COLUMBUS – Three Knox County high school boys basketball teams will begin this year’s state tournament at home.
Centerburg, Fredericktown and East Knox will host first- or second-round games in the final week of February, while Danville and Mount Vernon will hit the road. The OHSAA held its tournament draw on Sunday, where teams were seeded and tournament brackets were finalized.
In the Div. III central district, six-seed Centerburg will have a first-round bye. The Trojans (15-4, 11-2 Knox Morrow Athletic Conference) will host the winner of seven-seed Johnstown vs. 17-seed Liberty Union on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. Johnstown and Liberty Union will play Feb. 25.
Centerburg has already clinched a share of its first KMAC title, and a home win Friday over Fredericktown would secure the trophy outright. The Trojans are led by junior forward Carter Jones, who averages 17.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, and sophomore point guard Mick Mead, who ranks near the top of the conference in steals and assists.
If Centerburg wins its second-round matchup, it will face the winner of four-seed Bishop Ready vs. 19-seed Northridge on March 3 at a neutral location. Centerburg lost in the Div. IV sectional finals last year to Shekinah Christian, 37-35.
Also in the Div. III central district, 10-seed Fredericktown will host 15-seed Madison Plains in the first round on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. If the Freddies win, they will travel to Iberia on Feb. 28 to take on eight-seed Northmor. Fredericktown lost both games to Northmor during the regular season.
The Freddies (11-8, 8-5 KMAC) currently rank third in the KMAC. Junior guard Lincoln Cunningham ranks third in the conference in scoring at 16.8 points per game, while senior Terry Fearn and junior Caleb Sheriff also average double figures. Fredericktown will face Centerburg on the road Friday to wrap up regular season play.
Fredericktown won its first-round tournament game last year before falling to Johnstown in the Div. III sectional finals, 54-36.
In the Div. IV central district, four-seed East Knox will have a first-round bye. The Bulldogs (12-7, 8-5 KMAC) will host the winner of five-seed Newark Catholic vs. 16-seed KIPP Columbus on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. Newark Catholic and KIPP Columbus will play on Feb. 20.
After beginning conference play 2-3, East Knox has gone 6-2 over the last three weeks. Junior forward Weston Melick leads a balanced Bulldog attack with 14.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. If East Knox defeats Danville in its regular season finale on Friday, and if Centerburg beats Fredericktown, the Bulldogs will secure third place in the conference.
If East Knox wins its second-round tournament matchup, it will host the winner of six-seed Fisher Catholic vs. eight-seed Patriot Preparatory Academy on Feb. 28. The Bulldogs lost to North Union in the first round of last year’s Div. III tournament, 56-32.
Also in the Div. IV central district, 19-seed Danville will face top-seed Grandview Heights on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. The first-round battle will be held at Grandview Heights. The winner will play 17-seed Fairfield Christian Academy in the second round on Feb. 25 at the higher seed's gym.
Danville (2-17, 1-12 KMAC) won its first KMAC game of the season last Friday, beating Highland by 12 points. The Blue Devils, who graduated four starters from last year’s team, have struggled to contend in the KMAC this season. They’ll host Riverview on Tuesday before closing out the regular season at East Knox on Friday.
Danville lost in the Div. IV sectional finals last year to Berne Union, 59-44.
In the Div. I central district, 40-seed Mount Vernon will hit the road for its first-round matchup. The Yellow Jackets (6-13, 5-6 Ohio Cardinal Conference) will take on four-seed Pickerington Central on Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. The winner will play 37-seed Licking Heights on Feb. 28 at the higher seed’s gym.
After beginning the season 3-1, Mount Vernon has struggled to find consistency on the offensive end of the floor. The Yellow Jackets have been held to 40 points or less nine times this season, with eight of those games resulting in losses. Mount Vernon has lost four straight, but will look to get back on track this week, when it wraps up the regular season with two home matchups and a road bout vs. Marion Harding.
The Yellow Jackets lost to Upper Arlington in the first round of last year’s Div. I tournament, 64-39.
For statewide tournament brackets, click here.