Eye on Sports
–by Patrick Andres
PUBLICATION DATE: March 05, 2019
Northview hoops enjoys greatest season ever
When this writer, many moons ago, matriculated to Highland Elementary, Northview’s money sport was hockey, with basketball only there in the winter seemingly as a distraction.
Those days are gone. The Wildcat boys’ basketball squad has been nothing short of incredible this season. At writing, they are 21-0, and ranked No. 3 in the state of Ohio’s premier hoops division, Division I. Only Cincinnati Moeller and Pickerington Central are ranked higher.
“It’s amazing,” senior George Cole said of Northview’s unthinkable run. “The seniors came into this program four years ago and we were at the bottom. Our hard work has paid off to this point, but there’s still a lot of work to be done because we are not satisfied with what we have accomplished so far.”
The Cats’ contributors are many, with the senior backcourt of Alek West and Sam Clear being the most visible. West has been a machine, both scoring and rebounding this year, while Clear broke his own school record for three-pointers. For these accomplishments, West was named district player of the year while Clear and senior guard Billy Biggs garnered honors as well.
Almost out of the gate, NV began punishing teams. On Nov. 29, opening day, the Cats hammered Woodward 73-46. Two days later, they destroyed Clay 67-49. Sense a theme?
There have been, however, close calls. The Cats beat Springfield by five, Southview by five, and Napoleon by two. Against Bryan, NV was locked in a 63-63 tie with seconds remaining; freshman Sean Craig, however, won it for the Wildcats with a layup at the buzzer.
However, the most special night for the team came Feb. 15 when, on Senior Night, the Cats held off Anthony Wayne to secure the program’s first Northern Lakes League title since 2016. “Winning the NLL championship was the culmination of all our hard work and long hours that we’ve put in since the last time we won it back when I was a freshman,” Cole said.
Northview will begin to trace a winding path through the state’s playoff system, beginning March 1 in Millbury with a date with either Central Catholic or Rogers. A win there would bring the Cats to a triumvirate of potential win-or-go-home games at Savage Arena.
It is only a dream right now, but winning those three games would take the Cats all the way to Akron with a trip to the state Final Four on the line. And waiting to meet them could be another state Top Ten team and perhaps the most recognizable high school in Ohio – Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s.
Such a run may be a pipe dream, but then again, so was a 21-0 start for this team at one time. Cynicism is dead at Northview High School, and hoop dreams are alive.