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Published: Tuesday, 1/11/2011

St. John's, Start girls, both Rogers teams top season's first Blade basketball poll

The Blade's first boys and girls high school basketball polls are out for the 2010-11 season, and four of the eight of the No. 1 divisional spots are held by City League teams.

St. John's Jesuit a CL preseason favorite in among the girsl, and Start's girls, also picked to win the league, each open in the top slot in Division I polls. The Rogers boys and girls each start at No. 1 in D-II.

St. John's (8-1), which returns several key players from its team that reached the Division I regional final last season, is one rung above Whitmer (8-0), the area's last remaining unbeaten D-I boys team. The only setback thus far for coach Ed Heintschel's Titans came against Baltimore Mt. St. Joseph in a holiday tournament in Richmond, Va.

The Start girls (7-0), who were D-I state runners-up in 2009, look poised to make a another deep tourney run this season led by three players who were starters on that Spartan squad. Coach Bob Brown's team must contend with what promises to be a strong challenge from Notre Dame (9-0), which opens this at No. 2.

Perrysburg (8-0), which reached the regional final the last two seasons before losing to eventual state runners-up Start (2009) and Waite (last year), starts out at No. 3.

Rogers — which has dropped from D-I to D-II because of an adjustment to official enrollment figures by the Ohio High School Athletic Association following the closure of Libbey High School — has both its boys and girls rated No. 1.

The Ram boys (4-2) of coach Earl Morris, and the freshman-dominated Ram girls (9-2) of first-year coach Lamar Smith, each hold a slim edge over the respective No. 2 teams from Napoleon. The Wildcat boys are 6-3, and the Napoleon girls are 7-2.

Perfection still reigns in D-III, where Archbold (11-0) of coach Doug Krauss grabs the No. 1 boys spot, and Suburban Lakes League girls rivals Lake (10-0) and Genoa (11-0) open at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, heading into the first of their two showdowns Wednesday.

The Flyers of coach Denny Meyer have won 53 straight regular-season games. Mike DeStazio is in his first season coaching Genoa, returning to the sidelines this year after having coached at Woodmore a few years back.

Defending D-III girls state champion Liberty-Benton (6-2) absorbed some key graduation losses, but may ultimately prove to be the area's top D-III team once again. It was the Eagles who handed Lake its only two losses the past two seasons in tournament play. The Flyers dropped back-to-back district finals to close consecutive 22-1 seasons.

In Division IV, McComb (8-0) is the last unbeaten boys squad and opens at No. 1. Arcadia (7-1) starts as the top-ranked girls team.

Contact Steve Junga at: sjunga@theblade.com or 419-724-6461.



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