By Ty Bartell

When it comes to sports stories, there are few that equal the story of The Archbishop Hoban Knights boys basketball team and their quest to the state final four. Storylines of beating a team that owned a victory over The Knights in the regular season, defeating GlenOak in a district semi. Or beating the team that knocked Hoban out of the tournament last year in The St. Edward Eagles in this year’s regional semi. The Knights also got over the hump of Walsh Jesuit in the regional final, even though The Warriors knocked Hoban out of the playoffs in three of the last four years, The Knights overcame. All those victories got them to the doorstep of state title glory with an appearance to The State Final Four! 

Two wins are all that is left when teams get this far; however, the trade off is that they are the hardest two wins to earn all season. For The Knights, they drew the Region 1 winner in The Toledo St. John’s Jesuit Titans in a state semi final! Both squads were fairly newer to the state title picture, with The Titans looking for their first state championship and their last appearance at the state final coming in 2004. On the other side, Hoban got back to the State Final Four for the first time since 1998, but it has been since 1989 since The Knights one and only state final appearance in a winning effort that featured current Head Coach T.K. Griffith on the winning 1989 team. 

With all the high energy in the stadium, the opening tip sent the crowd into a frenzy as a trip to the big game was on the line! Hoban scored initially and was able to build on that lead early on. It was freshman Sam Greer that was playing on the big stage like he had been there before, racking up half of his team’s points in the first quarter. The Titans had a response ready, as a technical foul committed by Greer allowed Toledo St. John’s Jesuit to turn the momentum and cut their deficit prior to the end of the quarter, as Hoban led 14-10 after one. Defense has been a common theme during The Knights playoff run and they kicked on the clamps to start the second! Holding The Titans to just 4 points of offense in the second, Hoban was able to build on their lead by getting guys like Will Scott Jr. and Jonas Nichols involved with the offense, The Knights doubled up the score, leading the game 28-14 at the half. 

Looking for adjustments on both sides, nothing much changed from the previous quarter of play. With The Knights scoring 14 points as a team in a quarter for the third consecutive time, Hoban’s defense once again put a crooked number up on defense by holding The Titans to just 5 points in the third, extending The Knights lead even further. Andrew Griffith and Logan Vowles found the mark from distance in the second half, allowing Hoban to create multiple threats on offense all around the floor. With a 42-19 lead and just eight minutes left to play, The Knights had to walk the fine line of staying aggressive while eating away the clock to book their ticket to The State Championship! The Titans threw their best punch and compiled their best offensive quarter of the game, scoring 17 points in the fourth; however, it would not be enough, as Hoban burned away the remaining seconds of the game to clinch their first trip to the big game since 1989, defeating Toledo St. John’s Jesuit 49-36!

The story of The Archbishop Hoban Knights has been an incredible one thus far, but one more chapter awaits if they wish to have the storybook ending. That final game for Hoban (25-3) will go through the 2022 defending state champion The Pickerington Central Tigers (24-5) on Sunday, March 19th at 8:30 p.m. for tip-off. 


Scoring (Hoban)

Jonas Nichols: 14 PTS, 11 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK. 

Sam Greer: 12 PTS, 12 REB, 1 STL, 4 BLK.

Will Scott Jr: 12 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST, 1 BLK.

Andrew Griffith: 5 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK.

Logan Vowles: 3 PTS, 5 REB, 1 STL. 

Joey Hardman: 3 PTS, 4 REB. 


Scoring (Toledo SJJ)

Joseph Taylor: 11 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST, 3 STL.

C.J. Hornbeak: 10 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL.

Jaylen Murphy: 7 PTS, 1 REB.

Mitchell Michalak: 6 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST.

Marquez Frazier: 2 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST. 


Scoring by Quarter:

Q1: Hoban 14 – 10 Toledo SJJ

Q2: Hoban 14 – 4 Toledo SJJ

Q3: Hoban 14 – 5 Toledo SJJ
Q4: Hoban 7 – 17 Toledo SJJ

Final: Hoban 49 – 36 Toledo SJJ