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By Sam Houseworth | Photo by Jeff Harwell

The deeper we get into the season, the more and more the top three teams separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Centerville and Gahanna Lincoln are the class of D-I, while St. Vincent-St. Mary is the team to beat in D-II.

It’s easy to claim that all three of them will be favored to get to Dayton for the state championship. However, having to get by teams like Fairfield, Pick Central, and Buchtel, there are no easy paths to Dayton.

It’s just that some have fewer hurdles than others.


1. St. Vincent-St. Mary, Akron (8-2)

Last week: 1

It’s hard to believe the Irish opened the season 0-2. It’s even harder to believe this team had only two wins going into Christmas. But now, the Irish have found their groove, adding three wins this past week against ISA, Walsh Jesuit and Thomas Worthington. The challenges keep coming Thursday with Lake Erie League leader, Cleveland Heights. Then on Saturday, it’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 in Akron!

2. Centerville (10-0)

Last week: 2

The Elks had no issues in their home-and-home against Springfield, sweeping the season series in the process. Gabe Cupps had 18 points and 16 assists in the two games. The Elks have a busy week when they host SPIRE Academy on Tuesday, followed by road trips to Miamisburg on Friday and No. 1 St. Vincent-St. Mary on Saturday.

3. Gahanna Lincoln (10-2)

Last week: 3

Marquette commit Sean Jones took the Lions on his back, scoring 27 in a 53-42 win over Pick North to take sole possession of first place in the OCC Ohio Division. The Lions are at Westland on Friday before their top 25 showdown with Buchtel on Saturday.

4. Brush, Lyndhurst (10-1)

Last week: 5

In the battle for bragging rights, it wasn’t much of a battle. Ohio Bobcats commit Elmore James was one of four Arcs in double figures, leading all players with 19 in a rout of Euclid. Tyler Williams added 13 including this sweet alley-oop in the third. After the long weekend, the Arcs are off until Sunday, when they host Shaker Heights.

5. Pickerington Central (10-1)

Last week: 4

The Tigers’ Devin Royal is the early favorite for Ohio’s Mr. Basketball in 2023, regardless of if he wins it this season or not. The junior put up 22 on Friday in the Tigers’ 44-40 win over Reynoldsburg. Pick Central heads to Newark on Friday with sole possession of first place in the OCC Buckeye Division on the line. The following day, they will face the top-rated team out of D-III, the Taft Senators.

6. Archbishop Alter, Kettering (12-2)

Last week: 7

The unblemished 2022 continues for the Knights, who are a perfect 5-0 since the new year began. Junior A.J. Leen was on fire all week, scoring 59 points on 25-for-31 shooting (80.6%) in three games. Alter heads to Fenwick on Friday to attempt a season sweep of the Falcons.

7. Fairfield (13-1)

Last week: 6

The Indians are getting way too friendly with overtime games! They had the overtime thriller against Sycamore to open 2022. Then on Friday, Logan Woods did it again, hitting the only basket in overtime to lift Fairfield to another overtime conference win. Combined with a huge road win against Lakota East on Tuesday, the Indians are 9-0 in the GMC, 2½ games in front of second-place Sycamore and Lakota East. Fairfield hosts Mason on Friday.

8. Hilliard Bradley (10-3)

Last week: 11

The Jaguars continue to climb up the rankings after a well-documented slow start to the season. They opened the week with a 64-19 win at Westland, followed by a 51-38 win against Dublin Coffman, their first home win of the new year. The Jaguars welcome OCC Central leader Upper Arlington on Friday as they look for payback for the loss in early December.

9. Kettering Fairmont (12-1)

Last week: 8

The Firebirds’ lone game of the week was much closer than they would have liked. Taking a 15-point lead into the fourth, Northmont chipped away, clawing within two points of Fairmont. However, clutch defense in the final minute allowed the Firebirds to hold on for their seventh GWOC win of the season, 57-55. Fairmont will host Woodward on Monday, then heads to Springboro on Friday.

10. Lakota East (9-3)

Last week: 9

If high school games were 24 minutes, we might be singing a different tune about Lakota East right now. After three quarters Tuesday, the Thunderhawks were up 44-40 on conference-leading Fairfield. However, issues hitting free throws came back to bite the Thunderhawks as they fell 61-54 at home. Lakota East heads to Middletown on Tuesday, then hosts rival Lakota West on Friday.

11. Lima Senior (11-1)

Last week: Unranked

As many of the Spartans’ earlier opponents have picked up their game in 2022, so has Lima Senior. The combination of a strong record and an ever-improving strength of schedule sees the Spartans catapult into the top 15 this week. The most notable win came on the road Saturday against then-No. 24 Ottawa-Glandorf. Four Spartans scored in double figures, led by Khalil Luster, who scored 18 in their 69-61 win. Lima Senior heads to Lima Central Catholic on Tuesday, then back to TRAC play at Whitmer on Friday, finishing up the week at Lima Shawnee on Saturday.

12. Westerville North (9-3)

Last week: 22

The Warriors showed they are not messing around as we get into the second half of the season. WNHS opened the week with a 56-34 win against Worthington Kilbourne, followed by a huge 69-33 road win against Dublin Scioto. The Warriors will host DeSales on Monday, then host Franklin Heights in OCC Capital Division play on Friday.

13. Archbishop Moeller, Cincinnati (10-3)

Last week: 15

The Crusaders captured their first GCL South win in convincing fashion on Friday, 54-40 over St. Xavier. Moeller dominated the first half of play, taking a 24-13 lead into halftime and never looked back. Penn State commit Evan Mahaffey led the way with 19 points and nine rebounds. Moeller will head to Bellbrook on Monday before taking on La Salle in conference play on Friday.

14. St. Edward, Lakewood (8-2)

Last week: 13

The Eagles headed to Erie, Pennsylvania, for the BK Classic this long weekend, coming home with their fourth championship in the annual tournament. St. Eds beat MC&S Charter (Philadelphia) on Friday, 71-42. In the championship Saturday, Michael Bova led the Eagles with 20 points in their 67-52 win over Canisius (Buffalo, N.Y.). The Eagles head to Lutheran East on Friday.

15. Pickerington North (10-2)

Last week: 17

The Panthers simply ran into an angry Gahanna team looking to prove a point this past Friday. However, they rebounded nicely with a 52-49 win over Wayne on Saturday. Senior Jerry Saunders scored 15 and played some sweet defense in the paint as well. Pick North heads to Westerville Central this Friday.

16. Green, Uniontown (11-2)

Last week: 19

The top of the Federal League is starting to look pretty crowded with six teams separated by two games. In the middle of that scrum are the Green Bulldogs, who fell to Jackson for only their second loss of the season on Tuesday, 65-59. The Bulldogs bounced back Friday with an 82-45 win over University School. The Bulldogs will be looking for revenge for an early season loss when they host Hoover this Friday.

17. Buchtel, Akron (9-4)

Last week: 23

The Griffs feasted on Akron City Series foes this past week, building up that confidence after a rough start to the new year. On Tuesday, Buchtel beat Firestone, 76-33. Then Friday, it was Ellet’s turn as the Griffs steamrolled them, 81-44. Buchtel continues Akron City play with East on Friday, followed by a Top 25 contest against Gahanna on Saturday.

18. Westerville South (12-0)

Last week: 20

The Wildcats just cannot stay away from the nail-biters. After a comfortable 58-20 win over Franklin Heights, Westerville South had a back-and-forth contest at Worthington Kilbourne on Friday. Freshman Kruz McClure hit a late, cold-blooded one-and-one to seal the 12th win of the season for the Wildcats. WSHS will face Dublin Jerome on Monday, then Dublin Scioto on Friday.

19. Upper Arlington (12-2)

Last week: 16

A busy week for the Golden Bears ended on the right note. After suffering its second loss of the season to Pick North on Tuesday, 55-46, UAHS was able to put together back-to-back wins over the weekend. Upper Arlington fought off a dangerous Hilliard Davidson team 51-44 on Friday. They pulled out a 48-44 against Tri-Valley on Saturday. The tough tests don’t end though, as the Golden Bears head to Hilliard Bradley this Friday for an OCC Central showdown.

20. St. Ignatius, Cleveland (6-4)

Last week: 21

The good news out of Cleveland is that their center, CJ Yarian, accepted an offer to play basketball for Division II Hillsdale College. However, the Wildcats would lose on the court to another out-of-state opponent in Wheeler (Georgia), 62-54. St. Ignatius falls to 3-3 against opponents outside the state of Ohio. The Wildcats have a trio of in-state opponents this week with Sylvania Northview, St. Edward and Benedictine all on the schedule.

21. Woodward, Cincinnati (9-2)

Last week: 25

In a battle for the top spot in the CMAC Red Division, the Bulldogs recovered from an early cold spell to beat Taft, 52-47. Woodward trailed 11-6 after the first quarter, but caught fire in the second to head into halftime tied at 26. The second half was back-and-forth between the conference foes before the Bulldogs pulled away in the fourth. Woodward has back-to-back road games early in the week against Kettering on Monday and Western Hills on Tuesday.

22. Sylvania Northview (9-1)

Last week: Unranked

The top spot in the Northern Lakes League was on the line when Northview headed to Perrysburg on Friday night. Trailing going into halftime, the Wildcats used a 24-10 third quarter to power their way to a 73-66 victory and first place in the conference. Indianapolis commit Sean Craig led Northview with 25. The Wildcats have a Top 25 matchup with St. Ignatius on Monday, followed by a return to NLL play on Friday against Maumee.

23. Dublin Jerome (10-3)

Last week: 12

The Celtics are still in first place in the OCC Cardinal Division, but man, they could stand to do better out of division. Jerome’s eight-game win streak came to a sudden halt after a stunning 54-41 loss to Olentangy Orange on Tuesday. Jerome earned a win against Hilliard Darby to extend their division lead, only to lose the following night to Northland, 36-33. The schedule doesn’t get easier with Westerville South on Monday.

24. St. Xavier, Cincinnati (8-3)

Last week: 14

The Bombers simply could not recover from the poor shooting on display in the first half of their GCL South contest at Moeller on Friday. As a team, St. X shot 34.1% (14-for-41) and committed 14 turnovers in what was their most disappointing game of the season to date. The Bombers square up with conference leader Elder on Friday with a chance to earn a share of the GCL South lead.

25. Richmond Heights (9-4)

Last week: Unranked

After Antwerp suffered its first loss of the season last week, we didn’t think we would see another D-IV team the rest of the season. Enter the preseason D-IV favorites, Richmond Heights. The Spartans are 0-4 against SBLIve Top 25 teams. However, they hold wins against strong teams just outside the Top 25 like Cleveland Heights and Perry. With a schedule that is almost exclusively conference games remaining, expect the Spartans to rack up wins in a big way.

Sam Houseworth's complete boys basketball rankings