2021 Classic in the Country

Saturday, January 16th

CLASSIC IN THE COUNTRY PRE-SHOW

Waynedale 65 – Union Local 63
(RECAP + STATS)

Union local comes up from the river with possibly the best young post in Ohio with Reagan Vinskovich. She will be the focus on both ends, how well Waynedale can defend her will be the deciding factor. Union Local also has underclassmen in Torre Kildow and Hannah Merritt that are really solid and long. Senior Casey Kildow gives the Jets even more firepower. Waynedale will feature an offense that likes to get up and down the floor, score lots of points and lives by the three. Seniors Brooklyn Troyer (Malone Commit), Kelsey Wolfe, and Laney Murphy give th eGolden Bears a very good veteran trio that can score some serious points. Although Union Local is up 7-0 already in this one, I will go with Waynedale to get the win. I think the Bears have more depth and a deeper bench. Waynedale’s tougher schedule will help them. Union Local will have the most dominating player on the floor though with Vinskovich.

Tri-Valley 57 – Lima Bath 46

I know nothing about either one of these teams, what I used to know about Tai-Valley graduated last year. Sophomore Lexi Howe is very good for Tri-Valley. Lima Bath just upset OG last week…I’m blindly going with Lima Bath in this one.

Long athletic guard Riley Tracy has her coming out party today. The senior had a hot stroke from behind the arc today, to go along with 5 boards. Sophomore Lexi Howe also added 15 points and 4 assists. Anna Krupa added 10 for Tri-Valley. Lima Bath was led by Madelyn Renner’s 16 points and 13 points from Ruby Bolon.

Margaretta 67 – Western Reserve 43
(RECAP + STATS + INTERVIEW)

Western Reserve comes in playing well, but after losing a tough league contest to rival McDonald last Thursday. Robert Morris commit Danielle Vuletich will be the focal point for both teams. If Western Reserve is going to be successful she will have to have a good game. As the Polar Bears biggest mismatch, Margaretta will key in on her defensively. Team defense is a strength for Margaretta, they also like to bring the energy all over the floor. Whether the Blue Devils can handle the pressure will determine if this game can stay competitive or it will start to look like last years Classic matchup with Napoleon. I am going with Margaretta in this one.

Laurel 63 – Bishop Hartley 44

I know absolutely nothing about Bishop Hartley, but I do know that Laurel is loaded and coming off a win over Hoban this week, I’m taking Laurel in this one.

Laurel had four in double figures, led by Mari Bickley’s 14, along with her 6 assists. Ohio State commit, Taylor Thierry came up big with a 13 point, 11 rebound double double. Autumn Taylor added 11 point, with a trio of threes. Kendall Braaten added 10 for Laurel. 2023 post player Eloise Brandewie led Hartley with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow 2023 Kiarra McElrath finished with 12 points.

Minster 57 – Hoban 53
(RECAP + STATS + INTERVIEW)

Very intriguing matchup here. Hoban’s full court run & gun offense against Minster’s more methodical disciplined style of play. Minster features one of the best guard combo’s in Ohio with seniors Ivy Wolfe (Miami) and Janae Hoying (Findlay). Those two will be able to handle the front end of Hoban’s pressure. Hoban just send waves of athletes at you, playing deep into their bench. Lanae Riley will be the most dominant force on the floor, how will Minster try to limit the damage. Karli Anker (Cedarville) makes her Classic debut and will be a great matchup with Minster’s stars in the backcourt. I know Minster has depth and great role players, but in the end I think the Knights will have too much for the Wildcats, Im going with Hoban in this one.

Newark 53 – St. Joseph Academy 33

St. Joe’s has an uphill battle on their hands. With two of their starters out serving transfer requirements, they will be thin and inexperienced. They still have really good talent with senior PG Charlotte Adler, junior Ava Haddad in the post and junior shooter Ella Neitzel. Newark is doing incredible things, with only a single D1 player. Emma Shumate will be attending West Virginia next year, but the rest of the squad are D2 or otherwise. Madi Stottsberry (Ursuline), Peyton Lunsford (Charleston) and 2022’s Gwen Stare and Maddie Vejsicky solidify the Wildcat backcourt. Abby Derwacter has been a solid post presence for them this year. Newark is possibly the best team in Ohio, and it would be possibly the biggest upset in Classic history if the Wildcats go down. They are on the second round of four straight games, their first of three here at the Classic this weekend, but I have to go with Newark.

West Virginia commit Emma Shumate had herself a half! Five bombs from behind the arc in the first half alone. she finished with 21 on the day, mostly while Newark was building their lead. 2022 Maddie Vejsicky added 12 points while exciting 2022 PG Gwen Stare had 10 points and 5 assists. St. Joseph’s talented 2022 duo Ava Haddad and Ella Neitzel each had 10. Lots of respect to the Jaguars for even taking this game as a late switch. Not many teams would take a game agains the states top D1 team, much last last second, missing key players, and in a showcase event. The Jags were overwhelmed early, but they adjusted, and they grew from the experience.

Hiland 59 – Las Vegas Bulldogs 55

The Bulldogs, Centennial High School, left Vegas in the warm sunny weather. They land in Ohio and experience snow, maybe for the first time. I personally know how traumatic that flight from the West coast to snowy Ohio is. The Bulldogs aren’t able to play under their high school identity because of the virus and the lack of high school sports out there. Huge props to them for finding a way to compete, but this is right up Hiland’s wheelhouse. They prepare for lesser competition, with completion like this one, all summer long. Only this time the Hawks are in midseason form. I have to also believe that the amount of prep that the Hawks have done is more than that of the Bulldogs. The Hawks get this one done, they crave competition like this all year long while they get criticized for scoring too many points against league foes, I am going with Hiland.

Zoe Miller always shows out against great competition, and today was no different. The Bowling Green commit scored a game high 21 points and a game high 13 rebounds. Kyli Horn (Malone) had a great night getting to the line, going 9 for 10 en route to her 14 points. The Hawks held Oregon commit Taylor Bigby to 12 points on 4 of 15 shooting and 7 rebounds. Scrappy senior PG Addison Melone had a team high 14 points for the Bulldogs.

FISH’S FIVE – DAY 1

Sunday, January 17th

Minster 68 – Margaretta 50

I’m so excited for this game! This is two solid teams, both team oriented and fundamental. I think in this one Minster’s experience will win out. The guard duo of Wolf and Hoying are an immovable force. I absolutely love what both teams have going on, but I have to pick Minster in this one.

Elliana Schaefer ended her Classic career going for 25 points, she’s put up 70 points her last three games in Berlin, against top notch competition. 2022 Devyne Eisenhauer added 10 points and 6 rebounds for the Polar Bears.

For Minster, there was a passing of the torch of sorts. Senior Ivy Wolf had 10 assists, many of which were to 2022 Ella Mescher, who finished with a team high 19. Mescher showed this weekend that she’s a legit prospect. Mescher also added 8 rebounds. The Miami of Ohio commit, Wolf, also added 10 points and 6 rebounds while her backcourt mate Janae Hoying chipped in 11 points.

GlenOak 61 – Toledo St. Ursula 31

I’m going with GlenOak.

The Eagles got some serious production out of their role players today. senior Lexi Kleptach had 17 points and 4 assists, and fellow senior Meya Metz added 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. The usual suspects were also at it, as senior Aniyah Hall was a monster on the boards, collecting 13 boards along with 9 points. 2022 post Jordan Weir had 16 points and 6 rebounds for the Eagles. St. Ursula was led by Emily Savage’s 14 points. The Lincoln Memorial commit showed off her range with multiple deep bombs. Lila Kalman had 9 rebounds for the Arrows.

Laurel 61 – Aurora 46

Laurel is too talented. There’s too much talent on the floor at once. I wouldn’t argue with Sellers being the most talented player on the floor, but the next five will be wearing blue. Im going with Laurel.

Shyanne Sellers made her last in Berlin before heading off to Maryland, and made it count. The senior finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists. Junior Ava Ryncarz had a great game with 17 points and 7 boards. Laurel had four players in double figures, led by sophomore sensation Mari Bickley with 18 points and 5 assists. Ohio State commit Taylor Thierry had a double double with 12 points and 10 boards. Sophomores Kendall Braaten and Autumn Taylor added 11 and 10 each.

Sylvania Northview 45 – Magnificat 44

This should be a very good game. I think these teams are very even. Magnificat is coming off a big comeback win over Strongsville. Cam Jones, Mollie La Spisa and Clare Chambers give the Streaks a solid trio on both ends of the floor. Northview will counter with Kacee Baumhower (St. Bonaventure), Taylor Stacy (Cedarville) and 2022 Carly Maple for their firepower. This game is so tight to call, and my good friends at Mags will hold this against me forever, but I’m going with Northview.

What a battle! I knew this one was going to be close, and it came down to the final shot! Magnificat closed a late four point gap, to go up a bucket. After Mags missed the front end of a bonus, and a Northview timeout, Taylor Stacy ended it with a dagger from deep! The Cedarville commit ended with 11 points on the night, with 6 rebounds. Kacee Baumhower helped Northview with 19 points and 9 rebounds.

The Blue Streaks had three in double figures, led by 2022 Cam Jones’ 17. Junior spark plug Mollie La Spisa flirted with a double double after ending with 12 points and 9 boards. Senior Clare Chambers chipped 11 points and 5 rebounds for Mags.

Hoover 56 – Garfield Heights Trinity 36

I don’t know a whole lot about Trinity, if anything. What I do know is Hoover is very good defensively. Very good may be an understatement. Trinity may be long, and probably more athletic, but I’m going with Hoover in this one.

The Vikings set the tone early, still yet Trinity jumped out to an 8-5 lead behind three’s by Wrobel and Cottingham. Shortly after, Hoover poured it on. Hoover up a single point, went on a 18-1 run to rack up a 31-13 halftime lead. Trinity played pretty even in the second half, but the damage was already done. Angela Roshak continues to impress, this time with 22 points on 9 of 13 shooting, and rebounds. Kate Haubert added 16 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists while Mount Vernon commit Emily Walker had assists. Trinity had eight players score with Thigpen tops at eight.

Newark 56 – Las Vegas Bulldogs 35

I like Newark in this one. They have the length to defend the Bulldogs, they have the discipline to play their game and get the shots they want. I expect a good game, but I’m sticking with Newark.

All Wildcats in this one. Both teams were on their second of three games at the event. The Wildcats forced Vegas into lots of tough shots and turnovers, 18 for the game. the matchup between West Virginia commit Emma Shumate and Oregon commit Taylor Bigby was one that everyone was excited for. They each only had four points, but Shumate only took five shots, and also had eight boards and four assists. She also rendered Bigby literally unproductive. Mayson Stottsberry (Ursuline) and Maddie Vejsicky both had great nights. Vejsicky had 23 behind five treys while Stottsberry 21 with 9 boards. Vegas had nine players in the scoring column, but no one over six points.

FISH’S FIVE – DAY 2

Monday, January 18th

Toledo Christian 64 – Tusky Valley 41

Because I think Tusky is a little too inconsistent this year so far, I have to pick Toledo Christian. They have also had issues scoring the ball so far. If this was any of the previous years I’d certainly feel different. This year I’m going to have to choose the athleticism of Toledo and the star power of Madison Royal-Davis.

Madison Royal-Davis almost outscored Tusky Valley on her own. She had a very efficient game with 35 points on 10 of 20 shooting. She was 13 of 15 from the line and added7 rebounds. Toledo Christian also got contributions from Brynn Beard who added 10 points. Ali Shane (Marietta), Arora Levengood and Ashley Merrick all led the Trojans with 9 a piece.

Hoban 75 – Sheridan 68 (OT)

(RECAP + STATS + INTERVIEWS)

Sheridan brings a really good trio of players. Bailey Beckstedt is one of the most dynamic guards in Ohio, Faith Stinson is a very good post player and her younger sister Jamisyn is a highly touted freshman. I really look forward to the matchup between Stinson and Hoban’s Janae Riley and Beckstedt and Anker from Hoban. I think Hoban is deeper than the Generals and able to neutralize their impact players and able to prevent huge games from them. I love Sheridan and they will be relevant deep into the season, but today I’m going with Hoban.

Las Vegas Bulldogs 65 – Reynoldsburg 61

Tough 3rd game for the Bulldogs, they will be in a world of hurt after losing to Hiland and Newark already this weekend. Reynoldsburg is loaded. The Bulldogs have to be wearing down far from home, and their confidence has to be as low as its been in quite some time. I admire the ambition of Las Vegas and the grueling schedule they’ve played while in Ohio, but this is likely to be all Reynoldsburg.

The Vegas Bulldogs completed the biggest comeback in Classic in the Country history. Reynoldsburg scored the first three points of the second half, then the tables turned, majorly. The Bulldogs took that 48-23 deficit and turned it into a forever Classic moment, a 65-61 victory. The first half it looked like Vegas had enough, and they were ready to head back to the warm weather. Reynoldsburg did as they pleased, for the entire half. Once the Bulldogs started running they didn’t stop until the team van sped out of the Reese Center parking lot. The 6 time reigning Nevada state champions (12 out of the last 19 years) had a 5PM flight to catch out of Cleveland and the escape from Berlin was a swift as the comeback.

Oregon commit Taylor Bigby finally showed a little of what makes her stand out in her 21 minutes on the court. She finished with 17 points on only 10 field goals. Aaliyah Ibarra had her best game of the weekend with 14 points and scrappy PG Addison Melone finished a solid weekend with 13 points. Reynoldsburg put four in double figures led by Alexia Mobley’s (Louisville) 12 point 15 rebound performance. Mya Perry had a team high 17 points, Mari Russell had 15 pints and Makiyah Miller chipped in 10 points.

The ladies from Vegas avoided a sweep this weekend as they lost to Hiland on Saturday and Newark last night.

Napoleon 49 – Magnificat 34
(RECAP + STATS + INTERVIEW)

Toughest game to decide on today. Mags lost a heartbreaker last night, but played well. They have been playing well recently. Napoleon is a D2 power who will bring a big crowd. They play an uptempo style of play, but they haven’t played in almost 2 weeks, can they avoid a slow start and conditioning issues? They did play really well against Toledo Notre Dame in a loss earlier this year. This is a very tough decision, and it doesn’t reflect the confidence ei have in the Blue Streaks, but I have to go with Napoleon with the win today.

Newark 54 – Solon 23

I almost always pay for selecting against Solon. I’m a big advocate for how hard they play, and how much of a superstar Northwestern commit Hailey Weaver is. However this time the gap is just too wide. Newark is very good, and deservedly so, the top team in Ohio. I have to go with Newark.

Despite the score, Solon really was tough in this game, at least for the majority of the game. With Solon’s tradition and the programs expectations, there are no moral victories though. Hailey Weaver ended her Classic career with am 8 point, 9 rebound game. For the Wildcats, Emma Shumate continued her dominating weekend with just as many rebounds as points, 15 of each. Smooth junior PG Gwen Stare had 13 points to compliment her 9 assists, while fellow 2022 Maddie Vejsicky has another 12 points and 6 boards.

Laurel 69 – Wadsworth 26

This is going to be am uphill battle for Wadsworth. Laurel is loaded, and despite being their 3rd game this weekend, I believe they will be too much for the Grizzlies. I have to pick Laurel to go 3-0 this weekend.

Junior Ciena Matheny led the grizzlies with 10 points and 5 boards. Sophomore Autumn Taylor, who has quietly had a great weekend, led the Gators with 14 points while senior Taylor Theirry also scored 14. 2023 Mari Bickley added 12 for Laurel and Margaret Jones got the start and came through with 11 points. Freshman Helen Holley also came off the bench with 7 points and 9 rebounds.

Hiland 62 – Jackson 35

Jackson will feature 2022 Emma Dretke and 2023 Leena Patibandla, who are both next level prospect with D1 offers. However they will be without an injured Lauren Pallotta. The Bears kept it close with Newark earlier in the season, and will be competitive, but I am selecting Hiland to get the win.

Hiland was led by Malone commit Kyli Horn, who has been playing very well. She dropped in 15 points tonight while shooting 6 for 8. Kelsey Swihart, another Malone commit, scored 12 points. Bowling Green commit Zoe Miller scored 10 and boarded 6 while Ashland commit Morgan Yoder had 8 points and 6 assists. Jackson 2022 Emma Dretke played tough while racking up 12 points and 7 rebounds.



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