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270 Hoops Division I Central District Tournament Preview

By Zach Fleer, 02/22/17, 1:00PM EST


The D1 Central District tournament tips off on Thursday. Who will come out on top?

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- We are nearly 24 hours away from the opening tip of the Central District tournament. With Wednesday representing the end of the regular season, it is time to take a look at the 270 Hoops Division I Central District Tournament. 

Top 10 Seeds

1. Pickerington Central (20-2)

2. Newark (21-1)

3. Hilliard Bradley (21-1)

4. Upper Arlington (20-2)

5. Westerville South (17-5)

6. Northland (18-4)

7. Groveport (18-4)

8. St. Charles (19-2)

9. Pickerington North (16-6)

10. Reynoldsburg (16-6)

First Round Outlook

While there aren't too many potential upset specials in the first round this season, there are still some relatively intriguing matchups on opening weekend. Let's take a look at some of the highlight matchups in the area.


#21 New Albany vs. #23 Zanesville

Date: Feb. 25, 7 p.m.

Location: New Albany HS

Tipping off at New Albany, this matchup between two top 25 seeds might be the best game of the night. Two teams that have been up and down this season, Saturday will be a test of which team will be most consistent in the most important game of the season up to this point. New Albany is a bit on the smaller side, but the Eagles can absolutely shoot the lights out. Zanesville, on the other hand, is a little more athletic and lengthy. A big game from junior wing Cameron Brooks-Harris could be the difference for Zanesville. 

#9 Pickerington North vs. #34 Marysville

Date: Feb. 25, 1 p.m.

Location: Pickerington North HS

While these teams are far apart in terms of seeding, this could be an interesting first round matchup for Pickerington North. Marysville is a team that comes in at 8-14, but is better than it record may suggest. With quality size and shooting ability, the Monarchs can keep themselves in the game if they are able to hit shots and limit turnovers. Pickerington North is the more talented team in the matchup, as Jerome Hunter will pose problems for Marysville's front court. A big game from Hunter and quality contribution from his teammates should lead Pickerington North to a relative comfortable win, but don't be surprised if Marysville hits shots and competes for long stretches. 

#12 Westerville North vs. #25 Olentangy

Date: Feb. 25, 1 p.m.

Location: Westerville North HS

In a matchup of two teams that can absolutely shoot the ball, this one should be intriguing down to the end. League opponents in the OCC-Buckeye that played two games down to the wire, with Westerville North winning by two points each time, Olentangy will be looking to exact revenge. Westerville North is the bigger and more athletic team, however, Olentangy moves the ball and hits perimeter shots as well as any team we have seen this season. If the Braves are on fire and can limit Westerville North's vaunted backcourt, look for the Braves to have a chance on Saturday. 

#16 Dublin Scioto vs. #20 Delaware Hayes

Date: Feb. 25, 7 p.m.

Location: Dublin Scioto HS

Another game featuring league opponents that have played closely this season, rising Dublin Scioto will host Delaware Hayes for a second time this season. Taking down the Pacers with buzzer beaters twice this season, Scioto will be looking to complete the three-game sweep and remain hot. For Delaware, the Pacers are looking to get out of the first round and possibly make a surprise run to the district semifinals. 

Potential District Semifinals

In the Columbus I bracket, there are potential for two district semifinal games that look more like district finals on paper. As four of the top seven seeds in the entire tournament jumped in that bracket, it will be a war to the finish line. With that being said, let's take a look at some potential district semifinal games.

#4 Upper Arlington vs. #5 Northland

In what would be a rematch of last season's district semifinal in which No. 6 Upper Arlington took down No. 3 Northland, this is likely what is going to occur on March 8. Two teams that have already played twice in less than a year, both games have gone to the wire, with Northland ending Upper Arlington's undefeated start to this season on a buzzer-beater. If these two are to match up again, look for it to go down to the wire, as Upper Arlington is looking for revenge. Something to watch for Northland is the Vikings' latest skid as of late. Losing two-straight games for the first time since December 2014. Upper Arlington, on the other hand, is hot as of late, winning the OCC-Central outright last week. Having his lowest scoring game of the season in the last matchup vs. Northland, look for Dane Goodwin to come out swinging if these teams are to match up again. 

#3 Hilliard Bradley vs. #7 Groveport

A district semifinal that could have happened last season, No. 3 Hilliard Bradley and No. 7 Groveport could form for a very interesting game. Two teams that contrast style-wise, they both have what the other doesn't. While Bradley is a three-point shooting team that consistently scorches the net, the Jags don't really have an interior scoring threat. On the other hand, Groveport is a team with size inside with senior Lony Francis, that has shown to be streaky shooting the ball. Up to this point, Bradley has defended opposing bigs very well, which could end up being the difference in this matchup. 

#2 Newark vs. #15 Olentangy Liberty

Another matchup between teams with some history, Newark will look to advance to the district finals for the first time since 2015. Standing in their way could be Olentangy Liberty. The Patriots are having a very strong season and will look to take down Newark, a team it played close earlier in the year. We don't expect Newark to come in unfocused in any game this season, but Olentangy Liberty could be a potential trip up game before the district finals. 

#8 St. Charles vs. #10 Reynoldsburg

In a rematch of a game from opening night where Reynoldsburg dominated St. Charles from the opening tip, the Cardinals come in as the higher seed. Despite that, Reynoldsburg will look to complete the season sweep. Both teams have a great deal of size inside, with guards and wings to compliment its post players. Reynoldsburg has a little more depth on its bench, as St. Charles primarily goes five deep. While Reynoldsburg scores by committee, with no real leading scorer this season, St. Charles has greatly relied on it senior trio of Nick Muszynski, Tavon Brown and Braden Budd. Double figures from those three could lift the Cardinals into the district finals. If not, look for Reynoldsburg to use its depth and athleticism to advance to the districts for the first time since 2012. 

Staff Picks: District Champions

Zach Fleer

Jason Morrow

Darkell Curry

Conor Crotty

Staff Picks: Tournament MVP

Zach Fleer

Dane Goodwin (Jr. SG, Upper Arlington)

Jason Morrow

BJ Duling (Sr. SF, Newark)

Darkell Curry

Kaleb Wesson (Sr. C, Westerville South)

Conor Crotty

Dane Goodwin (Jr. SG, Upper Arlington)

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