(27) NDCL vs. (2) Ursuline boys basketball Division II district final preview

Mar. 8—(27) NDCL vs (2) Ursuline

What: Division II district final

When: 4 p.m., March 9

Where: Warren Harding, 860 Elm Rd. NE, Warren

Records: NDCL 13-12, Ursuline 21-3

NDCL's path: Defeated West Geauga, 50-34, def. Geneva, 78-61, def. Edgewood, 70-46

Ursuline's path: Defeated Collinwood, 62-19, def. Lincoln West, 74-13, def. Streetsboro, 64-35

On deck: The winner will play the winner of CVCA and VASJ in a regional semifinal at Canton on March 14.

For the Record: The Lions used a strong third-quarter run to pull ahead of Edgewood in a district semifinal. NDCL had Connor Hernan step up as a scorer with Jaxon Mangelluzzi having a quiet contest against the Warriors. Hernan had 18 points in the victory as one of three players in double figures, along with Angelo Tamburrino and Brendan Hernan. The Lions struggled from beyond the arc — their first 3-pointer came midway through the third quarter, but they dominated the boards and paint with 35 rebounds. NDCL will need a better performance from deep to pull another upset. ... Ursuline has a balanced attack and averagees 68.8 points per game. They are led by senior Jayden Payne and freshman Jaylen Gunther with three others who can score when needed. The defense has been equally as strong, holding teams to 49.9 points per game. The Fighting Irish have only had eight games within 10 points on the season but have been on the losing end of three of them as they try to take the next step after last year's district final loss to Gilmour.

Hercik's pick: Ursuline