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By Ty Bartell

KENT OH- Tournament time in basketball is one of the most exciting times of the year, where the phrase “survive and advance” is more than just a saying! Of course, most coaches like to take the playoffs in chunks and often do not deviate from the “one game at a time” mentality, but as victories start piling up, the goals are greater and the picture is bigger! The first step for a lot of teams? Win districts. At the conclusion of last Saturday’s slate of games, two storied and well-known programs added another district title to their collection. Winning the northeast 1 (Twinsburg District) The Archbishop Hoban Knights set up a premier matchup with northeast 4 (Lakewood District) The St. Edward Eagles on a regional stage! 

Both teams have large support systems in their fan bases with The M.A.C.C. at Kent State University playing host site to the sweet sixteen matchup, it was sure to be loud inside those four walls. Both teams also sported 20+ win seasons this year, an accomplishment not to be taken lightly, as a great level of difficulty comes with the task of defeating 20 basketball teams on the schedule both programs put together year in and year out. 

The game tipped-off and started like you expect both powerhouse teams to start, with points at a premium and defense taking center stage. Max McClellan was doing a big part of the scoring through the early quarters for The Eagles junior. Will Scott Jr. was “the answer” and looked like he might have been powered by AI with some of the robotic, superhuman scores the senior was able to compile. St. Ed’s distributed the ball well, and can score through multiple avenues, like they have done to teams all season. The Eagles kept up the team scoring mentality to take a 15-11 lead after a quarter. 

Not having to play from behind too often this playoffs, The Knights rapidly looked for a response. But what would be their avenue? Defense of course! Lopsided quarters and crooked numbers are what Hoban has been able to capitalize on this season, making them a special group. Holding St. Edward to  just five points as a team in the second quarter, Hoban only had three shots drop through the second eight minutes of action, including YSN Freshman of the Year, Sam Greer hitting a three in the waning seconds of the half, enough to knot the game up 20-20 at the buzzer! Leaving the big age old question, how will each team adjust from here?

Starting the third quarter and The Eagles emerged from the locker room determined to recapture a lead. They did not have to wait too long as Danny Lavelle delivered what they were asking for, scoring the first five points of the third quarter for  either team, putting The Eagles in a familiar advantage once again. However, Hoban was once again able to respond through Jonas Nichols banking home a three and Will Scott Jr. keeping up his production scoring the rock. Leaving St. Ed’s with just a single point lead 31-30 with just eight minutes left in the ballgame! 

With tension rising and palms sweating throughout The M.A.C.C. only one team could punch their ticket to the elite eight and the game was still up in the air! The Eagles managed the lead for the majority of the quarter and with a little over three minutes remaining in the final quarter of play, St. Ed’s was in front 40-36, then in a matter of 40 seconds everything changed. Will Scott Jr. showed off another feat of athleticism with an acrobatic take to the rack and an immediate steal of The Eagles the following possession, translated to an Andrew Griffith clutch three point bucket to put The Knights up 41-40 with 2:35 remaining! Becoming a game of free throws down the stretch, Jonas Nichols hit two to put Hoban up by three prior to making an incredible save on a ball traveling out of bounds to keep possession with The Knights. Joey Hardman was the recipient of Jonas Nichols save and immediately drew the foul to put Hoban back at the line. Hardman made phenomenal use of his minutes on both sides of the court throughout the game, but no moment was bigger than the made free throw to put The Knights up by four with 10.5 seconds left! With an Akron heavy crowd and the roof ready to blow off the building…….3…….2…….1…….Ballgame! Holding on for the 44-40 victory, The Archbishop Hoban Knights are heading back to the elite eight! 

We here at YSN, of course, wish nothing but the best to the St. Edward seniors as they go on to do great things starting their life journey and for the players coming back, we wish them the best of luck in their 2023-24 campaign! The win for Hoban (23-3) set a single season record in wins for The Knights as they will be set to return to action Friday, March 10th  at 7:00 p.m. to face the winner of Walsh Jesuit (19-7) vs. Stow-Munroe Falls (24-2) on Wednesday night! An interview with winning Head Coach T.K. Griffith can be found below! 


Scoring (Hoban)

Will Scott: 27 PTS.

Jonas Nichols: 5 PTS.

Sam Greer: 5 PTS.

Joey Hardman: 4 PTS.

Andrew Griffith: 3 PTS.


Scoring (St. Ed’s)

Max McClellan: 11 PTS.

Danny Lavelle: 8 PTS.

Cameron Grant: 7 PTS.

Wendell Henry: 5 PTS.

Lucas Perusek: 4 PTS.

Brevyn Coleman: 3 PTS.

Joey Scarpitti: 2 PTS.


Scoring by Quarter

Q1: Hoban 11 – 15 St. Ed’s

Q2: Hoban 9 – 5 St. Ed’s

Q3: Hoban 10 – 11 St. Ed’s

Q4: Hoban 14 – 9 St. Ed’s

Final: Hoban 44 – 40 St. Ed’s

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