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Only 2 teams back at top of Blade polls

01/10/2017, 12:17am EST
By By STEVE JUNGA BLADE SPORTS WRITER

St. John’s, Wauseon boys No. 1 in 1st ranking


Joey Fretti (24) of St. John's Jesuit celebrates with fans after the Titans beat St. Francis de Sales Friday. St. John's is ranked first in Division I in the first Blade poll of the season. THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH

The first set of Blade high school basketball polls is out for the 2016-17 season, and only two of the eight teams that won poll titles last year begin this year still at No. 1 in their respective divisional rankings. Both are boys teams.

With its 52-42 road win Friday against previously unbeaten rival St. Francis de Sales, St. John’s Jesuit (8-2) retains its No. 1 ranking in Division I after winning that Blade poll title last year.

The Titans’ win was their 14th in a row against the Knights (9-1), and 13th straight in the rivalry by at least 10 points. St. Francis opens at No. 2 in the Blade rankings, followed by defending Northern Lakes League champion Northview (7-2).

The other 2016 poll champion opening this year’s poll at No. 1 is Wauseon (8-1) in Division II. The Indians, who shared the Northwest Ohio Athletic League title with Archbold last season, have reeled off seven consecutive wins since an early-season 59-52 loss at Genoa.

Heading up the boys Division III poll is preseason Northern Buckeye Conference favorite Eastwood (8-2), which earned a key 61-45 win against defending NBC co-champion Rossford on Thursday. The Eagles also won 58-43 at Bowling Green on Saturday.

Toledo Christian (8-2), which beat defending champion and preseason Toledo Area Athletic Conference champion Ottawa Hills 57-38 on the road Friday, is ranked No. 1 among Division IV boys.

The four girls polls all have new No. 1s to open the season.

In Division I, Start (8-1), which topped recent City League and D-II state power Rogers 55-44 Friday, holds the top spot over 2016 Blade Poll champ Notre Dame (9-3), which starts this year at No. 2.

Oak Harbor (10-1), which closed 2016 as Ohio’s second-ranked Division II team, displaces defending poll champ Rogers. The Rockets’ lone loss (53-48) came in overtime in a Sandusky Bay Conference (Bay Division) contest against Clyde.

In Division III, perennial NWOAL power Archbold (11-0) stayed unbeaten with a narrow 39-35 league win Friday against defending champion and poll champ Evergreen. That enabled the Blue Streaks to edge Blanchard Valley Conference power Liberty-Benton (9-1) for the top spot.

Pettisville (9-2) of the Buckeye Border Conference nosed out Arcadia (8-2) of the BVC for the top spot in Division IV.

Contact Steve Junga at: sjunga@theblade.com, or 419-724-6461 or on Twitter @JungaBlade.

Boys

Division I

1. St. John's 8-2

2. St. Francis 9-1

3. Northview 7-2

4. Perrysburg 6-3

5. Findlay 5-3

Division II

1. Wauseon 8-1

2. Rossford 8-3

3. Rogers 4-3

4. Bryan 7-4

Division III

1. Eastwood 8-2

2. Archbold 7-2

3. Elmwood 8-2

4. Liberty-Benton 7-3

5. Van Buren 7-1

Division IV

1. Toledo Christian 8-2

2. Maumee Valley 7-4

3. Holgate 6-2

4. Montpelier 7-5

5. Pettisville 6-4

Girls

Division I

1. Start 8-1

2. Notre Dame 9-3

3. Whitmer 7-3

4. Perrysburg 7-3

5. Anthony Wayne 8-2

Division II

1. Oak Harbor 10-1

2. Rogers 6-3

3. Lake 11-2

4. Bryan 6-4

5. Scott 6-4

Division III

1. Archbold 11-0

2. Liberty-Benton 9-1

3. Otsego 9-1

4. Delta 8-3

5. Woodmore 8-4

Division IV

1. Pettisville 9-2

2. Arcadia 8-2

3. North Baltimore 7-4

4. Danbury 8-3

5. Cardinal Stritch 9-3

The Blade poll ranks teams (.500 or better) from the City League, TRAC (except Lima Senior), NLL, NBC, TAAC, and NWOAL, plus Arcadia, Fayette, Fostoria St. Wendelin, Fremont St. Joseph, Holgate, Lakota, Liberty-Benton, McComb, Montpelier, North Baltimore, Oak Harbor, Pettisville, Port Clinton, and Van Buren.

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