By Chris Chaney
With two weeks left in the regular season, Clermont County’s 10 high school boys’ basketball teams found out what their path to the divisional round will look like at the seeding and draw meeting on Sunday, Feb. 9 at Lakota West High School.
With three local teams competing in Division I, three in Division II and four in Division III, many squads have the opportunity to face a familiar opponent during the sectional tournament bracket.
Beginning in the top Division, Eastern Cincinnati Conference rivals Milford and Glen Este have been placed in the same sectional bracket, Cincinnati 3, which will be contested at Hamilton High School.
The No. 16 seeded Eagles are the top local Division I seed and will play No. 12 Oak Hills in the first round on Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. The Trojans, seeded 23rd, will play directly before their ECC counterparts, on Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. against the No. 21 seeded Mount Healthy Owls.
Both ECC schools would have to win a pair of games to get to the sectional final on March 2 when they could possibly play one another for the right to move to the divisional round.
Amelia, the third Division I school out of Clermont County, is playing in the Cincinnati 5 sectional and have drawn a matchup with No. 11 seed Turpin on Friday, Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. to be played at Fairfield High School.
The Barons are currently 16-3 overall and tied for the lead in the SBC American with New Richmond.
The Lions, playing in the Division II Mason sectional, are the No. 7 seed and will play Wyoming in the first round at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22.
“We are playing well right now,” head coach Brian McMonigle said. “Our sectional is very tough, but we are a solid team that got the seventh seed. Anywhere I would have placed us in the bracket would have resulted in playing a tough first-round opponent.”
If the Lions can get passed the Cowboys in the first round, they could be in for a second-round matchup with No. 9 seed Goshen.
The Warriors will play Woodward, the No. 5 seed, directly following the New Richmond game on Feb. 22. Tip for the Goshen game is slated for 2 p.m.
The full day of Clermont County hoops at Mason begins with the No. 8 seed Batavia playing No. 2 McNicholas at 11 a.m. The Bulldogs are currently in third place in the SBC National and have four games remaining on their schedule before the sectional tournament begins.
In Division III, the four local teams are spread over two different sectional venues. Williamsburg is the highest seeded of the Clermont County schools at No. 11 and they share a sectional with No. 21 Bethel-Tate.
The Tigers play the winner of top-seeded Roger Bacon and No. 16 seed North College Hill on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. at Turpin High School. The Wildcats will play their first sectional game immediately following Bethel-Tate against No. 9 seed St. Bernard, scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
In the Western Brown sectional Clermont Northeastern and Felicity-Franklin are slated for a possible second-round matchup if the Rockets can get past Clark Montessori in the opening round.
“I have been really happy with the way our team has been competing lately,” CNE head coach Darnell Parker said. “It hasn’t necessarily always translated into as many wins as we would have liked, but the effort that the boys have been putting in during practice and games encourages me.
“Clark has a great program and I have a lot of respect for Coach Kerr. They will be a huge obstacle for our ball club, but this group will go into the game confident and with a no quit attitude.”
The No. 17-seeded Rockets play Clark on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. and if they win will play the No. 20-seeded Cardinals on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at Western Brown.
Full brackets, locations and game times can be found on the Southwest District Athletic Board website at www.swdab.org.