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News-Herald boys basketball Top of the Crop for Feb. 22

Feb. 22—TOP OF THE CROP

Boys basketball

1: (1) Richmond Heights (12-9)

2: (2) Mentor (13-7)

3: (3) Brush (13-9)

4: (5) VASJ (15-6)

5: (4) Hawken (16-6)

6: (6) Gilmour (13-8)

7: (7) Madison (15-6)

8: (8) Geneva (14-7)

9: (9) Kirtland (15-7)

10: (10) Fairport (16-5)

Watch list: North (15-7), West Geauga (13-7), Perry (11-9), South (11-10), Cornerstone (12-9)

Crop comments: Richmond Heights beat St. Edward for the third year in a row. The Spartans won seven of their final eight contests after a challenging stretch against a national-level schedule to open the season. They now look for a third straight Division IV state title. ... Mentor returned to the win column with wins over Shaker Heights and Garrett Morgan. The Cardinals play for the GCC title against Brunswick before an intriguing district bracket as they aim for a third district title in four years. ... Brush pushed St. Ignatius as much as the Wildcats had been this season but came up short. It was a good postseason tuneup for the Arcs as they aim for another trip to the district round. ... VASJ continues to surge, winning 12 of its last 13. The next hurdle is a challenging trip to Walsh before the postseason. ... Hawken has been on the wrong end of close games to close out the season, including a buzzer-beater by Cuyahoga Heights. The Hawks have time to regroup before their postseason begins with a first-round bye. ... Close games have been the theme of Gilmour's season. The Lancers pulled ahead late against Warren JFK and Rhodes and were close in losses to VASJ and Hoban. If that trend continues, it may be another exciting postseason for the Lancers. ... Madison is in the driver's seat for the CVC Lake with its win over Geneva. A victory over Lakeside secures a year on the banner for the Blue Streaks. They've won their past three. ... Geneva has lost its last four. It has had runs to stay in games but was unable to turn those runs into wins. Geneva has one final tuneup against Crestwood before the postseason. ... Kirtland split its way to the end of the season with three close contests in its final four. That has prepared the Hornets for the challenging bracket they selected for the postseason. ... Fairport had a comeback attempt thwarted by Edgewood and its nine-game winning streak snapped. The Skippers followed with two more wins as they aim to enter the postseason strong.