The “first” part of the high school girls basketball season is starting to draw to a close, and the “second” season is starting to take shape.
That second season is the Ohio state tournament, which begins locally on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at various sites around the area. Yesterday the pairings for all four divisions were announced, and there are plenty of interesting matchups.
In the Division I bracket Central Catholic, 15-1 on the season, will open against Scott (7-7) at Clay on Feb. 21. If the Fighting Irish win they would then play the winner of the Libbey-Bowsher contest for the right to advance to the Lake district.
Northview, Notre Dame and Southview all are in the sectional to be played at Central. Notre Dame and Southview, both 13-3 on the season, will play one another if both win their opening games. The winner of that potential matchup would then possibly face 15-1 Northview, which is in a bracket with Start, Whitmer and Clay.
Another interesting matchup comes from the Lima Shawnee sectional, where Perrysburg (12-4) and Lima Senior (10-6) face one another. The winner of that contest then faces Celina, currently 16-1 on the season, and the winner of that battle may face Findlay, which also is 16-1.
In Division II Clyde, which is 17-0, opens at Willard on Feb. 20 against Fostoria (2-14). If the Fliers win they would then play 1-15 Norwalk on Feb. 24 for the right to advance to the Old Fort district.
Eastwood opens up against Swanton on Feb. 20 at the Ottawa Hills sectional. If the 16-2 Eagles win they would then play Rossford on Feb. 24 in the sectional final.
The Division III Maumee sectional may be the toughest area sectional. One of the first-round matchups there will pit top-seeded Liberty Center, now 15-2 on the season, against 12-6 Woodmore on Feb. 20. The winner of that game probably will play Evergreen, currently 13-2.
The Division IV bracket has several interesting matchups. One of the toughest may be in Bryan, where Edgerton, Montpelier and Hilltop are all bracketed together. The Locomotives, currently 12-4 on the season, must beat Hicksville on Feb. 20 to set up a battle with 13-5 Hilltop on Feb. 24.
The winner of that game probably will play Edgerton, which currently is 13-3, at Archbold on March 1. Archbold also may be the site of a second tough contest that day if both Holgate and Maumee Valley advance through the Wauseon sectional. Both teams enter this week with 16-2 records on the season.
Three of the top teams in the Putnam County League may converge at Elida on March 1 if they are able to advance through the sectionals. The Ottawa-Glandorf sectional features Pandora-Gilboa, 13-2 on the season and second in the PCL, and third-place Fort Jennings, which is 13-4, in opposite brackets.
First-place Ottoville, ranked fifth in the state and 15-1 on the season, must advance through the Paulding sectional to reach Elida.
And the Fostoria district may feature a battle between Ottawa Hills, the leader of the Toledo Area Athletic Conference and 16-2 on the season, against Gibsonburg, which is 15-3 overall and among the top teams in the Suburban Lakes League.
But all of this is in the future - the “first” part of the season isn't quite finished. And this week's schedule features some interesting matchups.
One of the best may come this Saturday, when Central hosts perennial Division I power Pickerington starting at 6 p.m. Central remains atop this week's Blade poll, with Findlay and Northview the chief contender.
Clyde and Ottoville retained their hold on the top sports in the poll in divisions II and IV, respectively. The only change came in Division III, where Patrick Henry's loss to Liberty Center on Thursday dropped the Patriots from first to second in the poll.
Liberty-Benton now claims the top spot, with Liberty Center in third. Patrick Henry and Liberty Center will renew their Henry County rivalry at Liberty Center Thursday night. The Patriots and Tigers both are tied with Montpelier for the top spot in the league standings at 5-1.
The Northern Lakes League title may be decided Thursday night, when Northview hosts Perrysburg. The Lady Kats are 10-0 in the league with a game at Maumee tomorrow; a victory over Perrysburg, which is 8-2 heading into a home game with Springfield tomorrow, would give Northview the crown.
Thursday also will feature a good matchup in the SLL when Gibsonburg travels to Lakota.
And Ottawa Hills looks to finish an unbeaten run through the TAAC this week. After playing at Emmanuel Baptist tonight the Green Bears will host Maumee Valley on Thursday. Ottawa Hills is 8-0 in the league, while Maumee Valley is 8-1 after losing to the Green Bears on Jan. 18.
The boys basketball game between Maumee and Bowling Green that was originally scheduled to be played last Friday instead will be played tonight at Bowling Green, with the junior varsity game starting at 6 p.m.
The game was postponed Friday by a power failure at Bowling Green High School.