The Hooley, Tuesday, March 28

posted by Bruce Hooley -

Northeast Ohio dominated the Boys State Basketball Tournament at Value City Arena over the weekend.

Lutheran East won the Division IV title, with Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (LeBron James University) taking Division III, Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Clark Kellogg Tech) the Division II champ and Massillon Jackson taking Division I.

Jackson is the outlier, the only public school to triumph...with a caveat. Jackson lost during the regular season to D3 champ St. V, which in turn lost to D2 champ VASJ.

There's something screwed up when the smaller-school state champions are beating the eventual big-school state champion, and there's something amiss when you can name three or four schools as State semifinalists -- depending whether the sport is football, basketball or soccer -- a year or three ahead.

You know who you are, VASJ, Cincinnati Moeller, Hathaway Brown, St. Ed's, Ignatius, VASJ, Kettering Alter, Walsh Jesuit and on and on and on.

As a public school kid contemplating sending my children to private school, I'm sensitive to both sides of the debate regarding whether the Ohio High School Athletic Association should separate the public schools from the private schools in post-season tournaments.

Publics feel ripped off with Privates winning 6 of 7 titles in football, 6 of 6 in boys and girls soccer and 3 of 4 in both boys and girls basketball.

Privates say athletics is just one of the allures of leaving public school, and not even a factor at many private schools.

It's complicated issue the Ohio High School Athletic Association will try to fix next year with a Competitive Balance Formula aimed at elevating private schools upward if enrollment numbers meet certain criteria.

I don't understand how it will work, and I doubt that it will satisfy everyone, because I don't see a solution that can possibly do that. But something has to be done when the Privates dominate like they are, given that less than 20% of the schools in the state are Private.

 I applaud the OHSAA for doing something, and I hope what they're doing works, but it looks like I'm not the only one skeptical about the Competive Balance Formula solving the problem.

The Cavaliers' defense was dreadful again in a 103-74 loss at San Antonio on Monday night.

The Cavs play the Bulls on Thursday, with pregame at 7:30 p.m. and tip at 8 on 1057 The Zone.

It feels like the Cavs have gotten old overnight. They look slow, unathletic and disinterested. That adds up to a vulnerability that could result in them expending everything they have to get back to the NBA Finals, leaving them nothing in the tank to defend their title.

Ty Lue had to decide whether it's best to sit LeBron and Kyrie Irving down the stretch to get them rested for the playoffs, knowing that will likely cause them to sink further in the NBA standings.

The up-side to finishing fourth behind Boston, Washington and Toronto would be a second-round series against the top seed, assuming the Celtics survive the first round. In theory, the Cavs would be more rested for Boston.

But if Washington finished second and the Cavs third, the Cavs would be in the Wizards' half of the bracket and would have to oust Washington in Round Two and the Celtics in Round Three.

Suddenly, the East looks a lot more imposing.

We play Win Maddie's Tickets for two seats in Nationwide Arena on Sunday at 6 p.m. for the Blue Jackets vs. Washington.

Answer as many or more questions correctly than Maddie in our five-question, 30-second quiz and you win the tickets, sponsored by Kurtz Bros. Mulch and Soils.

Tuesday's questions:

1. Who is the head coach at Gonzaga?

2. Which team won the Stanley Cup last year?

3. Who traded the 12th pick in the first round to the Browns?

4. Where did Thad Matta begin his head coaching career?

5. The Jackets third jersey features a picture of what on the front?

Answers: Mark Few, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Eagles, Butler University, a cannon.

I don't santion breaking and entering, but I have to admire the ingenuity, and strength, of these thieves.

I think this guy got away with murder, in what is unquestionably the coldest case in the cold case file.


Twenty-five years ago today, this happened, and I was lucky to make it out alive.

On Saturday night, March 28, 1992, I was in Lexington, Ky., to cover OSU vs. Michigan's Fab Five in the NCAA regional finals the following day at Rupp Arena.

The nice folks of Lexington decided to take both the Ohio and Michigan press corps out for dinner at a local racetrack. They even put some horse racing on the televisions for us to watch, while wagering play money.

Depending on how much money we accumulated, we could purchase some of the prizes the local organizing commitee had set aside.

While reporters from Michigan and Ohio tried to out-do each other in betting the races, the locals had eyes only for Duke vs. Kentucky in the NCAA East Regional on the televisions.

When Kentucky sank a shot with seconds to play, grabbing a one-point lead, the crowd of about 200 erupted, convinced the Wildcats had clinched a Final Four trip and dethroned the defending NCAA champions.

Then you know what happened.

Christian Laettner happened.

As his shot went through the net, I jumped out of my seat, thrust my fist in the air and hollared, "YES!"

My colleagues in the press corp, observing the no-cheering-in-the-press-box etiquette of our profession, sat stone silent.

I looked around and found 400 angry eyeballs turned upon me as I exulted in Duke's victory.

But Southern hospitality is real, folks.

Those Kentucky fans not only let me leave unharmed, they didn't even confiscate the color television I was able to purchase with my winnings.


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