State Tournament Notebook

By BRUCE HEFFLINGER hefflinger@crescent-news.com Published:

COLUMBUS - A look at the opening day of the 90th annual Boys State Basketball Tournament.

• One of the top lines of the day goes to Neil Gingerich of Berlin Hiland ... 12 points, 13 rebounds, 7 blocked shots and 0 turnovers. But the better line was Gingrich’s answer when asked if he was more pleased with 13 rebounds or seven blocked shots. “I’m pleased with the win,” the 6-7 senior said.

• Two of Columbus Africentric’s losses prior to Thursday’s Division IV state semifinal defeat were to Columbus Walnut Ridge, which is coached by Jason Bates, brother of Africentric head coach Michael Bates. Jason now owns a 7-1 advantage on his brother.

• The last time Jackson Center was at state was 1985. The Tigers beat a Columbus Wehrle team led by Jerry Francis 60-55 in the Class A semifinals en route to a state title. Francis is now the head coach at Pickerington Central, a Division I state participant this year.

• Entering Saturday’s D-IV finals, Berlin Hiland’s Dylan Kaufman has 1,718 career points and teammate Segar Bonifant 1,438. Bonifant, who scored 44 points in helping the Hawks to the 2011 state crown including 23 against Continental in the semifinals, played his first two years of high school at Strasburg-Franklin. Hiland beat Strasburg-Franklin three times this season, the last in the sectional finals.

• Defiance Collee is reportedly on the radar of Jackson Center 6-5 senior Nady Hoying, who had 15 points, eight rebounds and drew three charges in the semifinal win over Africentric.

• Berlin Hiland has a chance to be the first Division IV team to repeat as state champion since Columbus Wehrle won three straight from 1988-90.

• Jackson Center head coach Scott Elchert was the mentor of Upper Sandusky prior to Keith Diebler’s run at the top of the Rams.

• Elchert on coaching his son Trey at the state tournament: “It’s been awesome, a true blessing from God above. It’s a dream come true for both of us. He’s been in the gym since ... I said walk before ... but really since he could crawl. It’s an unbelievable thrill. You can’t put it into words.”

• Eichert on how a school with 61 boys can make it to the state finals: “You just start building at a young age. These kids have played a lot of basketball since fourth grade. And it helps to have access to the gym. I give him (son Trey) my keys and he calls them up.”

• In true form of a coaches’ son, Elchert, the team’s point guard, had no turnovers and four assists against the pressure defense of Africentric. The Tigers average just 8.5 turnovers a game and Elchert 1.3.

• West Virginia coach Bobby Huggins was in the crowd, most likely watching Summit guards Kevn Johnson and Antonio Woods, a junior and sophomore, respectively. “We have the two best guards in the state and soon people in the country will understand,” Summit coach Michael Bradley said.

• Bradley is now 45-5 in two years as a head coach. “If you can’t win high school games with two future Division I players and two good big guys maybe I need to be examined,” the Summit coach said.

• Bradley was a member of the 1998 Kentucky national championship team. He played one more year with the Wildcats then transfered to Villanova where he was an All-American. Bradley was the 17th selection of the 2001 NBA draft and played with five teams in five years. He and his wife own a yoga studio and the team did yoga at 6 a.m. on Thursday.

• Bedford Chanel’s first-team all-state selection Damon Jones had just four points but seven turnovers.

• The 15-man Chanel roster includes players from 10 different middle schools.

• The cost of tuition at Summit Country Day is $19,350 for juniors and seniors and $18,700 for freshmen and sophomores. The cost goes down all the way to a two-year-old program at $9,550 per year.

• Summitt Country Day won despite hitting just 11-21 free throws and missing both 3-point attempts. Speaking of shooting, through three games the only team to hit better than 54 percent at the foul line was Berlin Hiland (7-9).

• Summit’s Johnson had two interceptions in his first varsity football game as a freshman. The 6-2 junior no longer plays the sport, concentrating on basketball with Division I college interest.

• The name Robbie is on the back of Summit warm-up jerseys in honor of Holden Hertzel’s father who passed away before he season. “We wanted to dedicate the year to him,” coach Bradley said. Herzel, a benchwarmer last season, has dropped 30 pounds and is now 6-5, 235. “I thought I could be the missing link but I didn’t know I’d have this big of impact,” said Hertzel, who had 10 points and five rebounds in a 49-41 win. Hertzel averages 10.4 points per game on the season.

• Portsmouth is attempting to be the first team from the Southeast District to win a state title in Division III.

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