Unbeaten Wayne boys vault to No. 1 in state basketball poll

There’s a new No. 1 in town.

Unbeaten Wayne (11-0) drew all but one first-place vote and overtook Upper Arlington as the state’s top-ranked Division I boys high school basketball team in this week’s Associated Press state poll.

Ironically, the teams were to have played in the final Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop game at Fairmont’s Trent Arena on Monday. That anticipated No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown was scrubbed when administration ruled Upper Arlington would not be allowed to travel because of a snow and ice storm that struck Ohio over the weekend.

That wasn’t the only game Wayne missed out on. On Friday, Wayne was to have hosted unbeaten Springfield (11-0) in another showdown of Greater Western Ohio Conference National East powers. Like many others, that game, too, was postponed because of worsening road conditions.

Wayne will host Springfield in a makeup game Jan. 24. Springfield will host the rematch on Feb. 9.

Wayne did squeeze in a 68-57 defeat of visiting Akron St. Vincent St. Mary’s on Saturday. Akron SVSM has a losing record but has played one of the state’s toughest schedules. The Irish defeated Trotwood-Madison in the Division II state title game last season.

Fort Loramie (11-0) is No. 1 among D-IV boys.

Minster (12-1) remains No. 1 in the state D-IV girls rankings, but Versailles (14-1) fell to No. 2 among D-III girls. The teams are Midwest Athletic Conference rivals. Minster is at Verailles next Thursday.

• There should not be any major changes in Flyin’ to the Hoop next season. Fairmont is committed to extending a long relationship with Flyin’ creator Eric Horstman and has a great venue in the Trent to host the popular four-day event over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend.

At issue was the Ohio High School Athletic Association wanting host high school sites to have more control over these kinds of events that are run by third parties, such as Horstman. If the OHSAA isn’t satisfied with Flyin’, it could choose not to sanction the event. That is not expected to happen.

And not allowing dunks during pregame warm-ups? That is an old National Federation of State High School Associations rule that wasn’t enforced at Flyin’ until this year.

• OHSAA Executive Director Dr. Dan Ross will retire from that position Sept. 15. His resignation was accepted and announced Thursday during the monthly OHSAA board meeting in Columbus.

Ross has been in place since Aug. 1, 2004 when he succeeded Clair Muscaro. Like Muscaro, Ross oversaw a myriad of changes to the OHSAA, none more impactful than the competitive balance issue that was instituted this school year.

Ross has been plagued by health issues in recent years. He suffered a heart attack in November 2015 following routine colon surgery for diverticulitis. He remains on a national donor list for a heart transplant. He took a long leave of absence to recover and had eased back into daily OHSAA duties.

A Portsmouth native, he also served as a superintendent, principal, teacher, counselor, coach and contest official prior to accepting the OHSAA position as commissioner.

• Springboro’s girls followed up a decisive blowout of top-ranked Tippecanoe by taking out Wayne 56-27 on Wednesday. Jordan Diehl had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Rachel Gillum added 11 points, making all four field goal attempts and all three free throws.

Springboro defeated Tipp 57-38 in Flyin’s featured girls matchup on Saturday. Springboro (11-3) is at rival Lebanon (12-2) in a GWOC National West showdown at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Lebanon is coming off a 66-62 setback to Centerville.

• Versailles senior Justin Ahrens scored 26 points in a 64-42 win at Lima Central Catholic. That vaulted him past Greg Kahlig of Fort Recovery and into second place all-time among MAC career scorers.

Ahrens has scored 1,738 points in his career and needs just seven points on Friday against visiting Fort Recovery to surpass MAC leader Greg Kahlig (2010 Fort Recovery grad) as the conference’s all-time leading scorer.

A 6-foot-6 guard/forward, Ahrens also was on display at Flyin’, going for 26 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a 65-50 defeat of Sidney. Versailles (12-1) is among the state’s top 10 D-III teams. Ahrens has signed with Ohio State University.

• Samantha Whiteman of Covington is the latest area basketball player to surpass 1,000 career points. The junior surpassed the mark by scoring 27 points in a recent 67-51 defeat of Ansonia.

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