At OSU Schottenstein Center
Winners to Saturday’s state finals
TV: All finals live on TWC Ch. 99
Alter (21-5) vs. Col. Watterson (26-1), 8:30 p.m.
Notable: Coach Joe Petrocelli’s farewell tour makes a fitting final stop at Columbus. All the Knights did to earn that was stun Dunbar 60-59 in the regional final. Jaaron Simmons’ unstoppable offensive play has been key. He’s gone for 25 points or more in each of the Knights’ five tourney games. Also in the Knights’ lineup are Mike Spencer (10.0 ppg), Dean Lemon (8.0), Michael Schwieterman (7.6) and Kraig Howe (4.8). It’s the first time in a final four for Watterson coach Vince Lombardo after 30 years of coaching. Undersized like Alter, the Eagles have relied on balanced scoring by Bryan Jackson (13.0), Matt Lehmann (10.0) and Matt Hughes (10.0). Watterson’s only loss was in Game 6 to Brookhaven, 59-56. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (19-9) plays Vincent Warren (26-1) in the other semi at 5:15 p.m. The winners play for the state title at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Versailles (22-5) vs. Leavittsburg LaBrae (24-3), 2 p.m.
Notable: Versailles wobbled toward the end of the regular season, going 4-3 and being clubbed by Delphos St. John’s on senior night, 56-37. That cost the Tigers an outright MAC title. But it’s been championship banner stuff since. It doesn’t get any better than a 60-59 defeat of Cin. Roger Bacon in the regional final. That was an upset, because Bacon KO’ed defending state champion and No. 1 Cin. Summit Country Day in a regional semi. It’s just the second final four for Versailles, which lost to St. Henry in the 2004 title game. Sophomore Kyle Ahrens is the Tigers’ leading scorer (20.0). He’s followed by Chad Winner (15.0), Damien Richard (11.0), Nick Campbell (5.0) and Jacob Heitkamp (3.0). LaBrae, out of Trumbull County in the upper northeastern part of the state, hasn’t lost since a 2-3 midseason slide. The Tigers must contain 6-7 junior Payton Aldridge (20.4). Carl Brown (10.5) and John Richards (9.0) are other capable scorers. It’s the first time to a final four for the Vikings. Ironton (23-2) plays Ottawa-Glandorf (24-3) in the other semi at 10:45 a.m. The winners play for the state title at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.