Bowsher players celebrate after defeating St. John’s to capture the school’s first district title. The Rebels (24-3) also won their first City League championship.
The City League may have taken a blow three years ago when seven member schools left the six Toledo Public Schools teams behind to form the Three Rivers Athletic Conference.
But those departures haven’t damaged the strength of the TPS boys basketball programs. Last season Rogers advanced to the Division I state championship game, and this season Bowsher enjoyed its best year ever in winning its first City title and advancing to its first regional.
The Rebels (24-3, 9-1 CL), ranked No. 8 in the final D-I state poll, beat Rogers 81-65 to win the CL playoff championship, then topped St. John’s Jesuit 63-48 to win their first district title. The prior record for boys basketball wins at Bowsher was 17.
Nate Allen, a All-Ohio first-team selection and district player of the year, led a strong senior class of players for Rebels coach Joe Guerrero, who was named D-I state co-coach of the year.
Central Catholic (20-4), which was ranked No. 10 in D-I, went 13-1 in conference play for coach Jim Welling to win the TRAC championship. The Irish were led by 6-foot-5 senior point guard DeShone Kizer, who earned All-Ohio third team and was the TRAC player of the year.
Perrysburg (21-4, 11-3) shared the Northern Lakes League championship with Springfield (16-6, 11-3) and advanced to a D-I district final before falling to Mansfield Senior.
Coach Dave Boyce’s Yellow Jackets were led by All-Ohio second-team pick Nick Moschetti, who was the NLL player of the year. Coach Stan Joplin’s Blue Devils were led by senior Manny Durden in bringing Springfield its first league title share since 1997.
Lake (21-2, 13-1), ranked No. 6 in the final Division II state poll, won an outright Northern Buckeye Conference crown, edging runner-up Rossford in overtime on the road and in a tight battle at Lake.
Coach Ryan Bowen’s Flyers, who set a school record for wins, were paced by two juniors — all-district guard Connor Bowen (Ryan’s son), who was the NBC player of the year, and Jared Rettig, who was also an All-NBC first-teamer.
Ottawa Hills (22-2, 14-0) ran the table in the Toledo Area Athletic Conference behind first-team Division IV All-Ohioan Geoff Beans, who was the TAAC and district player of the year. Coach John Lindsay’s Green Bears were ranked No. 5 in the final D-IV state poll, losing to eventual state champion Convoy Crestview 49-26 in a regional semifinal.
Archbold (18-5, 7-1) shared the Northwest Ohio Athletic League title with Bryan (13-9, 7-1). Coach Doug Krauss’s Blue Streaks were led by junior Luke Fisher, who was All-Ohio third team in Division III. Bryan was paced by senior Thomas Martin, a second-team all-district selection.
In Michigan, Whiteford (19-5) was runner-up in the Tri-County Conference and reached a Michigan Class C regional final led by high-scoring all-state player Colin Lake.
The sharp-shooting 5-7 guard averaged 31.8 points per game, a four-year average of 23.3. Six times this season he scored 40 or more points, including 47 in his final game, a 91-61 loss to Detroit Consortium in the regional final.
— Steve Junga