Surprises and Headshakers

Bball216

Well-known member
As the season winds down and the post season is about to start what were the teams that surprised you and what teams have left you shaking your head.

Surprise:

Mentor - the Cards are always solid but I don't think people (even Mentor fans) saw this coming. Many thought next year would be their year.

Gilmour - the Lancers lost a lot of talent including their talented big but have surprised people with a very solid season and a legit shot to advance to regionals.

Willoughby South - the Rebels knocked off Lake Catholic early in the year and many called it a fluke - but it was legit. This squad has gone toe to toe with Brush and will finish 2nd in their conference.

Headshakers:

Garfield Heights- it looks like Alonzo Gaffney was correct and was smart to exit stage left. The Meechie and Sonny show has been a roller coaster all year. A solid performance followed up by a clunker. People are not used to seeing the Bulldogs struggle this badly. Possible quick post season exit.

Euclid - the Panthers have had a solid season and have the 2 seed at Solon - but that is more because of a weak district and not their body of work. This was the year they were pointing to because of the Seniors they have but they have struggled with lower division teams (Kirtland, Open Door, etc) when many thought this team would be rolling. They have a chance to advance to regionals but I thought this team would be much better this year.

St. Edward - the Eagles have been another team that many had as Final 4 worthy - yet have struggled at times. They will get a big win and then lose to teams you would expect them to beat convincingly. They very well might advance to regionals - but they are not nearly the team many expected.

Canton McKinley - another team that looked very good in preseason and had a lot of hype around it - yet they have struggled. I think even their faithful fans are surprised at how inconsistent the team has been this year.

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ohiopup

Well-known member
As the season winds down and the post season is about to start what were the teams that surprised you and what teams have left you shaking your head.

...

Headshakers:

Garfield Heights- it looks like Alonzo Gaffney was correct and was smart to exit stage left. The Meechie and Sonny show has been a roller coaster all year. A solid performance followed up by a clunker. People are not used to seeing the Bulldogs struggle this badly. Possible quick post season exit.

...

Canton McKinley - another team that looked very good in preseason and had a lot of hype around it - yet they have struggled. I think even their faithful fans are surprised at how inconsistent the team has been this year.
Gaffney would have carried Heights to be a lot better, part of their problem
is him leaving, not just a loss of his talent but there is mental stigma that
affects any team (in any sport) when it loses a player for any reason.

Pups are young and have yet to find a good combo. they seem to find a way
to lose the tight games, and often are slow out of the gate.

:>---

EGA
 

Bball216

Well-known member
Gaffney transferred to Heights - but was sold a bill of goods by Sonny The Snake Oil Salesman. He was told he would be the center of the offense and play on the wing. He stood out on the wing and hardly got the ball because the offense ran through Meechie - then when the game was close Gaffney was in the paint scoring and pulling the teams butt out of the fire. He was not happy at all last year and knew it would only get worse with Sonny Jr coming in - he was 100% correct.

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tribefan23

Active member
Garfield will at least make it to the district final I would believe. The Solon district might be one of the worst districts in the state, let alone D1. Maybe Euclid gives them a run in the district semis, but Garfield already beat them once this year. Who knows, Garfield could even sneak by Shaker too (Shaker hasnt looked to great recently) and somehow get to CSU only to get smoked by Brush or Mentor. I honestly have no idea what to expect from Garfield. Hopefully Sonny is being exposed as the fraud he really is. But Matt Goul from cleveland.com sure does love hyping him up. Sonny cant win without recruiting from nearby Cleveland schools.

Edit: Just saw the Solon winner plays the Lakewood winner, so likely Ed's or Iggy (Another bad district outside of those 2 teams).
 

eaglepride

Active member
Gaffney transferred to Heights - but was sold a bill of goods by Sonny The Snake Oil Salesman. He was told he would be the center of the offense and play on the wing. He stood out on the wing and hardly got the ball because the offense ran through Meechie - then when the game was close Gaffney was in the paint scoring and pulling the teams butt out of the fire. He was not happy at all last year and knew it would only get worse with Sonny Jr coming in - he was 100% correct.

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You seam to know the situation quite well. Did he tell you this information?
 
Chemistry, role players and kids playing hard are what leads to wins and losses at this level. I see talented rosters who don't play hard and play together struggle. I see average rosters play hard and play together succeed.

Mentor winning will never surprise me. That coach won't play you if you don't play hard and play the right way.

Ed's with 8 losses returning their top 4 is the biggest surprise. They were much better last year with the same talent.
 

tribefan23

Active member
You seam to know the situation quite well. Did he tell you this information?
Anyone with eyes could tell you that it's all about the Johnsons over at Garfield Hts. Sonny wanted everything to run through Meechie last year. Any other coach that isnt a moron would probably run their offense through a top 30 player in the country, but not good old Sonny. If the Johnson boys arent getting their touches, papa Sonny isnt happy. And it has only gotten worse this year. Garfield has no other role players that are doing anything significant. The Johnsons get their touches, and Garfield loses by 10. Gaffney looks like a genius for leaving Garfield.
 

Irish60

Well-known member
Chemistry, role players and kids playing hard are what leads to wins and losses at this level. I see talented rosters who don't play hard and play together struggle. I see average rosters play hard and play together succeed.

Mentor winning will never surprise me. That coach won't play you if you don't play hard and play the right way.

Ed's with 8 losses returning their top 4 is the biggest surprise. They were much better last year with the same talent.
Absolutely agree. It is one thing to assemble talent. It is quite another to coach it in a winning fashion.
 

starktops

Member
The talent is not quite there, yet. A very successful head coach once told me that if you are losing a lot of close games your team probably does not have a first team all-conference player on its roster. It is the first team players that will step up and win those games for you. The coach can draw up the best play in the world but the player has got to make the shots. Just put it in their hands and let them win the game.
 

Bball216

Well-known member
Gaffney is still friends with many of his former teammates. He was not at all happy last year and texted as such after Heights was eliminated from the playoffs. Rumors of him transferring surfaced almost immediately. His Dad had alot to do with him changing schools. But it was very clear the way he was used at Heights was not what Gaffney was promised.

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tribefan23

Active member
Gaffney is still friends with many of his former teammates. He was not at all happy last year and texted as such after Heights was eliminated from the playoffs. Rumors of him transferring surfaced almost immediately. His Dad had alot to do with him changing schools. But it was very clear the way he was used at Heights was not what Gaffney was promised.

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Still not sure why he left VASJ in the first place tbh. He had the Ohio State offer before he ever set foot in garfield.
 

Bball216

Well-known member
That is what happens when a parent gets involved. Not only for the basketball part but instead of having his son pushed to do better in class he lowered the standard and sent him to Garfield. Zo needed more structure - not less. He could have played on the wing and Joe's - but it was something else. Whatever the case I agree that it was a mistake and I think deep down inside the Gaffneys do as well.

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James x2

Well-known member
Gaffney would have carried Heights to be a lot better, part of their problem
is him leaving, not just a loss of his talent but there is mental stigma that
affects any team (in any sport) when it loses a player for any reason.

Pups are young and have yet to find a good combo. they seem to find a way
to lose the tight games, and often are slow out of the gate.

:>---

EGA
Gaffney should have stayed at his first school VASJ.He had a championship and likely a chance at more.But Sonny the used car dealer and this kids dad …..well you get the idea.
 

EaglePride01

Well-known member
Chemistry, role players and kids playing hard are what leads to wins and losses at this level. I see talented rosters who don't play hard and play together struggle. I see average rosters play hard and play together succeed.

Mentor winning will never surprise me. That coach won't play you if you don't play hard and play the right way.

Ed's with 8 losses returning their top 4 is the biggest surprise. They were much better last year with the same talent.
The number of losses speaks to the schedule to a certain degree, but no doubt they were a better team last year. They miss the interior length and athleticism they had last year with guys like Chambers and Henry, as well as a knockdown shooter like PJ Flannery. The core of Huffman, Foster, Terry, and Blanton is talented, but they seem to operate in isolation of one another as opposed to a cohesive unit.
 

bbfan29

Member
Surprise: Mentor, how such a young, inexperienced group of kids played & execute so well together in a very short period of time. It will be interesting to see if any of these kids make a post season all star team this year. It seems Mentor normally has consistent good years without any or maybe one all star at best. They certainly do not win because of superior talent. IMO, they play hard, smart, with aggressive defensive intensity & superior shooting.
 

Localfan

Active member
The talent is not quite there, yet. A very successful head coach once told me that if you are losing a lot of close games your team probably does not have a first team all-conference player on its roster. It is the first team players that will step up and win those games for you. The coach can draw up the best play in the world but the player has got to make the shots. Just put it in their hands and let them win the game.
So McKinley doesn't have a first team conference player ?
 
Last edited:

Localfan

Active member
McKinley Scrimmaged well but somewhere down the line things begin to not click... Playing way to many players at random times.

What's happening at Garfield is not a surprise to anyone The Johnson show is what you will see for the next 3 years.
 
Lots of truth spoken by all of you. Especially regarding Sonny. Gilmour not a surprise to many as they have kids that can flat out shoot and run up and down the court. The new head coach is really good to be honest. He pushes the tempo and the kids really responded to that. When they shoot they will be tough to beat. I could not make South game but GA only made 5 threes against South zone from what i read. We will see tomorrow versus Bene. I expect both teams to try and win but not show much either.
 

jlach22

New member
The number of losses speaks to the schedule to a certain degree, but no doubt they were a better team last year. They miss the interior length and athleticism they had last year with guys like Chambers and Henry, as well as a knockdown shooter like PJ Flannery. The core of Huffman, Foster, Terry, and Blanton is talented, but they seem to operate in isolation of one another as opposed to a cohesive unit.
I know they have a long road to hoe, but don't count Coach Flan and the boys out just yet.
 
My surprises:

Fairview: They clinched their first conference championship in 57 years! That is a very impressive accomplishment in and of itself. They're in a very tough district, though. But with postseason play, you never know.

Bedford: They were winless last year, and even though they're under .500 with a poor conference record, they have a win over Cleveland Heights (even though the Tigers were missing their best player), and hung with East Tech, Willoughby South, and Lake Catholic. I think next season they'll more noise in the LEL.

Lorain: I knew the Titans were good, but I didn't think they'd be flat out DOMINANT. I can see them making it to Columbus.


My headshakers:

Mayfield: The last three years have been a rollercoaster. They went 2-20 two years ago, 18-6 last year, and they're 7-13 this season. I saw them play last year, and they did very well, beating them, as well as knocking off now-WRC powerhouse Brush. Not saying they would have gotten past Mentor or Solon last year, but I didn't expect them to fall back to earth that fast. They lost 74-28 to the Bees a couple days ago. I wonder if they lost talent or their schedule caught up to them.

Stow: Last year, they ended up BARELY making it out of sectionals, despite being the top seed and as high as the top five in the final Cleveland.com polls. This year, they seem to be a shell of their former selves, only sitting at .500 despite a winning record in conference. (One thing to note, two of their recent victories feature scores of 37-28 over Twinsburg and 39-33 over Cuyahoga Falls).

Brunswick: They started off 6-0, and really went on the skids after that. Granted, they have a tough schedule, playing in the GCC, but with the talent on that team, one would probably have expected more.
 

tribefan23

Active member
Lorain isn’t really a surprise IMO. Many of us knew they’d be really good this year.

As far as getting to Columbus, good luck. Beating SVSM and Lima Senior will be no easy task
 

Red Right 88

New member
Surprises:

Green was as good as they were.

Jackson won the league again with a pedestrian roster.

Headshakers:

Lake was bad, didn't get out of the 30s a few games. Worst McBride team ever.

McKinley blows, the mighty have fallen. The McK girl's team would boat race these guys.
 

Pile Driver

Active member
Headshaker:
Massillon losing to Strasburg last night??? How does that happen??? Strasburg is a good D4 school, but they should never be able to compete with a school the size of Massillon and their athletes.
 

Irish60

Well-known member
Surprise: Revere. After watching them last year I thought they would take a BIG step back after Pete Nance moved on to Northwestern. Congratulations to them for another excellent season.
 

tribefan23

Active member
Surprise: Revere. After watching them last year I thought they would take a BIG step back after Pete Nance moved on to Northwestern. Congratulations to them for another excellent season.
Agree 100%. They will give VASJ problems in regionals if/when they meet up.
 

stoike

Member
My surprises:

Fairview: They clinched their first conference championship in 57 years! That is a very impressive accomplishment in and of itself. They're in a very tough district, though. But with postseason play, you never know.

Bedford: They were winless last year, and even though they're under .500 with a poor conference record, they have a win over Cleveland Heights (even though the Tigers were missing their best player), and hung with East Tech, Willoughby South, and Lake Catholic. I think next season they'll more noise in the LEL.

Lorain: I knew the Titans were good, but I didn't think they'd be flat out DOMINANT. I can see them making it to Columbus.


My headshakers:

Mayfield: The last three years have been a rollercoaster. They went 2-20 two years ago, 18-6 last year, and they're 7-13 this season. I saw them play last year, and they did very well, beating them, as well as knocking off now-WRC powerhouse Brush. Not saying they would have gotten past Mentor or Solon last year, but I didn't expect them to fall back to earth that fast. They lost 74-28 to the Bees a couple days ago. I wonder if they lost talent or their schedule caught up to them.

Stow: Last year, they ended up BARELY making it out of sectionals, despite being the top seed and as high as the top five in the final Cleveland.com polls. This year, they seem to be a shell of their former selves, only sitting at .500 despite a winning record in conference. (One thing to note, two of their recent victories feature scores of 37-28 over Twinsburg and 39-33 over Cuyahoga Falls).

Brunswick: They started off 6-0, and really went on the skids after that. Granted, they have a tough schedule, playing in the GCC, but with the talent on that team, one would probably have expected more.
Stow...I cannot even wrap my head around how mediocre-bad this team has been. Last year's team underachieved in the tourney for the 2nd straight season, seemingly unable to handle the stress of the tourney, as they looked like a shell of the team that won 20 games and beat St. V by 10 on the Irish home court. But, aside from the tourney issues, the team was extremely talented and fun to watch. Despite losing two studs and a few valuable bench guys, this years team was expected to still be very good.

What has transpired this season has been a surprise to most to say the very least. I finally made it to a game a few weeks ago, and could not believe the mess that I saw. It was almost like most of the players regressed individually from a season ago; watching players dribble the ball of their foot and make so many unforced errors, both mental and physical...I would swear that they did not even practice during the summer/offseason. Evan Bainbridge, the talented KSU-bound senior has shown much frustration trying to carry the team himself, and he is the most laid-back kid around.

The result is a 10-11 team (soon to be 10-12)which will be their first losing season since 1987. Next year looks to be far worse, losing Bainbridge and returning little since many talented players have been quitting basketball after 9th grade.
 

1 time

Member
Massillon could care less about basketball. They could be very good. Not quite McKinley good but could be really good. Until basketball is a 2nd priority they’ll Always be average
 

afwpatfire

Well-known member
Surprises:

Green was as good as they were.

Jackson won the league again with a pedestrian roster.

Headshakers:

Lake was bad, didn't get out of the 30s a few games. Worst McBride team ever.

McKinley blows, the mighty have fallen. The McK girl's team would boat race these guys.
Worst McBride team ever? You know he has been there since 1999, right?
A 15-7 team bad? You need some perspective.

Most saw this Green team coming for awhile. No surprise they were good.

McKinley, that’s what they are a .500 team, no one surprised by that but some McK crazies.
 
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