Boys Basketball: Four things to watch in the tournament

Feb. 27—The postseason is underway as of Tuesday night for area high school boys basketball teams.

Here are four things to look out for through the rest of sectional and district play.

Will Lima Senior be consistent enough to make a deep run?

Once Lima Senior gets by a one-win Mansfield Madison team, the road gets tough. The Spartans are getting healthy at the right time, and when they put four quarters together, they're as tough to beat as any team in Division I.

The one thing standing Lima Senior's way of making noise in the postseason is consistency.

On its way to a record of 13-9, the Spartans had a four-game winning streak in late January, but largely alternated wins and losses for the rest of the year.

Lima Senior's difficult road starts in the sectional finals on Friday when they visit Sandusky, the winner of the Sandusky Bay-Lake Conference. The Blue Streaks are 21-1 on the year, but remember, regular-season records can be deceiving.

Both teams lost to Toledo Whitmer in the regular season but picked up wins against Bowsher and Mansfield Senior. That's about where common opponents end.

The Spartans definitely get the nod in the "strength of schedule" conversation, which makes the matchup more of a toss-up than records would indicate.

Perrysburg (15-7) probably waits for Lima Senior in the district semifinals, and should they make it past the Yellow Jackets, it likely sets up a rematch with Toledo Whitmer for the district title.

It's been almost three months since the two teams met up during the regular season on Dec. 12, but the first round was a thriller.

Whitmer made the trip to Lima and stole an overtime victory from the Spartans behind a 30-point game from Antoine West.

If Lima Senior and Toledo Whitmer meet again on the big stage, the Spartans could use that early season loss as motivation for a deep tournament run.

Who emerges from the WBL-heavy Liberty-Benton District?

Out of the 10 teams that make up the Division II Liberty-Benton District, eight come from the Western Buckeye League.

The top four seeds, in order, are Elida, Fostoria, Shawnee and St. Marys. All of those teams earned byes, in addition to Kenton, which visits St. Marys in the sectional finals on Friday.

The winner of Upper Sandusky and Defiance plays Elida, while Celina and Van Wert determine Shawnee's Friday night matchup. Fostoria gets the winner of Napoleon and Bath.

St. Marys beat Kenton in the regular season 59-51, and Van Wert fell to Celina 65-61.

Assuming Elida gets through Upper Sandusky or Defiance in the sectional finals, and St. Marys delivers a repeat performance against Kenton, that means the Bulldogs and the Roughriders will square off for the second time this season.

Elida came out on top 58-49 on its home court on Feb. 9. The potential rematch seems like a coin flip, considering the fact that St. Marys has won seven of its last eight games.

On the lower portion of the bracket, a matchup between Shawnee and Fostoria in the district semifinals seems inevitable.

It's hard to bet against a player like Beckett Bertke, not to mention the lift the Indians have gotten from the emergence of Trevick Bertke in his freshman season.

Shawnee also went 5-3 in eight games that were decided by five points or less during the regular season. They're used to playing in close games, and they've also had Elida's number this season.

Two of Shawnee's narrow victories came against the Bulldogs, one in the season opener, 53-49 on Dec. 1, and the other in the season finale, 54-51 on Feb. 23.

Inexperience could be the only thing holding Shawnee back, but picking the Indians over Fostoria and Elida seems like the smart move here.

Can Colin White lead Ottawa-Glandorf back to Dayton?

There are plenty of good teams in the Division III Lima Senior District, it's just hard to envision any of them preventing Ottawa-Glandorf from coming out of that bracket.

Coldwater is an interesting matchup for the Titans in the district semifinals, but the Cavaliers lost two of their final three regular-season games and might not have enough scoring to keep up with White, Caden Erford, Grady Toumazos and the many threats that O-G poses on offense.

Winning the district title most likely comes down to beating Wayne Trace or Spenverville, two teams that the Titans eliminated during the 2023 postseason.

Ottawa-Glandorf handed Spencerville a 78-51 loss in the district championship game. In the regional finals, it took all of double overtime for the Titans to get a 62-55 win over Wayne Trace.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, they'll have to go through the postseason without leading scorer Brooks Laukhuf.

It's tough to picture a short-handed Wayne Trace team or the NWC Champion Bearcats upsetting the Titans.

Projecting farther out is difficult to do at this point, but at worst, all signs point to another trip to the Bowling Green regional with a favorable shot at a return to Dayton.

How far can Cameron Elwer take Delphos St. John's?

This time last year, during Cameron Elwer's freshman season, the Blue Jays made it to the district semifinals before falling to eventual state runner-up Crestview.

After a resounding 61-39 win in the first round over Lincolnview and an upset of Pandora-Gilboa (52-45) in a matchup of the four-seed and five-seed, Elwer's 25-point outing wasn't quite enough to dethrone the top-seeded Knights, who handed Delphos St. John's a 53-42 loss.

This season, the Blue Jays' road through the Division IV Elida District in all likelihood starts with Lincolnview again, a team they beat 65-35 during the regular season. Then it comes down to the winner of Crestview and Miller City in the district semifinals.

Crestview graduated four starters from its state runner-up team, and Miller City recently lost PCL second-team selection Silas Niese to a knee injury, leaving both teams with a much different look this time around. Crestview beat Miller City 56-46 in overtime on Dec. 2nd in Convoy.

Delphos St. John's played Crestview, but not Miller City during the regular season, and that was a 62-44 win for the Blue Jays, so it feels like another game they'd be the favorite in.

So now all that stands in front of Delphos St. John's and a district title would be either Ottoville or Pandora-Gilboa.

The Blue Jays beat the Rockets 57-48 on Jan. 20. Of the six losses that Ottoville suffered during the regular season, Delphos St. John's played four of those teams and went 4-0 against them.

The D-IV Elida district seems to be theirs to lose.

Reach Chris Howell at 567-242-0468 or on Twitter at @Lima_Howell