CINCINNATI -- The Ohio boys’ basketball sectional tournament schedule is set. The final week of the regular season is upon us with history possibly being made Friday night.
Moeller (21-0), ranked No. 16 nationally by MaxPreps, and Summit Country Day (21-0) are on the brink of undefeated regular seasons.
Summit plays host to Seven Hills at 7:30 p.m. while Moeller plays host to Elder.
For this season’s final edition of the Power 9 rankings, we’ll list the teams in order of actual strength in the top divisions and not necessarily head-to-head matchups.
Let’s take a closer look at the season’s final Power 9 rankings this week:
Last week’s ranking: 1
This week’s schedule: Versus Elder Friday.
The Crusaders keep climbing the national rankings and have an opportunity to be the only undefeated basketball team in program history. Senior guard Keegan McDowell (Liberty University) averages 12.9 points and 3.7 rebounds. Sophomore guard Miles McBride averages 10.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.8 steals.
Moeller coach Carl Kremer would prefer not to dwell on the 21-game winning streak. This team has a goal of making a March trip to Columbus.
2. Summit Country Day
Last week’s ranking: 5
This week’s schedule: Versus Seven Hills Friday.
The Silver Knights, ranked No. 3 in the Division III state poll, are seeking their first undefeated boys’ basketball season in program history. Three players average in double figures in scoring including senior guard Sam Martin (15.5 ppg.), senior guard Alex Dahling (14.7 ppg.) and senior forward TJ Walker (12.7 ppg.).
Last week’s ranking: 7
This week’s schedule: Versus Deer Park Friday.
The Cowboys, ranked in the No. 7 Division II state poll, have won seven consecutive games and will be a force in the tournament. Senior guard Lonnie Grayson (West Point signee) averages 21.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.6 steals. He’s shot 42.5 percent from 3-pointers and 56 percent from the field. Senior forward Garyn Prater averages 16.5 points and 6.5 rebounds while sophomore guard Joey Edmonds averages 13.8 points and 3.9 assists.
Last week’s ranking: 2
This week’s schedule: At Sycamore Friday.
Mason, the No. 4 seed, may be the area’s top Division I team behind Moeller although La Salle and Oak Hills could certainly make a case. Watch for seniors Eddie Puisis (17.3 ppg., 4.7 rpg.) and Ohio Dominican signee Matt King (12.2 ppg., 6.1 rpg.). The Comets should be a favorite to reach the district final March 11 at University of Dayton Arena.
5. La Salle
Last week’s ranking: 4
This week’s schedule: Versus St. Xavier Friday.
The Lancers have won three straight games after a six-point loss to visiting Moeller Feb. 3. La Salle, the No. 2 seed, could face Princeton in the sectional final at Hamilton March 3 which could be one of the more interesting matchups of the winter. Watch for senior guard CJ Fleming as the tournament begins.
6. Oak Hills
Last week’s ranking: 3
This week’s schedule: Versus Fairfield Friday.
The Highlanders have won five consecutive games and are playing some of their best basketball of the season. Oak Hills hasn’t given up more than 42 points in the past five games. Oak Hills could play Wilmington in a sectional final March 4 at Fairfield.
Last week’s ranking: 6
This week’s schedule: At Shroder Friday.
The Big Red has won 15 consecutive games -- the longest active win streak for an area team that isn’t undefeated. Hughes defeated Winton Woods 79-44 Monday after an 83-50 win over Aiken Feb. 10. Hughes, the No. 2 seed at the Mason Division II sectional, plays Western Brown Feb. 24 with a possible second-round matchup with Mariemont.
Last week’s ranking: 9
This week’s schedule: Versus Western Hills Friday.
The Mason Division II sectional bracket is one of the toughest in any division in Southwest Ohio. The Senators are certainly one of the reasons why. Taft plays Taylor Feb. 25 before a possible matchup with Indian Hill and a possible rematch with Hughes in the sectional final. Hughes defeated Taft twice this season.
9. Walnut Hills
Last week’s ranking: Unranked
This week’s schedule: At Kings Friday.
The Eagles had 11 new varsity players this season and still won the Eastern Cincinnati Conference. Walnut Hills is the No. 7 seed in the Lakota West bracket and certainly has an opportunity at a district final appearance March 11 at UD Arena. Watch for senior guard Kenny Thompson (11.9 ppg., 6.3 rpg.). Junior guard Kameron Gibson had a season-high 35 points in a triple-overtime win over Milford last week.