heights, the third seed at Euclid, up two spots.
Last week: Ranked No. 20, beat Bedford 78-55 on Feb. 21, lost to Lorain 64-61 on Feb. 24.
19. Medina (15-7)
Where they stand: The Bees are seeded second behind Hoban in the Division I Copley District. They have dropped four straight games, three to ranked teams and a fourth to Shaker Heights, which hasn’t been at full strength all year.
Last week: Ranked No. 18, lost to Mentor 77-60 on Feb. 24.
20. Brunswick (15-7)
Where they stand: The Blue Devils also lost late to Shaker Heights, which could be a force as the third seed in Solon.
Last week: Ranked No. 19, lost to Shaker Heights 61-50 on Feb. 24.
21. Lutheran East (13-9)
Where they stand: Lutheran East moves up a few spots thanks to a handful of losses by teams ranked here. The Falcons are the top seed in the Division IV Barberton District, looking for a return to regionals.
Last week: Ranked No. 25, idle.
22. East Tech (16-6)
Where they stand: The Senate League champions return to ranked status after a week off but a resume that warrants their spot. They played the first half of the season without standout senior guard Isaiah Washington, but picked up steam in the second half — pushing Cincinnati Taft and scoring victories against Orange and Glenville. A 67-61 loss Feb. 17 to Lutheran East is all that bumped them a week ago. The Scarabs open sectional play Tuesday vs. Revere and are seeded fourth in the Division II Stow District.
Last week: Not ranked, idle.
23. Elyria Catholic (16-6)
Where they stand: The Panthers closed strong with convincing win at Clearview and will be the second seed in the Division III Garfield Heights District. They shared the Great Lakes Conference with Holy Name, splitting the season matchups against the Green Wave and twice beating a talented Bay team. There’s also that loss at the buzzer to No. 10 Elyria.
Last week: Not ranked, beat Clearview 92-68 on Feb. 21.
24. Stow (17-5)
Where they stand: The Suburban League National Division champions closed with an 11-point loss at Green. They are the fourth seed at Copley.
Last week: Ranked No. 22, beat Massillon Washington 57-56 on Feb. 21, beat North Royalton 51-48 on Feb. 24, lost to Green 56-45 on Feb. 25.
25. Woodridge (21-1)
Where they stand: The Bulldogs have been a model of consistency, which helps them grab the final spot. Woodridge is seeded second in the Division II Stow District after winning the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division.
Last week: Not ranked, beat Akron Garfield 88-68 on Feb. 21.
Wadsworth (16-6, was No. 21), Brush (18-4, was No. 23), Clearview (18-4, was No. 24).
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