A perfect season lifted Central Catholic to the top of The Blade's girls basketball poll in Division I.
And it took a perfect season to give Oak Harbor the prime position in Division II in a spirited race, something that was a common theme for the lower three divisions as well.
The Rockets, coached by Dick Heller, finished 20-0 to overtake Ottawa-Glandorf, which finished second in the final state poll before losing to Kalida last week. That gave a narrow edge to Oak Harbor, which was 11th in the final state rankings.
In Division III Margaretta, coached by Tim Tucker, claimed its first Blade poll title since 1999.
But the 17-3 Polar Bears, who were ranked seventh in the state poll, were challenged by four other teams with three or fewer losses: Archbold, which was 10th in the final state poll, Elmwood, Liberty-Benton and Patrick Henry, which was ranked 15th in the last poll.
Another exciting race took place in Division IV, where New Riegel won in a tight race with Miller City and McComb for the top spot.
The Blue Jackets, under coach Steve Lucius, were rated 10th in the state poll and narrowly edged Miller City, which tied for 12th in the state in perhaps the deepest division.
How deep was Division IV? Kalida was ranked eighth in the final state poll yet finished tied with Stryker for The Blade poll's fifth spot.
The only division without controversy in The Blade poll was Division I, where Central Catholic claimed its sixth consecutive poll title with ease.
The Irish, the state's top-ranked team, won their seventh consecutive City League championship.
Central, coached by Steve Pfahler, has beaten all four other teams ranked in the top five at least once this season.
Blade Poll winners:
DIVISION I: 1997-Southview; 1998-Central Catholic; 1999-Central Catholic; 2000-Central Catholic; 2001-Central Catholic; 2002-Central Catholic; 2003-Central Catholic.
DIVISION II: 1997-Clyde; 1998-Wauseon; 1999-Eastwood; 2000-Eastwood; 2001-Eastwood; 2002-Eastwood; 2003-Oak Harbor.
DIVISION III: 1997-Wauseon; 1998-Patrick Henry; 1999-Margaretta; 2000-Huron and Wauseon; 2001-Liberty Center; 2002-Liberty-Benton; 2003-Margaretta.
DIVISION IV: 1997-Hopewell-Loudon; 1998-Kalida; 1999-Hopewell-Loudon; 2000-Van Buren; 2001-Ottoville; 2002-Patrick Henry; 2003-New Riegel.
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