A huge showdown in City League girls basketball will take place Monday when Start, the preseason league favorite, faces Notre Dame.
Dealing with the pressure and playing before an expected large crowd will be key, particularly for an upstart Eagles team playing on the road.
"It's another big game for them, but for our girls it's probably the biggest game they've ever played in," said Travis Galloway, who is in his third season as Notre Dame coach.
Galloway said the build-up for the upcoming meeting of the teams tied for first place seems like it's been growing for weeks.
"For about the last three weeks whenever we've played someone other coaches ask, 'When are you playing Start,'" Galloway said. "So, I know if other coaches are asking me then the players are being asked the same questions, too."
Notre Dame is led by 5-foot-3 junior guard Cat Wells, who averages a team-leading 14.5 points per outing.
Yet, Notre Dame (12-2, 6-0 CL) doesn't lean entirely on Wells to carry the offense. Three others have contributed to a balanced attack in which the top four scorers account for approximately 45 points per game.
Juniors Demy Whitaker (9.4), Michelle Holmes (9.3) and Ashley Kynard (9.3) help make it difficult for opposing defenses to key on a single player.
Making sure the Eagles play in control is more a concern for the Galloway.
"One of our biggest objectives for Monday is let them relax and go out and enjoy playing in the game," Galloway said.
Start (10-2, 6-0 CL) is led by Ohio State-bound guard Maleeka Kynard (14.7 points) and Kentucky-bound post player Azia Bishop (15.6).
"Those [two] seniors and their juniors have played in the biggest games," Galloway said. "Those sophomores played for a state championship and Start has done a great job of playing against the best teams around."
Clay, Central Catholic to meet
Perhaps the most anticipated wrestling dual in this area will happen Friday at Clay when the Eagles host Central Catholic in a matchup of teams ranked eighth in different state divisions. Wrestling begins at 5 p.m.
Clay, No. 8 in Division I, competed well the last time it wrestled at home, crowning four individual champions and winning Saturday's Maumee Bay Classic.
In last year's dual, Clay and Central each won seven matches, but the Eagles scored more bonus points and prevailed 32-23.
The year's outcome could hinge on three head-to-head matchups. At 103 pounds, Irish district qualifier Matt Pool will oppose either Jared Davis, a champion at Saturday's tournament, or Nick McNutt, who has enjoyed strong results as Clay's starter.
At 140, Maumee Bay Classic champ Matt Kohler will take on Sam Viengmany, a Start transfer who finished third at the recent Catholic Invitational held at Central. Finally, the 285-pound heavyweight bout should be interesting.
Clay's Garrett Gray pinned Central's Levi Pickerel on way to winning a title at the difficult Brecksville Invitational. Pickerel, though, finished third at the CIT, a tournament that brings in many of the best catholic schools in state.
Clay's other top wrestlers are Mike Skreptock (112), Angelo Amenta (130) and Chico Cloyne (171). Central is tough at 145 and 160, where seniors D.J. Beauch and Tony Martin have been wrestling well.
Central, ranked No. 8 in Division II, would benefit by the return of 152-pounder Jason Mossing, who hasn't competed since finishing sixth at Brecksville in late December.
Browns donate to Lake
The Cleveland Browns, along with a matching grant from the National Football League, have made a donation of $20,000 to the Lake Local School District for the reconstruction of its athletic football facilities destroyed by tornado in June.
A check presentation ceremony will be conducted during halftime of the Lake boys basketball game against Elmwood Thursday night at Owens Community College.
Matt Yunker, community relations coordinator for the Browns, will make the presentation.
Springfield to induct Adams
Longtime Springfield assistant wrestling coach Ed Adams will be inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame Thursday night before a wrestling match against Rossford.
Adams, a 1968 graduate, was a three-sport athlete lettering in football, wrestling, and baseball. He earned All-Northern Lakes League first team in 1968 as a second baseman.
Adams who attended the University of Toledo, has taught at the high school for 35 years. He began his coaching career in 1975 as a freshman wrestling coaching. He became an varsity assistant in 1989. He also had coaching stints in baseball and softball.
Adams is the longest standing coach in Springfield history, having coached 32-plus years. The Blue Devils wrestlers have won 14 NLL team titles, 10 sectional titles, and one district title, and finished fourth at the state tournament during his tenure.
In 2006, Adams also was honored as alumnus of the year.
A social will be held from 5:15-6 p.m. and the induction will take place at 6.