CINCINNATI -- A top matchup Friday night and a holiday weekend of Ohio high school boys’ basketball are among the highlights on the schedule for teams in the “Power 9” this week.
The annual Flyin’ to the Hoop Invitational at Kettering Fairmont will also feature the season debut Monday of Princeton junior forward Darius Bazley, who is verbally committed to Ohio State.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day also features Roger Bacon and Middletown in respective games in Kettering.
The season’s first Associated Press statewide media polls are scheduled to be announced Tuesday.
Let’s take a closer look at the “Power 9” which is based on strength of schedule, overall statistical success and our staff observations from the season.
Last week’s ranking: No. 1.
This week’s schedule: Versus La Salle Friday. Versus Alter (at Little Miami) Saturday.
The Crusaders had to rally from eight points down in the third quarter to defeat visiting Centerville 41-35 Saturday night. Sophomore guard Miles McBride led the Crusaders with 15 points, while senior guard Keegan McDowell and junior point guard Isaiah Payton had nine points each. Moeller trailed 27-17 at halftime but the Crusaders outscored Centerville 24-14 in the second half.
Moeller defeated host Winton Woods 60-24 Jan. 6.
Watch for a Greater Catholic League showdown with La Salle this Friday at Moeller. The Crusaders want to be up-tempo and the Lancers won to slow everything down.
2. La Salle
Last week: No. 2
This week’s schedule: At Purcell Marian Tuesday. At Moeller Friday.
The Lancers earned two big wins last weekend without senior guard CJ Fleming (shoulder) and certainly gives La Salle confidence with three consecutive road games.
La Salle defeated Elder 41-36 Jan. 6 despite an 0-for-10 night on 3-pointers. The Lancers gave up 15 points to Roger Bacon in the first quarter Jan. 7 but outscored the Spartans 33-18 in the next two quarters.
Senior guard Tre Crigler had 16 points and four steals against the Spartans. It remains to be seen if Fleming is back for Friday so the Lancers will need to be strong on the defensive end.
3. Oak Hills
Last week: No. 3
This week’s schedule: At Fairfield Tuesday. Versus Lakota West Saturday.
The Highlanders will continue to be one of the elite teams in Cincinnati this season. The only question will be how they fare in the tournament. Oak Hills is deep and experienced. The Highlanders had little trouble dispatching of Colerain (69-43) and Middletown (50-32) last week. Senior guard Ryan Batte, an Ashland signee, averages 14.7 points and 7.1 rebounds for the Highlanders. Watch for Tuesday’s game at Fairfield (6-2).
Last week: No. 4
This week’s schedule: Versus Sycamore Tuesday. At Colerain Friday.
The Comets have won three consecutive games since a loss to Oak Hills in mid-December. The Comets earned quality wins over Hamilton and Lakota East last week. Mason had four players in double figures in a 66-59 win over Hamilton including senior guards Matt King (16 points), Eddie Puisis (13 points), Ben Schutte (12 points) and Carlos Lewis (11 points).
5. Summit Country Day
Last week: No. 5.
This week’s schedule: Versus Lockland Tuesday. Versus CHCA Friday.
There may not be a better team in Division III right now than the Silver Knights. They are a top-5 team in the state and top-2 in the region, according to Purcell Marian coach Scott Kerr. How much they’ve been challenged remains to be seen because the scores don’t indicate that.
Summit defeated neighborhood rival Purcell Marian 76-29 Saturday. Senior guard Sam Martin had a game-high 20 points while senior guard Alex Dahling had 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
Last week: No. 8
This week’s schedule: At Ross Tuesday. At Finneytown Friday. At Badin Saturday.
The Cowboys are on the fast track to win the Cincinnati Hills League title but Wyoming has its sights on a deep run in the Division II tournament.
Senior guard Lonnie Grayson is one of the best players in the area regardless of division. He averages 18.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals. But, he also has an excellent supporting cast led by two sets of brothers -- Jake and Joey Edmonds and Evan and Garyn Prater.
Last week: No. 7
This week’s schedule: Versus Western Hills Friday. Versus Taft (Chicago) Saturday.
The Senators shot nearly 50 percent from the field and had 11 blocks in a 76-44 win over Shroder last week. Senior forward Malek Green had a season-high 27 points to go along with 11 rebounds in the win. Taft defeated McNicholas 57-49 on Saturday.
8. Roger Bacon
Last week: No. 6
This week’s schedule: At Badin Friday. Versus Tipp City Bethel (at Fairmont) Monday.
The Spartans lost to visiting La Salle Jan. 7, a night after Roger Bacon defeated Purcell Marian 58-47. There is certainly no shame in losing to the Lancers who are one the elite teams in Division I in Ohio. Roger Bacon senior forward James Johnson played well last weekend and is averaging 13.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 assists. The Spartans play Tipp City Bethel in the annual Flyin’ to the Hoop Invitational at 4:45 p.m. Monday at Kettering Fairmont.
Last week: No. 9
This week’s schedule: Versus Shroder Friday.
Hughes senior guard Corry Long hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer as Hughes defeated host Aiken 63-62 Jan. 6. Long, a Stony Brook signee, had 23 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals in the game. Junior guard Giovanni Santiago had 19 points and five assists.
Hughes has won six consecutive games and a win over Shroder will keep its advantage intact for a Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference championship.
Check back with WCPO.com Wednesday for Northern Kentucky Power 9 rankings.