Top 5 all-time basketball programs in Ohio.

What are the all-time top 5 basketball programs in Ohio? (Select five)

  • Akron Central-Hower

    Votes: 13 22.8%
  • Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary

    Votes: 36 63.2%
  • Archbold

    Votes: 5 8.8%
  • Canton McKinley

    Votes: 41 71.9%
  • Cincinnati Moeller

    Votes: 17 29.8%
  • Cleveland East Tech

    Votes: 8 14.0%
  • Columbus East

    Votes: 7 12.3%
  • Dayton Dunbar

    Votes: 13 22.8%
  • Delphos St. John's

    Votes: 7 12.3%
  • Mansfield Senior

    Votes: 1 1.8%
  • Middletown

    Votes: 23 40.4%
  • Newark

    Votes: 12 21.1%
  • Ottawa Glandorf

    Votes: 7 12.3%
  • Portsmouth

    Votes: 6 10.5%
  • Villa Angela St. Joseph

    Votes: 29 50.9%
  • Youngstown Rayen

    Votes: 3 5.3%
  • Zanesville

    Votes: 1 1.8%

  • Total voters
    57

1 time

Active member
Upon further review. Newark is 3rd all in wins, over 1,600. 7 state appearances, with 3 championships and 1 runner up. Numerous regional appearances in the always tough central district in the big school classification. Possible Top 5 program.
 

Johnstown Benny

Well-known member
Upon further review. Newark is 3rd all in wins, over 1,600. 7 state appearances, with 3 championships and 1 runner up. Numerous regional appearances in the always tough central district in the big school classification. Possible Top 5 program.
The Newark Wildcats, in my biased opinion, should definitely be given consideration as one of the States' all-time best basketball programs.

1643 wins which is 3rd all-time in Ohio trailing only Canton McKinley and Archbold.

37 League Championships

23 Central District Championships ( Large School Division )

8 Regional Championships

8 appearances in the State Tournament

4 State Championships 1936, 1938, 1943, 2008

1 State Runner Up 1953


JB
 

Irish60

Well-known member
I've added a poll using the schools provided so far to see if we can reach some sort of consensus about the Top 5. My guess is there will be 2-3 who will be on everyone's ballots! It'll be interesting (at least to me! :)) to see where the votes end up. You can vote for 5 schools. Enjoy!
 

EastsideCat

New member
VA-SJ could make a good case for top 5 easily. They had squads with height(Treg Lee, Eric Riley) speed and D(Lighty and Tony Miller) and some unbelievable talents(Clark Kellogg and Stanley Kimbrough). So if I look at Modern Era of hoops from 70's-80's on VA-SJ is a contender for Top 5. Relevancy and strength of competition would definitely go into play.

McKinley fills the bucket on most criteria for #1 if you are looking at all time.
 

EastsideCat

New member
Boys basketball - 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 2013, 2015, 2017
VASJ is the only Ohio high school to have won boys basketball state titles within all four OHSAA divisions.

***This is from Wikipedia so it has to be true.
 

vikings4life

Active member
The top 4 in no particular order are McK, Middletown, St. Joes/VA-SJ and SV-SM. It is too bad that St. I (snobbery) and St. E (mercenary) will not be on the list. All of that Plain Dealer marketing/propaganda is not meaningful.
 

Caleb

Well-known member
The Newark Wildcats, in my biased opinion, should definitely be given consideration as one of the States' all-time best basketball programs.

1643 wins which is 3rd all-time in Ohio trailing only Canton McKinley and Archbold.

37 League Championships

23 Central District Championships ( Large School Division )

8 Regional Championships

8 appearances in the State Tournament

4 State Championships 1936, 1938, 1943, 2008

1 State Runner Up 1953


JB
That's impressive for sure. Also I didn't realize Archbold was second in all time wins.
 

Irish60

Well-known member
Canton South has been down the last couple of years, but they are a top 25 program in the state.
They certainly had one of the most colorful and storied coaches in Stark County history! Coach Charles "Red" Ash led the Wildcats for just under 40 years. He retired in 1978 with a 634-200 record. Here is a great article on Red and the Canton South Wildcats. (Courtesy of the Canton Repository).

https://www.timesreporter.com/article/20160418/SPORTS/160419802
 

Maple_City_Fan

Well-known member
I'm sorry, but I can't give Mansfield Senior any consideration, here, and the voting seems to suggest this. I would give neighborhood foe Lexington more consideration than TY.
 
One program that should be mentioned is Zanesville........3 state championships (1926, 1955, 1995), 1 state runnerup (1997), 12 state appearances, 1200+ wins all time. Their resume stacks up well with quite a few of the schools that are on the voting list.
 

BlackHawk

Well-known member
One program that should be mentioned is Zanesville........3 state championships (1926, 1955, 1995), 1 state runnerup (1997), 12 state appearances, 1200+ wins all time. Their resume stacks up well with quite a few of the schools that are on the voting list.
Kettering Alter is somewhat similar, but they have only been a school since 1962: 3 state championships, 1 state runner-up, 9 state appearances. Not good enough to be a top 5, but should be honorable mention.
 

CantonKid

Active member
Canton McKinley

Most wins in Ohio basketball History

Over 20 times to State Tournament

3 State Championships

8 State Runners-up

40 Elite Ei8ht's

53 Times Sweet 16

36 Times District Champions
 

Irish60

Well-known member
One program that should be mentioned is Zanesville........3 state championships (1926, 1955, 1995), 1 state runnerup (1997), 12 state appearances, 1200+ wins all time. Their resume stacks up well with quite a few of the schools that are on the voting list.
You make a good case for Zanesville! Added...
 

Buckey Backer

New member
Newark is absolutley top 5. Year in and year out, all they do is win. They’ve only had like 5 coaches in the last 120 years. 4 State Titles. 23 Central District Titles (#1 all time in CD). What’s truly special about Newark, is their fan base!!! There isn’t a team in Ohio that has a more rabid fan base than Newark. Jimmy Allen Gymnasium is a nightmare to win at. Fans on all 4 sides and right on top of you. It just reeks of history and tradition. Often times, when they play on the road, they have more fans than the home team. I watched them defeat Lakewood St Edwards in the 2008 State Finals and I have never seen a fan base as loud as theirs at the Schott. Newark is a truly special program. They do things right. Also, I would assume their fans would have an issue with arch rival Zanesville being on this list...after all they haven’t lost to Zanesville in 12 years and the fact that Zanesville would have to beat Newark every year for the next 60 years to even the all time series lol. I think Canton McKinley is #1 all time, but I would personally put Newark at #2 all time. Good topic.
 

Blue Jay Fan

Well-known member
Newark is absolutley top 5. Year in and year out, all they do is win. They’ve only had like 5 coaches in the last 120 years. 4 State Titles. 23 Central District Titles (#1 all time in CD). What’s truly special about Newark, is their fan base!!! There isn’t a team in Ohio that has a more rabid fan base than Newark. Jimmy Allen Gymnasium is a nightmare to win at. Fans on all 4 sides and right on top of you. It just reeks of history and tradition. Often times, when they play on the road, they have more fans than the home team. I watched them defeat Lakewood St Edwards in the 2008 State Finals and I have never seen a fan base as loud as theirs at the Schott. Newark is a truly special program. They do things right. Also, I would assume their fans would have an issue with arch rival Zanesville being on this list...after all they haven’t lost to Zanesville in 12 years and the fact that Zanesville would have to beat Newark every year for the next 60 years to even the all time series lol. I think Canton McKinley is #1 all time, but I would personally put Newark at #2 all time. Good topic.
Delphos SJ played Newark when I was in high school. Some great games, especially 1982 when DSJ with 6'9 Alan Kortokrax vs. Newark 6'9 Mike Giomi. PACKED house at The Vatican for that one: DSJ 75 Newark 63. So much fun.

 

Fayette79

Active member
You can't put in Archbold over Ottawa Glandorf, but even the Titans are nowhere close to the teams being mentioned above
The question is top 5 "all-time" programs. To me that would mean top 5 teams/schools in wins...if that's what they are truly asking then Archbold is #2 on the list only trailing Canton McKinley in most wins in Ohio boys basketball history.

1,883 - Canton McKinley, 1,883-637-2 (Updated through the 2018-2019 season)
1,698 - Archbold, 1,698-665 (1910-2020)
1,621 - Newark, 1,621-717 (Updated through the 2018-19 season)
1,534 - Mansfield Senior (updated through the 18-2019 season)
1,523 - Delphos St. John's (Updated through the 2018-19 season)
 
Newark has the bragging rights over Zanesville head to head, but ZHS does at least deserve mention as one of the top 20 programs all time in Ohio. They have a solid resume and have actually been to the state tournament more than the Wildcats have.
 
To name the top 5 programs can be interpreted in a couple of ways...........top 5 all time in wins, or top 5 all time in tournament/state tournament performance.

Comparing Newark and Portsmouth.........Newark has more all time wins.........Portsmouth 1,468--793, but Portsmouth has more district championships (37), is 4th in state appearances (15 to Newark's 8), and has 4 state titles just like the Wildcats, and 4 state runnerups to Newark's 1. Two of Portsmouth's state titles were won in the big school division.

In state tournament play, Portsmouth is 16-11, with the 16 wins 4th all time in the OHSAA state tourney. The 27 games played is 3rd all time. Portsmouth has made the state tournament in 8 different decades, while Newark has appeared in 5 decades.

I voted for Portsmouth as a top 5 not because I am a PHS alumnus, but I voted based on state tournament performance.......and because of Portsmouth's winning record in state tournament play. Playing in the weaker SE district is a moot point when you look at the Trojans record at the state.

I remember when Newark was in the Central Ohio League........a very good league, but Portsmouth was in the Greater Ohio League for almost 35 years until the mid 70's........Middletown, Hamilton, Springfield (Springfield South), Lima, and Portsmouth. Between 1944 and 1961, the GOL accounted for 11 Big school state titles, and for many years afterward claimed more state championships than any other league in Ohio, even more than the Columbus City League. Every school in the league with the exception of Lima won that state during that period. In fact, Portsmouth lost to Middletown or Hamilton 4 times in the regionals in the 1950's, and the Trojans had some tremendous teams. They just couldn't get by the Middies or Big Blue.

I respect the tradition of Newark, but Portsmouth has a better state tournament resume than the Wildcats. To me to be a top 5 program means you have to be great at the highest level, and PHS has proven that. Having the highest number of wins all time is nice, but in many cases teams compile those numbers against local competition (not saying Newark has). A lot of schools can claim local wins and conference championships, but the majority of schools in Ohio have never been to the state tournament. To play at the state on a repeated basis makes your program worthy of being mentioned as one of the best in Ohio.
 
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Ottawa-Glandorf has more votes than Portsmouth, yet the Trojans have 15 state appearances to the Titans' 8, 4 state titles to OG's 3, and 4 state runnerups to OG's 1. In addition, PHS is 2-0 in state tournament play vs. the Titans, beating them in the state semis in 1978 and 2012. No way does OG have a greater tradition than Portsmouth, especially in state tournament play.
 

Zezzo!

Well-known member
Why is Middletown considered a top 4 program historically? They haven't won a state championship since 1957, most of our parents were in at least kindergarten when they were prominent.
 

spirit454

Well-known member
Tournament success can be argued as well since some regions are historically weaker than others. Counting District titles in the optimistic for the Athens area as compared to the Dayton area. I have no data to back it up but from recent State tournaments, certain regions are much weaker than others. Meaning the collection of District titles can be different for a good program in a weak region while programs in a more competitive region would have a smaller number of District titles but are actually stronger programs. Plus with the major changes to the game in 1988 and the ridiculous recruiting/transfers in the 2000s, the chance of determining a top 5 all time program is extremely difficult when compare the 1960s to today.
 
spirit454: You made some excellent points in your post. Portsmouth has benefitted no doubt by being in the Southeast District and having won 37 SE district championships. The SE district historically has not had much success at all playing teams outside the SE district but that label cannot be attached to Portsmouth. In fact, the Trojans won the 1988 Southwest Regional Title, beating Kettering Alter 76-68 in the regional semifinal, and Cincinnati Forest Park 90-80 2OT in the regional final. To my knowledge, the only SE district team to have ever won the SW regional. PHS in 1987 lost to undefeated New Lebonon Dixie in the SW regional semifinal 67-59, and then in 1989 lost to Cincinnati Forest Park in the regional semifinal 84-80.

It's been 8 years since a SE district team has won a game in the state tournament..........the last team to do it..........Portsmouth, beating Ottawa-Glandorf 74-66 in the 2012 D3 state semifinals.
 
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