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(4) Richmond Heights vs. (2) Berlin Hiland Division IV boys basketball state championship preview

Mar. 23—(4) Richmond Heights vs (2) Berlin Hiland

What: Division IV state final

When: 10:45 a.m., March 24

Where: University of Dayton, 1801 Edwin C Moses Blvd., Dayton

Records: Richmond Heights 18-9, Berlin Hiland 21-6

TV: Spectrum News 1

Richmond Heights path: Defeated Medina Christian, 92-32, def. Berlin Center Western Reserve, 62-26, def. Cornerstone, 95-53, def. Seneca East, 87-37, def. Warren JFK, 95-61, def. Russia, 64-52

Berlin Hiland's path: Defeated Beallsville, 64-9, def. Strasburg-Franklin, 37-26, def. Shaysville, 57-54, def. Monroe Central, 54-43, def. Northside Christian, 52-32, def. South Webster, 48-45 (OT), def. Lima Central Catholic, 62-59 (2OT)

For the record: Richmond Heights is one win away from its third straight state championship. ... It wasn't always pretty, but the Spartans got it done in its state semifinal against Russia. The Raiders used a mix of strong defense and extra passes to get open looks against the Spartans' tight defense. Spartans leading scorer Dorian Jones fouled out with just under six minutes left, but De'Erick Barber and Demarris Winters combined for 32 points and to help push the lead to double figures late. Richmond Heights struggled on the glass against Russia. If Hiland aims to pull the upset to cut the nets down, it will need to find a way to slow down the Spartans fast-paced style of play. ... The Hawks return to the state title game for the first time since 2019 and got to the game with a double-overtime buzzer-beater by Nick Wigton against Lima Central Catholic in the other semifinal. Wigton is one of two Hawks players who average double figures, with his 13.5 points going song with Sammy Detweiler's 16.6. Hiland's offense is led by sophomore Alex Miller, who averages 4.7 assists per game. The Hawks have been strong on defense, holding opponents to 41.6 points, which they used to build an initial lead against Lima Central Catholic. They have challenges inside with Sam Wengerd and Wigton as the leading rebounders averaging four a piece. The last time these two met in the state tournament, Richmond Heights took the win over Hiland en route to its first state title in 2022.

Hercik's pick: Richmond Heights