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Conference Races Update: Multiple league titles on the line this weekend

By Zach Fleer, 02/16/21, 10:30AM EST

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We take a look at where every conference race stands across the area

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As Central Ohio braces for another blast of winter weather, the area is also preparing for a busy weekend of basketball where several league titles will be decided in the Ohio Capital Conference. While nearly every other league title has been decided already, the City League and OCC will crown champions this weekend.

Let’s take a look at the conference title races all across the area.

Central Catholic League: St. Charles won their second-straight outright CCL title when they went on the road and knocked off Bishop Ready last Friday. Despite a coaching change and losing Jared Frey to transfer, the Cardinals did not take a step back as junior guard Doogie James powered them to their fifth league title in seven years - all of which are outright titles, which is hard to do in an evenly balanced CCL.

City League North: Beechcroft won its third North division title in the last four years when they took down top contenders Linden-McKinley and Northland last week. The Cougars sit at a perfect 8-0 and will look to notch their second City title since 2018 when they take on Africentric this Saturday at 12 p.m.

City League South: Africentric went unbeaten in the City South and won its first division title since 2013. The Nubians survived a few one-possession games against Walnut Ridge and South, the two teams that have dominated the division as of late, to advance to the City Championship. Africentric hasn’t won the City title since 2005, a victory over Brookhaven that was nullified by the OHSAA after it was revealed the Nubians had allowed an ineligible player to play in their run to the state championship. A win Saturday would be Africentric’s first official title in boys hoops. 

OCC-Buckeye: Pickerington Central sits unbeaten in league play at 9-0 and remains a game ahead of rival Reynoldsburg. The Tigers have not really been challenged in the newly formed Buckeye division but will get a great shot from Reynoldsburg on Friday at home. The Raiders are playing great ball under first year coach Andy Moore and will look to force a tie at the top with a win. Reynoldsburg delivered a huge win last Tuesday on the road at Hilliard Bradley.

OCC-Capital: Worthington Kilbourne has been the surprise of the season in the OCC as the Wolves are sitting at 15-3 with an 11-1 mark in league play. Winning more than 14 games for the first time in its near 30-year history, Kilbourne controls their own destiny in the Capital division and will have a chance to win an outright league title when they take on Westerville South on Friday. The Wildcats, who have been shut down due to COVID-19 several times this season, have only played nine games and are currently 6-2 in the division. 

OCC-Cardinal: Thomas Worthington reigns supreme over the Cardinal division and won an outright league title this past Friday against Hilliard Darby. The Cardinals are absolutely scorching as of late, winners of their last 12 games and unbeaten when senior Isaac Settles logs a minute. Thomas hasn’t lost a game since Dec. 29 after a 2-4 start, with its signature win coming over Gahanna on Jan. 23 in a 75-49 beatdown. 

OCC-Central: While Hilliard Bradley’s 61-game OCC win streak was snapped this season, the Jaguars still managed to clinch a league title with its one-game lead over Olentangy Liberty. Bradley swept Liberty in both meetings and has one more test against Dublin Coffman, who sits two games behind the Jaguars right now. At 14-4, Bradley has a bigger target on its back than ever after back-to-back losses to Reynoldsburg and Olentangy Orange last week.

OCC-Ohio: Gahanna Lincoln won at least a share of the OCC-Ohio title last Friday when they blitzed Grove City on the road. The Lions have one last major test in the league when Pickerington North comes to town on Friday in a game of huge importance. With Gahanna holding a one-game lead over the Panthers, a North win would force a three-way tie atop the league between the Lions, Panthers and Westerville Central. 

MSL-Buckeye: Logan Elm won the MSL-Buckeye as the Braves hold an 11-1 record in league play. Despite a lengthy COVID-19 shutdown in December, Logan Elm has just one blemish on its record against Fairfield Union. Look for the Braves to contend for another Division II district title in the southeast district.

MSL-Cardinal: For the eighth season in a row, Harvest Prep was crowned champions of the MSL-Cardinal. The Warriors have won 61-consecutive league games and have yet to be challenged since losing to Grove City Christian in the 2016-17 season. Still unbeaten and riding a 26-game win streak, the Warriors haven’t lost a game since Jan. 18, 2020.

MSL-Ohio: Worthington Christian ran the gauntlet in the MSL-Ohio and took down Whitehall for the league title at home on Friday. At 20-1, the Warriors went a perfect 8-0 in league play and will look to be a major threat in Division III. After jumping on Harvest Prep at last year’s tournament draw, Prep did the exact same thing to Worthington Christian this year, which could make for a highly entertaining district final if both teams make it. Outside of a road loss to Dublin Jerome this year, Worthington Christian hasn’t lost a game since last year’s district final against….you guessed it - Harvest Prep.

Licking County League: Two champions are crowned each year in the LCL with this year’s winners being Johnstown and Licking Heights. Both teams are 17-4 this season, as Johnstown’s lone loss came to Heath, who finished a game behind in the league. For Licking Heights, the Hornets have won 17-consecutive games after an 0-4 start to the season, with its only loss coming in early December to co-champion Johnstown. 

Central Buckeye Conference: Jonathan Alder is the champions of the Kenton Trail Division of the CBC, as the Pioneers are still unbeaten at 19-0. In the Mad River Division, North Union was crowned champions for the second-straight season, as the Wildcats are riding a 20-game win streak in the division. 

KMAC: In Central Ohio’s northeastern-most league, we have a tie at the top between Fredericktown and Centerburg. The Freddies handed Centerburg its first division loss of the year on Friday, forcing a tie atop the division. Fredericktown, at 19-1, has only lost to Centeburg all year and will split the KMAC title with the Trojans.Both teams figure to be major threats in the Division III district tournament.

MOAC: Shelby has won 22-straight games in the MOAC and was crowned champions for a second-straight season. Senior TJ Pugh has put up absurd numbers this season and has been a major part of the school’s longest conference win streak in history.

Ohio Heritage Conference: In the Ohio Heritage Conference, Fairbanks are champions of the North division at 12-4. The senior laden Panthers finished just one game ahead of West Liberty-Salem. 

MOCAL: Tree of Life holds a one game lead over Shekinah Christian. The MOCAL has traditionally come down to these two programs in recent history.

United League: In the newly formed United League, Patriot Prep Academy has an unbeaten record in league play. With the majority of its members backed up due to COVID and some even without a game yet this season, Patriot has a major advantage in the division. 

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