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Published: Tuesday, 2/26/2013

St. John’s, Otsego take Blade boys poll crowns

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The final Blade boys basketball poll is out for the 2012-13 season and only one team has repeated its divisional title from last season.

That honor goes to veteran coach Steve Williman’s Liberty-Benton Eagles (21-1), champions of the Blanchard Valley Conference and repeat winners of The Blade’s Division III poll trophy.

The only thing that separated the Eagles from regular-season perfection was a 40-38 loss at Lima Central Catholic on Dec. 27, when the Thunderbirds hit a last-second shot to beat L-B.

Williman’s team was ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press D-III state poll, two spots above Lima CC. Lake (19-3), the Northern Buckeye Conference runner-up, ended at No. 2 in the Blade poll.

In a memorable season in which 34th-year St. John’s Jesuit coach Ed Heintschel became the 10th boys coach in Ohio history to reach 600 victories, the Titans (19-3) also won an outright Three Rivers Athletic Conference title, and succeeded TRAC rival and 2012 Division I state runner-up Whitmer (17-5) as The Blade’s D-I poll champion.

St. John’s, led by 2012 state co-player of the year Marc Loving, lost only once to an Ohio team all season. That came Dec. 18 at Findlay (61-59), when Loving missed the only game of his four-year career with the flu. The Titans later beat Findlay 73-33.

St. John’s other two defeats were both in overtime — 62-61 to Mercer Island (Wash.), and 87-84 to Mesa Dobson (Ariz.) — at a holiday invitational in Arizona in late December. The Titans were ranked No. 5 in the final state poll.

In Division II, Otsego (18-4) won its first league championship since 2000 (Suburban Lakes League), taking an outright title in the NBC under coach Jim Bostdorff. In capturing The Blade’s poll championship, the Knights succeed 2012 D-II winner Wauseon, which ended up No. 2 this season. The Indians (13-9) won a share of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League title along with Archbold.

The Division IV trophy goes to Toledo Christian (20-2). The Eagles of coach Dave McWhinnie won an outright Toledo Area Athletic Conference championship, and were ranked No. 9 in the final state poll. The Eagles edged out TAAC runner-up Ottawa Hills (17-4) for this year’s top spot after splitting their two conference meetings.

Fremont St. Jospeh (17-5), which shared the Midland Athletic League title with New Riegel and Old Fort, finished No. 3 in the Blade poll, and Buckeye Border Conference champion Fayette (17-5) ended at No. 4.

Girls

Bedford 50, Milan 7

MILAN, Mich. — The Mules (15-5) held Milan (2-19) to no field goals in a Class A district game and easily advanced to play Wednesday at Monroe (5-15).

Bedford was paced by Rachel Lewandowski with 10 points.



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