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March Madness: Archie Miller answers inevitable Indiana question

Published: Thursday, March 16, 2017 @ 5:22 PM

            Players huddle around Dayton coach Archie Miller after practice on Thursday, March 16, 2017, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. David Jablonski/Staff
Players huddle around Dayton coach Archie Miller after practice on Thursday, March 16, 2017, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. David Jablonski/Staff

A day before the NCAA tournament, the last thing Dayton Flyers coach Archie Miller wanted to talk about was his future. Of course, that’s what he had to talk about Thursday in a press conference before the Flyers practiced at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Indiana fired head coach Tom Crean earlier in the day, meaning Miller was bound to get a question about it, just as he did earlier this season about the job open at his alma mater North Carolina State. He did. In fact, it was the first question he had to answer.

Reporter: “Archie, one of the challenges of being an accomplished coach is your name gets attached to some of the openings that are out there. Illinois is open. Indiana opened today. How do you handle that, the buzz of being attached to some of those things?”

Miller: “I’m not attached to any of that. I think everybody else attaches me to them. I think it speaks volumes about how we do things at Dayton. That’s the only thing I concern myself with. Growing up as a player, we were taught to eliminate noise and distractions and bring your best to the floor every day and sort of treat that with our players the same way. It wouldn’t be right as a coach if you were thinking about anything other than them. That’s all I really concern myself with.”

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Sports Today: Who is going to make the Reds rotation?

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:13 AM

Young starting pitchers have started to find their way in the second half of the season for the Cincinnati Reds.

With college basketball season in Ohio over, it’s time to gear up for baseball! 

So naturally the story of yesterday was an injury to a Cincinnati Reds pitcher. 

RELATED: Two positions likely available for Opening Day roster

Before we get too far down the, “Here we go again” road, though, it sounds like Michael Lorenzen’s strained shoulder muscle isn’t too serious from a long-term perspective

This being the Reds’ training staff, that doesn’t mean it won’t linger all year and eventually ruin his season, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. 

If he isn’t quite ready to start the season, they will probably be not much worse off since the bullpen is one place they spent some money in the offseason and I never really thought he was going to make the rotation. 

There was also good news on the Reds pitching injury front (RPIF, for short): Nine days after leaving a game with a forearm spasm, Brandon Finnegan returned to the mound and apparently had no issues. 

He said he was going to be fine almost as soon as it happened, but you never know. 

If he is ready to go for Opening Day, the Reds actually have the enviable problem of more qualified starters than they have rotation spots. 

That’s even with Anthony DeSclafani injured again and Robert Stephenson struggling most of the spring

At the beginning of the week, the estimable Hal McCoy had four players in place for the rotation: Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano with Stephenson, Cody Reed, Lorenzen and Amir Garrett the four left in contention. 

Then Lorenzen got hurt and Finnegan was able to pitch again, so perhaps now Finnegan ends up getting the fifth spot, which they will probably skip a couple of times to start the season anyway. 

RELATED: Mahle strong again

I know there have been some calls for the Reds to sign a veteran starting pitcher, but I really don’t understand those at all given that all of the young guys in the running for rotation spots are real prospects with some major-league experience. 

Their floors are lower, of course, but their ceilings are higher than anyone out there on the market (who would also cost a lot more). 

At some point we have to see if these guys can do it, and any money that’s available now would look good if spent on more bullpen help or an extra bat if they are actually in a pennant push this summer. 

After this season, it would seem they should have a good grasp on who can make it and who can’t. Then it would make more sense to invest in another veteran pitcher, even an innings-eater, especially if the lineup continues to develop into the strength it looked like at times last year… 

We’ll have plenty of time to talk Reds between now and October. 

I suspect we’ll also have a lot of college basketball talk. 

I referenced that yesterday, and David Jablonski took a closer look at the Dayton Flyers’ offseason, too. 

The recruiting never stops for Dayton coaches, and this offseason could be an especially busy one. Expect them to be active in recruiting transfers. The Dayton basketball Instagram account shared a photo on Monday of Kevin Dillard, Jordan Sibert, Charles Cooke and Josh Cunningham — four transfers who have led Dayton in scoring the last seven years — and it looked like a message to potential transfers who might consider the Flyers.. 

The first season of the Anthony Grant era included a lot of frustrating nights, but the Flyers have the makings of a pretty strong starting five next year even before we see what they get from true freshman Dwayne Cohill and redshirt freshman Obadiah Toppin. 

That is, of course, assuming everyone in the projected starting lineup returns… 

Coach Shauna Green is excited for the future of her Dayton women’s basketball program, too. 

She’s still looking for her first NCAA tournament win, but the first two regular seasons of her tenure could hardly have gone better. 

It’s never easy to replace a senior point guard like Jenna Burdette, but the Flyers add six new players to the mix next year, including three freshmen, two transfers and another player who missed this season with an ACL injury. 

Early in her tenure, Green has proven two things: She knows how to get the best out of the players she has, and she knows how to sell the Dayton program — a program that is now well beyond being simply the product of one great coach or one big-time recruit or class. 

As Burdette walks out the door, it’s worth remembering she was among the top prospects in Ohio as a senior, and four years ago she joined a team that already had a McDonald’s All-American and another four-star prospect. 

That means this is not a team that has punched above its weight nor a scrappy bunch of over-achievers. 

Those are fun stories, but you know what’s better? Having more talent than the other team most nights in the Atlantic 10… 

Press conference: Shauna Green and Dayton players react to NCAA loss(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

And lastly as I continue to recap stuff from the annual blur that is the first weekend of the NCAA tournament: Wright State has a lot to feel good about moving forward, too.

They return three good freshmen in 6-foot-9 Loudon Love, the Horizon League Freshman of the Year, Jaylon Hall, the team’s fourth leading scorer, and Everett Winchester, who was one Raider who played with some confidence against the Vols and finished with 11 points.

Also returning are a trio of upper classmen in solid point guard in Cole Gentry, a defensive specialist in Mark Hughes and 6-foot-11 Parker Ernsthausen.

“The expectations for our whole team should change in terms of how we prepare for next year and what they think,” Nagy said. “We primarily lose one guy that has played for us and we’re adding six good players. So our depth is going to change a lot. It’s going to be very competitive.”

Add to that a four-man recruiting class that includes Moeller’s Jeremiah Davenport and it’s easy to think the Raiders won’t have to wait another decade to dance again in the NCAA tournament. 


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Looking back: Celebrating fourth anniversary of Dayton’s win over Ohio State

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 5:47 PM

Flyer hero Vee Sanford talks with Mike Hartsock about making the game-winning shot against Ohio State.

A March Madness without the Dayton Flyers doesn’t seem right — not after the program reached new heights with four straight NCAA tournament appearances.

Dayton’s season ended this season in the Atlantic 10 tournament with a 14-17 record, but played nine games in the big dance between 2014 and 2017. Of those games, the first one remains the most memorable.

March 20 marks the fourth anniversary of Dayton’s 60-59 victory over Ohio State in Buffalo and the go-ahead bank shot by senior guard Vee Sanford with 3.8 seconds to play — a shot CBS analyst Bill Raftery described as “a kiss to be remembered in Dayton.”

The Dayton players in that game celebrated the memory Tuesday on Twitter.

Here’s a look back at Dayton’s victory:

Jablonski’s game story: Sanford’s shot fell through the net at 2:19 p.m. on the first day of spring, almost 47 years after Don May’s incredible performance against North Carolina in the national semifinals, 30 years and a month after Ed Young hit The Shot against DePaul and 131 days after Jordan Sibert kicked off the season with a November miracle.

» RELATED: Photos from gameSocial media reaction

For one moment Thursday, and at least until Saturday when they play No. 3 seed Syracuse, the Dayton Flyers captured the attention of an entire nation fixated on March Madness. The first game of the second round ended with Sanford, a senior from Lexington, Ky., driving the right side of the lane and scoring on a bank shot over the head of Ohio State star Aaron Craft with 3.8 seconds remaining.Complete story.

Tom Archdeacon’s take: When he broke from the huddle with 10.8 seconds left with his Dayton Flyers down by one to Ohio State in the NCAA tournament and the focus, not only of Aaron Craft, the Buckeyes’ best defender, but the entire First Niagara Arena crowd about to zero in on him, Vee Sanford said he heard just one thing.

“Our guys all told me to relax,” the UD guard said. “They told me just to relax and do what I do.”

In the breathless final seconds of Thursday afternoon’s game, Flyers coach Archie Miller had informed his gathered players that Sanford — the quiet guy who, without complaint or posturing had given up his starting spot from a year ago to become an off-the-bench spark “for the good of the team,” as he explained it — would carry the hopes of victory on a planned drive to the basket against the Big Ten’s defender of the year two of the past three seasons.


How could he?

“Yeah, I could,” Sanford said softly. “It’s just playing basketball, whether it’s in a packed arena like this or outside in the park.” Complete story.

Dayton’s plan: Dayton had lost its previous game 70-67 to St. Joseph’s in the Atlantic 10 tournament. Devin Oliver missed a 3-pointer with 4 seconds to play and Dayton facing a two-point deficit.

The execution of that play was on Dayton coach Archie Miller’s mind when it came time to draw something up in the final seconds against Ohio State.

“Yeah, you know, the Saint Joe's game, I've been thinking about that all the way through,” Miller said after the game. “I didn't put those guys in a situation where we were going to be able to get a good shot. We took out all the confusion this time. (Sanford) was able to get the ball up at the top. Once we got it up at the top, we spaced and just kind of ran up and got out of the way just to see if we could create any kind of confusion up on the top. I think Aaron (Craft) may have took his head off the ball for just a quick second, and Vee, if he can get on the side of you, can get to the rim. If he'd have made it, missed it, the guys did a good job. But I just wanted to make sure we got a shot at the basket.”

Miller picked Sanford to take the last shot for a simple reason.

“He's the guy that can get the shot,” Miller said. “He's the guy that can get the shot up. He's been in that situation a lot for us. Most people have watched us play have seen him come down that right lane line probably 20 times this season and banked that banker right off the glass. I was worried about him getting bottled up. We wanted to get him a lane where maybe he could get it downhill. I thought Devin (Oliver) did a great job coming up and slipping. Vee was able with the first step to get the first dribble by him. That was a big key in the other play. Vee made that shot a lot. He's terrific inside of 15-16 feet, making those type of shots. We have a lot of confidence in him. He's the one guy we can call his number, and he can get one.”

Looking back: Dayton fans celebrate big win over Ohio State in 2014

Sanford’s view: Sanford attended the postgame press conference and was asked about the shot

Were you nervous? 

SANFORD: No, I wasn't nervous. I just thank God and thank coach for trusting me. We've probably drawn up a play like that and I messed it up previously, but he just kept his trust in me, and I'm just thankful that the shot went in.
And just as a follow-up, what did that shot mean to you knowing you transferred here to Dayton and to seal this win, this back‑and‑forth win against Ohio State?

SANFORD: It goes above me, us as a family and as a team, it's all about how hard we worked and how we've bounced back through our hard times. So it goes on above me. 

 Vee, during the timeout with ten seconds left, they design a play to get you the ball. What did Coach say? Can you take us through that? 

SANFORD: Mainly, he wanted me to go right and kind of just open up the floor. He knows that's my strength. If I had opportunity to get to the basket, you know, I have a high percentage of hitting the shot. So it was a well drawn up play, and I'm just thankful that I was able to execute it.

Craft’s view: Craft was known for his defense but couldn’t stop Sanford on the winning shot.

“I just wanted to do everything I could to help our team win, and down the stretch, I couldn't do that today,” he said. “I can take blame for that. This is the fourth game winner hit on me in my time here. I can't change it. Obviously, you want it to end differently, but these guys still have time. The best thing that we can do is just move forward. Got to give Dayton a lot of credit. Obviously, he made a big shot down the stretch. They made the last punch, and we couldn't. ... It's amazing the way that, you know, defense has kind of been my thing, and it's amazing how it's going to end with a kid getting the game winner on me. Obviously, I think I knew he wanted to go right. There's so many things that are going through my mind right now that I wish could have gone differently, but they didn't. He made a big shot, made a big time play, and we couldn't come back.”

Thad Matta’s take: Ohio State’s head coach suffered his first loss to a team from Ohio. Prior to this game, no in-state team had defeated Ohio State since Toledo in 1998. Matta couldn’t fault the effort of Craft.

“Honestly, me telling him how to play defense would be like me telling somebody how to build a rocket ship,” Matta said. “I'll live and die with that kid any day of the year of what he's going to do defensively.  The kid made a tough shot, a runner that went in. These things happen. I would trust him more than anybody I've ever coached in terms of those possessions.”

Ohio State's Aaron Craft, left, is surprised after being called for an intetional foul late in the second half in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 20, 2014, at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y.(David Jablonski)

Ohio State’s last chance: Craft caught the in-bounds pass and dribbled the length of the court before putting up the final shot of his career in traffic at the buzzer. It bounced off the rim.

“I thought it was going in,” Miller said. “I've seen those a bunch since I've been at Dayton, but more importantly, I've watched Ohio State, in particular. I've watched those guys win that game a thousand times. 
He's a bulldozer with the ball. He got it down there in about three dribbles, and he got a good look. It just ended up rimming out, and we got lucky.”

Of his shot, Craft said, “Just tried to get up the floor as quickly as possible. There's only four seconds left. That's kind of how our season's gone. Thought I got it up there high enough, and I obviously didn't.”

Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross, left, goes after a loose ball with Dayton’s Kendall Pollard, center, and Vee Sanford in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 20, 2014, at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y.(David Jablonski)

Underrated performance: Three seniors who would play in four NCAA tournaments and set a school record for career victories were freshmen in 2014 and played against Ohio State.

Kyle Davis played only three minutes. Scoochie Smith played 14 minutes and had one point and two steals. Kendall Pollard didn’t put up big numbers — two points, two steals and two rebounds — but he played 15 minutes off the bench. It was the most playing time he received since Jan. 18.

Miller put Pollard in the game with 8:13 to play because he wasn’t happy with the way senior Devin Oliver was playing for a four-minute stretch. Pollard stayed in the game until the 3:30 mark and was a defensive sub in the final minutes. Pollard ended up front and center in the Dayton Daily News photo of the team celebrating the victory.

“We gave Kendall a chance and wanted to give D-Mo a blow,” Miller said. “He did a great job while he was in there. While that happened, Ohio State went small. When they need something to click, they go (Marc) Loving or (LaQuinton) Ross in together with your five, and next thing you know, you're in a tough spot, either getting back or in the half‑court. Kendall's role this season has grown. I have confidence in him. He's a good player. He's going to be even better. But we were able to play small the rest of the way as well, which we haven't done all season. I thought that's a great thing for a freshman to be in there in those moments.”

Clutch shots: Sophomore Dyshawn Pierre led Dayton with 12 points and made 7 of 7 free throws. None were bigger than the three he made with 27 seconds left. He was fouled on a 3-point attempt by Shannon Scott with the Flyers trailing 57-55.

“I was trying to stay calm, stay focused, and I knew we had to make those free throws for the team,” Pierre said. “Luckily, I did.”

Dayton's Jordan Sibert falls onto press row in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 20, 2014, at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y.(David Jablonski)

Sibert’s revenge: Dayton junior Jordan Sibert scored nine points against his former team. He played two seasons with the Buckeyes, transferred to Ohio State and debuted in the 2013-14 season.

“It’s amazing,” Sibert said. “I just told Vee he doesn’t know what he did for me. To be able to win against my former team and for my teammates to play so hard, it was a blessing.”

Kavanaugh’s game: The Flyers led 33-30 at halftime thanks to senior center Matt Kavanaugh. He scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting. He didn’t score in the second half and took only one shot, but he scored above his season average of 5.5 points.

“In the first half, I was able to capitalize on some switching opportunities,” Kavanaugh said. “I had a couple good rolls to the basket, and the guards were able to find me on some open cuts to the hoop. In the second half, they switched their lineup and went small so it was a little more of a challenge for me to stay on the court.”

The famous headline: The Dayton Daily News made headlines itself with its headline in the March 21 edition. It read simply, “The University of Dayton,” and it was a hit on social media, for everyone outside Columbus at least.

Aftermath: The Lexington, Ky., native Sanford, who’s now playing in France, started his pro basketball career in Iceland several months after graduating from Dayton in 2014.

Asked then about his game-winning shot, he said, “Oh man, Lexington’s a pretty big basketball town. There’s been a lot of love since I’ve been down here from the people I went to school with or people who go to UK or went to UK. A lot of people down here don’t like Ohio State.”

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Former Wayne star dropping basketball for shot at football career

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 5:58 PM

Seniors D'Mitrik Trice (left) and Ahmad Wagner are key Wayne High School football and basketball players. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Seniors D'Mitrik Trice (left) and Ahmad Wagner are key Wayne High School football and basketball players. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(MARC PENDLETON / STAFF/MARC PENDLETON / STAFF)

Ahmad Wagner, a three-sport star at Wayne High School, is making a change. 

Iowa announced Tuesday afternoon Wagner is leaving the Hawkeyes basketball program after three seasons to pursue a college football career. 

“A person of strong faith, I am following God’s plan and I am eager for this next chapter,” Wagner said in a news release. “I leave the Iowa men’s basketball team with new friendships and incredible memories that I will forever treasure. I want to thank (coach Fran) McCaffery, staff, and teammates for helping me grow both as a basketball player and person.” 

The Yellow Spring native was listed at 6-foot-7, 235 pounds on the Iowa roster this past season, when he played in 30 games and started seven.


He averaged 1.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in 9.1 minutes per game, all career lows. 

“My plan now is to train and get my body into football shape so I can be ready for when I decide where I will finish my athletic and academic goals,” Wagner said. “Thank you Hawkeye nation for your support and welcoming me when I first stepped onto campus.”

He caught 58 passes for 1,048 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior at Wayne, including five catches for 55 yards and a score in the Warriors’ state title game loss to Lakewood St. Edward. 

RELATED: Football swan song for Wayne’s Wagner

That same school year he was the leading scorer on the basketball team, averaging 11.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as the Warriors went 26-4 and won the Division I state championship. 

FLASHBACK: Wagner commits to Iowa

He was one of the top 300 football prospects in the country as a senior when 247Sports rated him as a four-star receiver prospect. 

He was a three-star basketball prospect and the No. 10 player in Ohio. 

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Division I: All-Ohio boys basketball

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 7:18 PM

            Springfield’s Raheim Moss (5) and Darius Quisenberry (middle) of Wayne were chosen to the D-I All-Ohio boys basketball teams. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Springfield’s Raheim Moss (5) and Darius Quisenberry (middle) of Wayne were chosen to the D-I All-Ohio boys basketball teams. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

The Division I boys basketball All-Ohio team was announced Monday by a statewide media panel. The teams were selected by members of the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association.

» RELATED: Rams’ opposing coach, ‘They’re crazy athletic’

» RELATED: D-II boys All-Ohio

FIRST TEAM: Darius Quisenberry, Wayne, 6-1, sr., 18.5; Dane Goodwin, Upper Arlington, 6-foot-5, sr., 23.5 ppg; Jerome Hunter, Pickerington North, 6-7, sr., 21.0; Sincere Carry, Solon, 6-0, sr., 23.2; Alonzo Gaffney, Garfield Heights, 6-9, jr., 18.2; Jaret Pallotta, Massillon Jackson, 6-6, sr., 15.5; Mason McMurray, Stow-Munroe Falls, 6-8, sr., 14.6; Vincent Williams, Toledo St. John’s, 6-5, sr., 18.9; Darius Bazley, Cincinnati Princeton, 6-9, sr., 15.3; Jaxson Hayes, Cin. Moeller, 6-10, sr., 12.0.

»RELATED: D-III boys All-Ohio

»RELATED: D-IV boys All-Ohio

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Dane Goodwin, Upper Arlington.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Brett Norris, Hilliard Bradley.

»RELATED: Ahrens, Barhorst earn top D-IV boys honors

»RELATED: Trotwood-Madison back to final four

SECOND TEAM: RaHeim Moss, Springfield, 6-4, jr., 16.2; JT Shumate, Newark, 6-6, sr., 21.2; Treauhn Williams, Reynoldsburg, 6-7, sr., 18.0; Ben Roderick, Olentangy Liberty, 6-5, sr., 24.3; Dale Bonner, Shaker Heights, 6-3, sr., 18.4; Christian Guess, Shaker Heights, 6-6, sr., 26.2; Collen Gurley, Akron Hoban, 6-2, sr., 15.2; Houston King, Toledo St. John’s, 6-4, sr., 17.0; Jackie Harris, Toledo St. Francis, 6-6, jr., 16.5; Bo Myers, Logan, 6-5, jr., 22.0.

»RELATED: Boys state final four pairings

»RELATED: Boys regional results

THIRD TEAM: Samari Curtis, Xenia, 6-4, jr., 30.4; Jake McLoughlin, Dresden Tri-Valley, 6-6, sr., 12.2; VonCameron Davis, Columbus Walnut Ridge, 6-4, soph, 22.8; Devon Grant, Lorain, 6-1, jr., 21.0; Kaleb Martin, Green, 5-9, jr., 19.0; Delmar Moore, Warren Harding, 6-6, sr., 13.0; Kyle Jackson, Mansfield Madison, 6-6, sr., 20.3; Alek West, Sylvania Northview, 6-3, jr., 14.5; Branden Maughmer, Chillicothe, 6-2, Sr., 17.4; Jeremiah Davenport, Cin. Moeller, 6-5, sr., 15.4.

»RELATED: Girls state final four results

»RELATED: Moeller bumps Wayne off tourney trail

SPECIAL MENTION: Delshawn Jackson, Cleveland Central Catholic; Julius Brown, Westerville North; Sean Marks, Lewis Center Olentangy; Thomas Hickman, Westerville Central; Isaiah Speelman, Hilliard Bradley; Chris Jefferson, Cleveland Benedictine; Calvin Blair, Wooster; Jake Maranville, Uniontown Lake; Ryan Fries, Sylvania Southview; Riley Haubner, Cin. LaSalle; Matt King, Dresden Tri-Valley; Kade Ruegsegger; Ian Sexton, Dover.

»RELATED: Springfield coach, “we’ll be back”

HONORABLE MENTION: Andre Gordon, Sidney; Leonard Taylor, Springfield;

D.J. Dial, Lyndhurst Brush; Montorie Foster, Lakewood St. Edward; Tyreke Smith, Cleveland Heights; Shane Zalba, Mentor; Trent Williams; Davin Zeigler, Cleveland Benedictine; M.J. Smith, North Ridgeville;

Christian Smith, Toledo Rogers; Ryan Nunn, Findlay; Devin Williams, Toledo Start; B.J. Miller, Lima Senior; Edward Colbert, Toledo Whitmer; Isaac Elsasser, Bowling Green;

Jarrett Cox, Lakota East; Nick Deifel, Cin. Oak Hills; Kameron Gibson, Cin. Walnut Hills; Darweshi Hunter, Cin. Princeton; Greg Tribble, Cin. Winton Woods;

Josh Corbin, Gahanna Lincoln; Thomas Hickman, Westerville Central; PJ Jones, Grove City; Terin Kinsway, Delaware Hayes; Sean Marks, Olentangy; Dominiq Penn, Dublin Coffman; Isaiah Speelman, Hilliard Bradley; Caiden Landis, Logan;

Evan Bainbridge, Stow-Munroe Falls; Garrett Houser, Akron Hoban; Kyle Goessler, Brunswick; Ethan Stanislawski, Massillon Jackson; Brian Roberts Jr., Copley; Nick Felician, Brunswick; Darrell Newsom Jr., Twinsburg.

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