3 girls basketball teams in regionals; 14 boys teams still alive


Staff report

Following his team’s victory over West Branch in the girls Division II district championship game on Saturday, Struthers’ John Grandy uttered the words every basketball coach would like to say in March:

“That might have been our best game of the year.”

It was for the Wildcats, who earned their second straight regional trip this week.

Struthers (20-4) will open regional play for area teams on Tuesday night, facing Mentor Lake Catholic at 8 p.m. in Barberton High School.

The following night, also at 8, Ursuline (15-7) will play Orrville in a Division III regional semifinal at Cuyahoga Falls High School.

Finally, on Thursday, Lowellville (24-0) will carry the Inter Tri-County League’s banner to Perry High School in Massillon, where the Rockets will face Shadyside at 6:15 p.m.

Lowellville has perservered despite losing two starters to injuries.

“Sometimes I don’t know what the big man upstairs is doing to us, but I still believe,” said Lowellville coach Tony Matisi following the Rockets’ district championship win in double overtime over Warren JFK.

Ursuline has only 15 wins, but the Fighting Irish are tournament tested, having also won two straight district championships.

“This season has been a work in progress,” said Irish coach Sean Durkin. “We thought at the end of the regular season we were playing our best basketball, which was our goal. It has carried us through the district tournament.”

BOYS DISTRICTS

On the boys side, 14 teams from the Valley remain alive as the tournament hits the district level.

The games begin tonight with semifinals at Boardman (Div. II) and Struthers (Div. IV).

At Boardman, top-seeded Struthers (19-2) takes on Cardinal Mooney (11-10) in a rematch of their game a year ago.

Mooney won that game, 60-51, before losing to Poland in the district final.

The Bulldogs (16-5) are also still playing; they’ll take on Streetsboro in the other Div. II semifinal on Wednesday.

At Struthers, No. 1 seed McDonald (21-0) will play ITCL rival Lowellville (13-8) in a semifinal. The winner advances to Friday’s title game against either Youngstown Christian (11-10) or Wellsville (16-6), who play on Tuesday night.

Ursuline (13-6) and Campbell Memorial (11-11) are in the district semifinal at the Div. III district hosted by Salem. They play Wednesday night, with the title game scheduled for Friday.

At the Howland district, LaBrae (19-2) and Newton Falls (18-4) are still alive and could meet for the third time this season with a trip to the regional at stake.

Maplewood and Warre JFK meet on Tuesday in a Div. IV district semifinal at Harding High School.

On Thursday, Warren Harding, which survived a tough test against Euclid on Saturday, plays Cleveland St. Ignatius in a Div. I district semifinal at Solon.

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