Garfield Heights - State Championship favorite, NO SO FAST

Bball216

Well-known member
Last week when Garfield Heights blew out lowly Cleveland JFK people on Twitter were blowing up saying to just give them the trophy. Since than they have beat a bad Shaw team, a good Benedictine team and a bad Euclid team. Here is the interesting thing. Benedictine is a solid squad and they only beat them by 6 - despite Meechie Johnson scoring 50 points. Benedictine was also playing their first game while Heights had a few games under their belt. The more headshaking game was Euclid. The Panthers were beaten badly and run out of the gym against VASJ - yet Garfield only beat the Panthers by 16 points. That was with Gaffney going off for 31.

What I'm saying is that Garfield Heights is loaded but it takes more than talent to win a state championship. This is no slam on Benedictine or Euclid but their are better teams in NE Ohio that Garfield will need to get past to reach Columbus. I think teams like Ed's, Shaker and others will have a lot to say about how far Garfield goes. Even with all the talent it will eventually come down to Sonny Johnson having to coach in a tight game - that will be a big equalizer. He is a great self promoter and recruiter - but he is not an elite X and O's coach. I would not be so sure they are the favorites. Ask me how I feel after the upcoming Shaker Heights game.
 

3out2in

Active member
Agree about Sonny. Anyone that was saying give them the trophy knows very little about high school basketball. They may win it, but there's a whole lot of good teams out there including the state runner-up Moeller who is a hell of a lot better at tournament basketball than Garfield has proven to be over the years. Also, consider that it was twitter, the lowest common denominator of our society.
 

Bball216

Well-known member
The people on Twitter I usually take with a grain of salt but 3rdCoast and others who follow HS hoops were doing it. That is what surprised me. I don't talk or know much about teams outside of NE Ohio but I know enough to know there are really good squads state wide. NE Ohio alone is loaded in several divisions.
 

brusharc1986

Moderated User
Last week when Garfield Heights blew out lowly Cleveland JFK people on Twitter were blowing up saying to just give them the trophy. Since than they have beat a bad Shaw team, a good Benedictine team and a bad Euclid team. Here is the interesting thing. Benedictine is a solid squad and they only beat them by 6 - despite Meechie Johnson scoring 50 points. Benedictine was also playing their first game while Heights had a few games under their belt. The more headshaking game was Euclid. The Panthers were beaten badly and run out of the gym against VASJ - yet Garfield only beat the Panthers by 16 points. That was with Gaffney going off for 31.

What I'm saying is that Garfield Heights is loaded but it takes more than talent to win a state championship. This is no slam on Benedictine or Euclid but their are better teams in NE Ohio that Garfield will need to get past to reach Columbus. I think teams like Ed's, Shaker and others will have a lot to say about how far Garfield goes. Even with all the talent it will eventually come down to Sonny Johnson having to coach in a tight game - that will be a big equalizer. He is a great self promoter and recruiter - but he is not an elite X and O's coach. I would not be so sure they are the favorites. Ask me how I feel after the upcoming Shaker Heights game.
I'd caution the casual basketball fan like yourself to resort to comparative scoring. So and so beat so and so by so many points so X must be true. It sounds like you are being a hater on Garfield Hts., it's coach, and it's program. Then again, if you got haters that's GOOD.
 

Myron

Active member
At some point in the post season, he will get out coached, and his AAU program outplayed, by a less talented team
 

Bball216

Well-known member
While I have not agreed with the tactics of people like Sonny Johnson and Jeff Rotsky - I don't hate them. What I DON'T agree with is that after one week people are crowning a team a no doubt State Champ. There is a ton of basketball left and there is always some kind of attrition that happens with injuries, grades, etc. Some teams will get better, some will stay the same and some will get worse. NOBODY knows what will happen in March. Garfield Heights will absolutely be in the mix but to say they are a lock is disrespectful to the other really good teams in the area. D1 in NE Ohio is brutal and whoever comes out will really have to earn it. If Garfield Heights does happen to win state I will tip my hat. But before you can win state you need to get to state.
 

CCA Fan

New member
Sonny Sonny Sonny

While I have not agreed with the tactics of people like Sonny Johnson and Jeff Rotsky - I don't hate them. What I DON'T agree with is that after one week people are crowning a team a no doubt State Champ. There is a ton of basketball left and there is always some kind of attrition that happens with injuries, grades, etc. Some teams will get better, some will stay the same and some will get worse. NOBODY knows what will happen in March. Garfield Heights will absolutely be in the mix but to say they are a lock is disrespectful to the other really good teams in the area. D1 in NE Ohio is brutal and whoever comes out will really have to earn it. If Garfield Heights does happen to win state I will tip my hat. But before you can win state you need to get to state.
Always have much respect for Bball216. Serious VASJ homer and let's say it like it is..... Sonny stole Zo from Babe and it bothers the VASJ faithful. I candidly don't blame them but what are you going to do about it? Welcome to the culture of me, me, me.

Team, God, Me,..... almost laughable.

Sonny understands today's players. Relates. Has a serious middle school pipeline of talent walking into his gym every year. Does a GREAT job of connecting with college coaches for his players. Graves a D2 player? No way but Sonny got it done. Does a great job "PR-ing" his guys and program. The attention on his program right now is nothing short of fabulous and candidly it is good for all of us in the NEO.

However, Sonny playing Senate league teams? Why?
Next year he will have two family members as stars on the squad. Does that make it difficult to continue to lure other guards to his program?

Finally, make no mistake. Flannery will coach circles around Sonny from and Xs and Os standpoint and Eds is VERY good. Sonny will get his guys to play hard for him but let's see what happens when they are down in a big ball game. A game where each possession is valued in the 4th quarter.

I agree that Garfield Heights is LOADED with talent. Did I hear 8 D1 players in the program?!? Look how many D1 hoopers Mentor has in the HISTORY of their program (3?). BUT they will have four really tough games in a row to get to states, beating teams like Solon, Mentor, Shaker, Bene, Eds, Iggy, .... is no small task.
 

Bball216

Well-known member
CCA Fan - Happy Holidays. True I'm a Joe's fan - but I'm a HS hoops junkie. Do I think Zo made a mistake and did he leave a HUGE hole in the Viking lineup - sure. I think his Dad was a major influence in him leaving Joe's. With that being said it's pretty funny that every high level transfer seems to end up at Garfield. I cannot wait for the playoffs. It's going to be awesome.
 

satriani

Member
Regardless of the player movement debate, Garfield Heights has the talent to get to Columbus. The questions in my mind are:

1) Are there enough basketballs to go around?
2) Will they commit to playing team defense/offense when they face top teams in the tournament?
3) Can they keep their egos in check with the press/notoriety the team will get over the course of a year?

That being said, I think 3 of the 4 teams to make it to Columbus will be:

Moeller (I think they win it all)
Pickerington North
Garfield Heights

FWIW

Good luck and good health to all of the teams and players!
 
Euclid hung with Solon last night pretty well and Bene had a pretty convincing win over Central Catholic.

I'd say Euclid is better than they performed against VASJ.
Bene is a legit top 5 team in the area.

Shaker looks good.
Ed's is rolling without 2 top guys.
Garfield has been without a top guy.
Guess scores 57.

It's been a great year of HS hoops so far.
Should be very fun week to week.
 

GCP441

Active member
Last week when Garfield Heights blew out lowly Cleveland JFK people on Twitter were blowing up saying to just give them the trophy. Since than they have beat a bad Shaw team, a good Benedictine team and a bad Euclid team. Here is the interesting thing. Benedictine is a solid squad and they only beat them by 6 - despite Meechie Johnson scoring 50 points. Benedictine was also playing their first game while Heights had a few games under their belt. The more headshaking game was Euclid. The Panthers were beaten badly and run out of the gym against VASJ - yet Garfield only beat the Panthers by 16 points. That was with Gaffney going off for 31.

What I'm saying is that Garfield Heights is loaded but it takes more than talent to win a state championship. This is no slam on Benedictine or Euclid but their are better teams in NE Ohio that Garfield will need to get past to reach Columbus. I think teams like Ed's, Shaker and others will have a lot to say about how far Garfield goes. Even with all the talent it will eventually come down to Sonny Johnson having to coach in a tight game - that will be a big equalizer. He is a great self promoter and recruiter - but he is not an elite X and O's coach. I would not be so sure they are the favorites. Ask me how I feel after the upcoming Shaker Heights game.

I couldn't of agreed with you more,Sonny Johnson brought his whole team to watch the Heights St Ignatius game,it want matter how much talent he had transferred to Garfield,you just can't transfer coaching skills in certain situations.
 
Wait, didn't Garfield lose in the state semifinal to Westerville South 2 years in a row and St. Ed in overtime in regional final last year. Final 4, Final 4, Final 8 in the last 3 years. I would say their coach has improved a lot since the earlier years of losing early in the tournament. Sure he is no Flannery, but think you guys might be short changing him a bit here.
 

bigv

Active member
Wait, didn't Garfield lose in the state semifinal to Westerville South 2 years in a row and St. Ed in overtime in regional final last year. Final 4, Final 4, Final 8 in the last 3 years. I would say their coach has improved a lot since the earlier years of losing early in the tournament. Sure he is no Flannery, but think you guys might be short changing him a bit here.
Haters
 

Bball216

Well-known member
This thread has zero to do with VASj - yet Benny likes to turn anything I post into that. Maybe you should look at what was said after Garfield blasted teams like JFK and Shaw. Garfield very well might reach Columbus - but I'm not alone based on some responses in thinking it's no guarantee. Benny should be insulted that after the great effort his Bengals put forth against Garfield that nobody gives them a chance. They have athletes and coaching this year that can hang with damn near anybody. In fact after seeing Mentor last night Benny and Solon might be the Euclid District favorites early in the season.

I just think this year the D1 teams at the upper level are really good. Sure on paper Garfield has the talent advantage and until proven otherwise they are the favorites - state champ favorite, that is a bit early. I have not seen Ed's yet but I will once they get healthy. They are playing well and are shorthanded. The Shaker vs Garfield game will be a good indicator on Weds. I have seen both squads and I think Garfield beats Shaker. I cannot wait to see how D1 plays out this year. The one thing I will tell you is that the more you win, the more people build you up and higher you climb in the rankings - the pressure increases as well and so does the target on your back.
 

Bball216

Well-known member
How do you get Benny does not have a chance from my post after I just said that the Bengals along with Solon are the early favorites in the Euclid District ? The tread has zero to do with anything other than people predicting a team to waltz to the state championship one week into the season. I know you don't think so but I watch as many non VASJ games as I do Viking games - or more. There are a lot of very good teams in NE Ohio - especially in D1 and D2.
 

Bball216

Well-known member
Benny - I honestly thought at first Benny would struggle with the move to D1. After seeing that the offseason talk was true and Benny is as good as some said they would be combined with what I witnessed from Mentor - I was wrong. The Bengals has a serious chance to get out of Euclid. Solon is tough but beatable as are the Cardinals and Arcs. Granted those teams all play tough schedules and will get better - but not better than Benny's schedule. If they stay healthy the Bengals will have as good a shot as anybody. I'm sorry I underestimated your squad.
 

Bball216

Well-known member
I streamed it as well. Shaker was rolling until Guess got hurt and missed the entire 4th quarter. Once he left the court so did all Shakers confidence. Nobody seemed to want to shoot and the Raiders became very tight. It's almost like they went into a stall the whole final quarter. They didn't but their style of play made it appear that way. They played not to lose - and lost.

I'm convinced if Guess plays the whole game Shaker wins. Garfield really struggled with the press. I saw Shaker last week and was not overly impressed - tonight I was through 3 quarters. When things get tough Garfield leans on a freshman in Meechie Johnson. That tells you how talented and beyond his years he is. Shaker has to be sick for choking away a 20pt lead.D1 is wide open. I will stick with my prediction of Ed's being the favorite.
 

Bball216

Well-known member
I like Ed's when they get healthy. They have been winning without their best player. That being said I agree that Garfield is missing one of its best players and when you add him into the mix with Meechie and Alonzo - they are going to be even more of a handful. Last nights game was like a playoff game in the attendance and intensity. There where some athletes on the floor. I agree this will be the Solon final and if round two is as good as round one was count me in.
 

EaglePride01

Well-known member
Who is missing for Eds? That makes their wins over Cornerstone and Brush more impressive, though I'm not sure either of those teams is as good as Benedictine or Shaker.
Grant Huffman suffered an ankle injury in the season opener. Not sure what the time table is for his return. Could be a while. Demetrius Terry just made his season debut against Brush. He had 18 coming off the bench as they work him back in the rotation. It's been an all round team effort so far this year, with scoring coming from a number of role players. I agree that no team they have played to date is at the level of Benny of Shaker (and certainly not Garfield). Cornerstone and Brush are pretty solid. Lakewood actually has some good size and talent this year as well. The holiday tournament out in San Diego will be a huge test.
 

Bball216

Well-known member
Ed's is winning with its best player on the sidelines. Not many teams can do that. We saw what happened to Shaker when their best player went out. I'm sure Garfield would suffer the same if Meechie or Alonzo went out. That is a testament to their depth and coaching. There are so many solid teams in NE Ohio. It will be fun seeing who is not and who is healthy come season end. The basketball from the district semis on is going to be insane.
 
Remember Ed's is in the Akron/Toledo District this year, while the winner of the Solon, Euclid District's are at Cleveland State.

Potential Ed's/Garfield(or Shaker) matchup would likely be a state semifinal game if the favorites win out.
 

Bball216

Well-known member
Great win by Brush and it's a preview of what could be a wild D1 playoff season. There will be upsets and great games starting in round two of Districts. Best time of the year.
 

sehs

Active member
Ed's just swept a monster weekend of basketball, beating SVSM, Bennie and Shaker in 3 days. The first two were at home. St. Vincent-St. Mary gave them a lot of defensive trouble and the Eagles pulled out a tough game. Benedictine turned into a blow out after a tight first quarter. Shaker Heights was a blow out in the first half and then a sloppy 3rd quarter gave way to a track meet 4th quarter where both teams turned it on, really entertaining game.
 

Bball216

Well-known member
I have said for months that Garfield Heights has internal issues - but i was a hater. After a 21 point beatdown by tiny Cornerstone Christian people are starting to ask what is wrong. This is the same Cornerstone that Solon ran out of the gym just days earlier. Garfield is eating itself up the inside is what I'm hearing. I have a fellow worker with a son on the team. You have kids who have quit and came back as well as JV kids that were varsity last year planning on not returning.

When you bring in outsiders to join your program you push out kids who have already put in the work for a few years. That causes hard feelings and serious internal issues with not only players, but parents. Building a championship team is more than just taking other teams players and throwing them together. Garfield is finding that out the hard way. Teams that come up playing together develop bonds and chemistry. That has been shattered. The word is Gaffney is not happy because he is not as featured as he was promised by the snake oil salesman. Some kids have quit only to be talked back into staying on the team. These are kids who started and played last year only to get zero playing time this year. In the last few weeks they have lost to Brush (who barely beat Mayfield and Willoughby South) and back to back blowout defeats to Cornerstone and a California Prep school. Don't forget the beatdown Shaker was putting on them prior to Guess leaving the game.

You can have all the talent in the world but if you don't play as a cohesive unit, care about each other and have chemistry - you won't win. Sonny will need to coach these kids up and fix the major internal issues his program has. I don't see that happening. He is a great self promoter and recruiter but only a marginal coach.
 
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Myron

Active member
Bball216: I follow the snake oil salesman on Twitter. I alternately don’t know whether to laugh hysterically or vomit when his stuff crosses news feed
 
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