Read about Solon and other High Schools this week
By BRYANT K. KIZER
High School Beat Reporter
Solon got game.
The Division I Solon District has the best teams and the best players in this season’s boys’ sectional playoffs.
St. Ignatius,Shaker Heights,Garfield Heights,Cleveland Heights,Bedford,Maple Heightsand John F. Kennedy are the heavy hitters having an excellent season so far. However, only one of these teams will advance to the Cleveland State University Regional.
St. Ignatius (19-3), the top-seed in the Solon District and the top-team in the Call and Post’s Top 15, features Derek Sloan and Francisco Santiago. Slaon, a 6-foot-5 forward/center has scored in double figures in the last eight games.Santiagois averaging about 16 points a game. Head coach Sean O’ Toole probably has his best team ever.
#2Shaker Heights(16-6), the Red Raiders are also on a hot-streak. They have won their last five games by adding senior guard Mel Leach to the starting line-up. Leach has scored in double-figures in all of those games. He gives the Red Raiders and extra edge. Sophomore, 6-foot-7 forward/center Esa Ahmad is the team’s leading scorer. He has scored in double-figures in all but one ball game. He is also the rebounding king. In the big games, Ahmad shows up. He had 24 points in their big come-from-behind victory overMentor. He had a career-high of 28 points in their big victory over VASJ.
Rosel Hurley is a 6-foot-6 guard/forward, slasher. He is another scorer, rebounder and defender who head coach Danny Young needs. The Red Raiders also welcomed back senior Kash Blackwell, a 6-foot-5 forward, who was out for about three weeks (six games) with a sprained right ankle. He is another key to a hopeful D-I state title run.
The Red Raiders is the third-seed in the Solon District.
Garfield Heights(15-6) looks like they are in a slump as they go into the sectional losing two straight and three out of four. But head coach Sonny Johnson will have his team ready for their second straightColumbustrip. Johnson has a slew of good shooters but, on defense, they are lacking. Richard Parker, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer with almost 20 points a game, has been in double-figures in eight of the last nine games. Al Burge, a 6-foot-3 forward/guard, is averaging 17. 8 points a game and David Bell, a 6-foot-10 center, is averaging nearly 18 points a game.
Point guard Robert Hurst went down with a concussion in their game againstMentor. He will be ready on Saturday.
Cleveland Heights(15-6), the Lake Erie League champs, has been hot too. The Tigers have won their last three games. Leading the way for head coach Andy Suttell’s team is senior Marcus Bagley with 14.7 points a game. Antonio Harper, 6-foot-7 senior center, is a double-double machine.
If St. Ignatius andShaker Heightsare hot, no one has probably been hotter thanBedford. The Bearcats has won seven in a row and has jump from being a pretender to a contender. The Bearcats are led by seniors Chris Carter, Aaron Beidleman and Miles Meredith. Carter has been scoring in double-figures in their last eight games. Carter is averaging nearly 14 points a game. Beidleman is one of the best playmakers the Bearcats had in a long time.
As to the best player on the court, you might favor Maple Height’s Phil Black. Black has meant everything to the Mustangs (14-6). He has scored in double-figures in every game and is averaging 22.2 points a game. Black has scored 25 points or more in eight games. Black is the best basketball player thatMaple Heightshas ever had.
Solon’s District games
Today – Aurora vs.Bedford; John Adams vs.Euclid
Friday – the winner of Lincoln-West/JFK vs. St. Ignatius; the winner of Kenston/Maple Heights vs.Cleveland Heights
Saturday – the winner of John Adams/Euclid vs.Shaker Heights; the winner of Aurora/Bedford vs.Garfield Heights.