Parity in a sport generally means that a tight dogfight will determine the league champion. The equality of talent guarantees an exciting chase for the championship.
And that is exactly the case in boys basketball in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League and the Sandusky Bay Conference. However, the races could not be more different.
In the NWOAL, four of the nine teams have just one league loss. But in the SBC, all eight teams have three or more losses in conference play.
Archbold (5-1) and Liberty Center (5-1) have a leg up on Wauseon (4-1) and Delta (3-1) in the NWOAL.
Huron (6-3) and Port Clinton (6-3) are tied for first in the SBC entering last night s games. Close behind are Clyde (5-4), Edison (5-4) and Oak Harbor (5-5), while Margaretta (4-6) and Sandusky Perkins (4-6) still have a shot.
Port Clinton s leading scorer is Justin Francis, a 6-7 junior averaging 15 points per game. Sophomores Justin Horne and Jason Cellier are scoring 11 points per game for the Redskins. Huron is paced by seniors Lucas Bauer (11.3) and Bob Isphording (9.8).
Archbold or Wauseon will end up with two league losses tonight when the Blue Streaks travel to Wauseon. Delta looks to be in position to pick up another league win when it plays tonight at Bryan (1-10, 0-5). Liberty Center does not play a conference game until Feb. 3 and then wraps up with contests against Patrick Henry (1-2) and Montpelier (2-3).
Things would have been cleared up a bit in the SBC last weekend. Huron was scheduled to play Edison and Port Clinton was to face Clyde, but both games were postponed due to inclement weather. The Tigers, who have beaten Port Clinton twice this year, play Clyde tonight. The Redskins travel to Edison tonight.
The NWOAL girls race looks like it is equally as close. But looks can also be deceiving.
Patrick Henry (13-1), which is ranked fifth in Division III, is undefeated in league play (6-0). But Swanton (11-3) and Archbold (8-7) both are right behind with 5-1 marks in the NWOAL.
The Patriots gave the Blue Streaks their first league loss last Friday and have already defeated the Bulldogs. Patrick Henry only has to play Montpelier (4-11) and Liberty Center (5-12).
The Patriots only loss came against Miller City, which is ranked fourth in Division IV.
Some of the best girls basketball in the area has taken place in Division IV. In the Midland Athletic League, New Riegel (12-2, 6-1) is ranked eighth in the state, and has handed Fremont St. Joseph (12-1, 5-1) its only loss.
New Riegel, which is ranked eighth, handed the Streaks their only loss. Fremont St. Joe is listed in others receiving votes in the poll.
Tiffin Calvert (6-1 MAL) upset New Riegel on Monday when Amanda Ritzler tallied 38 points. Leanne Lucius is averaging 15.7 points for the Blue Jackets.
Hopewell-Loudon (4-0) also is in the thick of things. Calvert hosts St. Joe in the season finale.
The nine-team Rossford Invitational Tournament will be held tomorrow.
Defending champion Norwalk returns along with runner-up Northview. The other top teams are Bowling Green and Edison. Bowsher, Rogers, Rossford, Start and Whitmer also will participate.
Preliminaries start at 10 a.m. and the finals will start an hour and a half after the last preliminary match at about 4 p.m.
Eastwood continued to dominate its competition when it handily won the Hammer and Anvil Tournament Saturday in the Cincinnati area.
The Eagles won the title by 163.5 points and had champions in eight of the 14 weight classes. The following Eastwood wrestlers captured titles: Ben Llanas (112), Ryan Cubberly (125), Kurt Shroyer (130), Adam Hoffmann (140), Kent Smith (152), Tony Brown (189), Ryan Nachtrab (215), and Colton Schulte (275).
Perrysburg wrapped up its regular season with four victories in Northern Lakes League competition to go undefeated in league dual meets (7-0).
The Jackets will wrestle for the overall NLL title on Saturday, Feb. 5 at Rossford.
Perrysburg defeated Rossford, Maumee, Northview, and Bowling Green in two tri-meets last week. The Yellow Jackets knocked off the previously undefeated Bobcats 48-21. They narrowly beat Springfield by six points and the Bulldogs by nine.
Bowling Green looks to be recovering from a January swoon with two wins last weekend.
The Bobcats, who had lost five in a row earlier this month, beat Padua Friday before drilling Southview 7-0 last Sunday. BG (13-8-0, 6-0-0 Northwest Hockey Conference) sits alone atop the Red Division standings.
We struggled offensively and that is why we started losing, said BG coach Dan DeWitt, who lost his top five scorers from last season to graduation. We re coming out of that now. We re getting goals from a lot of people.
The Bobcats also have won 26 straight league contests and have not lost in 2-plus years. However, that streak will be strongly tested with four consecutive NHC games over the next two weekends. The test begins tomorrow when BG takes on St. John s at Tam O Shanter at 7 p.m.
BG started the season with nine straight wins but has since lost eight of its last 11 games, including a non-league setback to the Titans in a Christmas tournament. The Bobcats have won two in a row despite the suspensions of 10 players due to violation of team rules.
After facing St. John s, BG ends its regular season with games against Findlay, Northview and St. Francis.
The Titans are 3-3-0 in league play, while the Trojans are 2-3-0. Northview has six points (3-2-0) and the Knights have eight (4-3-0). The Bobcats have 12 points.
Northview has been getting great goaltending from a trio of goalies and plenty of scoring.
At the season s midpoint, junior Bobby McElheney had gotten the most starts (10) and has made the most of them. McElheney has stopped 194 of 217 shots for a save percentage of .894 and a goals against average of 2.3. Andrew New has been nothing short of spectacular giving up just two goals out of 104 shots he has faced.
In five games, New has a .981 save percentage and 0.4 goals-against average. Craig Trego has started in three contests and has a 2.0 goals-against average (.909 save percentage).
The triumvirate of goaltenders has also received plenty of offensive support.
Junior forward Alden Hirschfeld led the league in scoring at the season s midpoint with 61 points (33 goals, 28 assists) in just 18 games. Hirschfeld, who had two goals last Friday against St. Francis, is averaging 1.8 goals a game.
Senior Andrew Stark had scored 20 goals and has 18 assists (38 points), while juniors Tim Hurst (21 goals, 16 assists) and Adam Thanasiu (4, 33) both have 37 points.
The Northwest Ohio Aquatic Conference swimming and diving meet will be held today and tomorrow.
Most of the top teams in the area will compete in the event which serves as a preview of the district meet.
The diving competition will be held today at Sandusky Perkins. The swimming events will take place tomorrow at Napoleon.
Contact Mark Monroe at:firstname.lastname@example.org 419-724-6110.
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