Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018
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High School

Blade high school basketball polls debut for season

2017 state runners-up Wauseon, Notre Dame among No. 1 teams

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    Maelyn Kizer and Notre Dame Academy sit atop the initial Blade poll for Division I on the girls side.

    THE BLADE/LORI KING
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    Houston King (14) and the St. John's Jesuit Titans are the top team in the first Blade boys basketball Division I poll of the season.

    THE BLADE/KURT STEISS
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The first Blade boys and girls high school basketball polls are out to ring in the new year, and four defending divisional poll champions retain their top spots from the end of last season.

Three of those holdovers are in the boys’ polls, with St. John’s Jesuit (6-2) sitting atop in Division I, Wauseon (9-0) at No. 1 in D-II, and Toledo Christian (8-1) filling the top spot in D-IV.

The lone No. 1 girls team that was a 2016-17 Blade Poll winner is Notre Dame (7-2) in D-I.

St. John’s, under 39th-year head coach Ed Heintschel (697-111 career record), recently split its four games at a holiday tournament in San Diego, but is 4-0 against Ohio teams. The Titans are defending Three Rivers Athletic Conference champions and reached a regional final last season.

Wauseon, under coach Chad Burt, is unbeaten this season after finishing 27-2 as D-II state runners-up in 2016-17. The defending Northwest Ohio Athletic League champions currently are the only D-II team in the Blade’s defined poll area with a winning record.

Cardinal Stritch (9-1) of the Toledo Area Athletic Conference is off to its best start in school history under fourth-year coach Jamie Kachmarik, who has guided the Cardinals to two regional appearances in his three years.

The Cards, whose only loss came against D-I Central Catholic, are No. 1 in Division III.

Toledo Christian’s only loss came against Cardinal Stritch in TAAC play, and coach Dave McWhinnie’s Eagles pick up where they left off at the end of the 2016-17 season, in the No. 1 spot in D-IV.

On the girls side, Notre Dame (7-2) has dropped two games to top-notch competition from outside northwest Ohio (Dublin Coffman and Homestead, Ind.), but coach Travis Galloway’s Eagles remain the this area’s top program until some local team can prove otherwise.

Notre Dame, the 2017 D-I state runner-up, has reached the state final four five of the past six seasons, and has won or shared all six TRAC championships since the conference began play in 2011-12.

Rogers (6-0), led by the area’s marquee player in junior guard Zia Cooke, will be the D-II girls team to beat all year long under coach Lamar Smith. The Rams have a much-anticipated showdown Monday against Notre Dame at Rogers.

In D-III, perennial Blanchard Valley Conference power Liberty-Benton (8-1) opened the season with eight consecutive wins before dropping a 58-53 decision to D-II state power Ottawa-Glandorf.

Coach Nate Irwin’s Eagles edged out 2017 Blade Poll champion Archbold (8-1), which handed D-I Perrysburg its only loss of the season last week.

In D-IV, Fremont St. Joseph (9-2) takes the No. 1 spot in the first Blade poll under coach Mallory Holliday.

Boys

Division I

1. St. John's 6-2

2. Southview 7-0

3. Northview 8-0

4. Whitmer 6-2

5. St. Francis 7-2

Division II

1. Wauseon 9-0

Division III

1. Cardinal Stritch 9-1

2. Woodmore 6-1

3. Archbold 5-2

4. Genoa 5-3

5. Oak Harbor 6-2

Division IV

1. Toledo Christian 8-1

2. Maumee Valley 6-2

3. Pettisville 7-1

4. North Baltimore 4-1

5. Fayette 6-3

Girls

Division I

1. Notre Dame 7-2

2. Whitmer 7-2

3. Perrysburg 7-1

4. Southview 7-1

5. Fremont Ross 8-2

Division II

1. Rogers 6-0

2. Central Catholic 7-1

3. Oak Harbor 8-3

4. Lake 7-2

5. Napoleon 7-4

Division III

1. Liberty-Benton 8-1

2. Archbold 8-1

3. Delta 8-0

4. Elmwood 7-1

5. Otsego 5-3

Division IV

1. Fremont St. Joseph 9-2

2. Arcadia 6-2

3. Toledo Christian 7-2

4. North Baltimore 6-2

5. Holgate 7-2

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

Contact Steve Junga at: sjunga@theblade.com419-724-6461, or on Twitter @JungaBlade.

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