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Championship week in Northeast Ohio

Basketball has been a bouncing great for teams in the Northeast Ohio in the last two weeks.

The Lady Lancers of Gilmour Academy won the D-III high school title. Last Saturday, Massillon Jackson, St. Vincent – St. Mary, VASJ and Lutheran East all captured state titles in the respective divisions.

In College, the Lady Golden Eagles of Ashland completed their perfect season and captured the D-II NCAA Championship.

On March 18, Naz Hillmon scored 24 points and 17 rebounds as she helped the Gilmour Academy Lady Lancers to a 56-54 victory over Versailles to capture their first state title in school history. The Lancers (24-5) built a double-digit lead with less two minutes remaining and held on for dear life to the end.

Last Saturday, St. Vincent – St. Mary (STVM) had the first tip at 10:45 a.m. The Irish (25-5), or the school of LeBron James, had a 25 point performance by Jayvon Graves to help them to a 45-30 victory over Wauseon (27-2). Graves shot 10-from-18 from the field with seven steals and six rebounds. This is the Irish seventh state title. They close out the season winning their last 11.

Next up was battle-tested Lutheran East. The Falcons has played majority of their schedule facing D-I and D-II schools. The Falcons (19-9) put on a defensive display and beat Columbus Wellington 43-38 to capture the D-IV state crown. It is the school’s second title. Sophomore Jordan Burge led the way with 13 points, four steals and four rebounds. The Falcons had eight as a team. Their defense caged the Jaguars to 26 turnovers. Prior to that game, the Falcons beat Delphos St. John’s 50-25. Their defense buried their claws into St. John’s offense in the third quarter as they gave up zero points.

That was the deciding factor as the Falcons scored 21 in the third quarter.

VASJ won their seventh title as they knocked off Cincinnati Roger Bacon 54-52. The see-saw affair had its drama. In the game with eight lead changes and three ties, it looked like the Vikings could breathe when they led 53-43 with 35 seconds left. But three three-pointers by the Spartans made them sweat it out.

Massillon Jackson and Archbishop Moeller had the best records and the most victories and they played like it. The Polar Bears (28-2) edged Moeller (28-1) 39-38 to capture their second D-I title. The Polar Bears, who ousted St. Edward 75-64, got a free throw by Kyle Young with less than four seconds remaining.

In College Basketball, The Ashland Eagles defeated Virginia Union 93-77 to capture the NCAA D-II state title at Alumni Hall on the campus of Ohio Dominican University last Friday. The Eagles completed the season undefeated at 37-0. This is the Eagles second championship.

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