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Published: Friday, 1/9/2004

Cowboys on top in first Blade poll

Ottawa-Glandorf (7-0) is the only poll champion from last season to be back in the top spot in this season s first Blade boys basketball poll as the Titans top the Division II rankings.

In Division I, coach Leroy Bates Libbey Cowboys (6-1) are No. 1, thanks in part to two big December victories - a 78-66 win over St. John s Jesuit and a last-second, 67-65 triumph over Columbus Brookhaven, the 2002 D-I state champion and 2003 state runner-up. St. John s (7-3), last year s Blade poll champ, is No. 2.

Coach Dave Sweet s Ottawa-Glandorf squad - denied a state semifinal berth the last two years only by regional losses Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary with LeBron James - is off and running again behind talented senior twins Tim and Eric Pollitz. Unbeatens Port Clinton (7-0) and Wauseon (6-0) are poised to move up if O-G should falter.

In Division III, coach Steve Williman s 8-0 Liberty-Benton Eagles are No. 1. Archbold (6-2), with losses only to unbeaten D-II teams Wauseon and Ottawa-Glandorf, is No. 2.

The Division IV leader, Arlington (7-1), wasn t even in the top 5 to close last year. But in what promises to be a wide-open chase, the Red Devils take the No. 1 spot in the first of nine weekly polls thanks mainly to their 63-58 win over current No. 3 Van Buren (6-1).

- STEVE JUNGA



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