St. Edward finishes No. 1 in final boys basketball Top 25

By David Cassilo and Tim Bielik, Northeast Ohio Media Group | February 25, 2014

CLEVELAND, Ohio — St. Edward has been crowned poll champion this season by finishing No. 1 in the Top 25 rankings. It’s a spot the Eagles held for most of the regular season.

Although St. Edward slipped from No. 1 after a loss to Shaker Heights on Feb. 11, the Eagles regained the top spot after beating No. 3 Villa Angela-St. Joseph this past week and seeing the Raiders fall at home to then-No. 25 Brunswick.

At 7 p.m. tonight, we will be part of a live video chat with you readers about our poll, the playoffs and all things boys basketball on Spreecast. It will look like this, and it takes under 30 seconds to sign up so that you can ask us questions.

Also, please sound off and share your Top 25 in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

And don’t miss our talking points post, which explains our Top 25 decisions.

Here is the final boys basketball Top 25. In the comments let us know how they compare with your picks.

(Records through Monday. Last week’s ranking in parentheses.)

1. St. Edward, 19-2 (2)

Trending: Rising.

Last week: Defeated No. 3 Villa Angela-St. Joseph and Firestone.

Next: Saturday vs. Valley Forge/Max Hayes in sectional final.

The Eagles finish No. 1, and they held this top spot longer than any team all season. With only one loss to a team from Ohio all season (Shaker Heights), St. Edward has proven it was in a class of its own for most of 2013-14.

2. Shaker Heights, 17-5 (1)
Trending: Falling.

Last week: Lost to then-No. 25 Brunswick.

Next: Saturday vs. Chardon/Ashtabula Lakeside in sectional final.

The Raiders’ stay at No. 1 was brief after its shocking loss at home against Brunswick in the regular season finale. However, it didn’t keep Shaker Heights from winning its second consecutive Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division title.

3. Villa Angela-St. Joseph, 14-8 (3)

Trending: Steady.

Last week: Lost to then-No. 2 St. Edward and then-No. 7 Central Catholic.

Next: Tuesday vs. Oberlin in sectional semifinal.

It was a rough finish to the regular season for the Vikings, but the North Coast League crown gives them the slight edge over Central Catholic for the No. 3 ranking.

4. Central Catholic, 15-6 (7)

Trending: Rising.

Last week: Defeated then-No. 3 Villa Angela-St. Joseph.

Next: Wednesday vs. Akron North in sectional semifinal.

Central Catholic got a big statement win Friday when Tervell Beck and Antwon Lillard combined for 50 points to beat Villa Angela-St. Joseph. If they play that well consistently, the Ironmen will be tough for anyone in Division II to slow down.

5. Berea-Midpark, 19-3 (4)

Trending: Falling.

Last week: Defeated Richmond Heights and then-No. 18 Olmsted Falls, lost to Westlake.

Next: Saturday vs. Avon/Parma in sectional final.

The Titans won the Southwestern Conference title in their first season of existence, but a broken arm for key bench player Brett Swinnerton will hurt the team’s depth.

6. St. Ignatius, 16-6 (6)

Trending: Steady.

Last week: Defeated Lincoln West, Youngstown East and Benedictine.

Next: Wednesday vs. John Marshall in sectional semifinal.

The Wildcats’ schedule lightened up quite a bit to let some of its players get rest before the tournament. With potential games against North Royalton and Berea-Midpark ahead, that rest could be crucial.

7. St. Vincent-St. Mary, 13-9 (8)

Trending: Rising.

Last week: Defeated North Canton Hoover and Canton McKinley.

Next: Wednesday vs. Akron Garfield in sectional semifinal.

It hasn’t been a terrific regular season for the Irish, but that doesn’t matter anymore. It’s playoff time, and the Irish have the tools to make it to Columbus.

8. North Royalton, 20-1 (10)

Trending: Steady.

Last week: Defeated Strongsville and Parma.

Next: Saturday vs. No. 21 Lakewood/Brecksville-Broadview Heights in sectional final.

The Bears are the only team in the poll to reach 20 wins this season. While Omari Spellman has been in the middle of it all, the success of Nick Woods has made North Royalton tough to defend.

9. Warrensville Heights, 15-7 (11)

Trending: Rising.

Last week: Defeated Cleveland JFK, Lorain and then-No. 20 Cleveland Heights.

Next: Tuesday vs. Wickliffe in sectional semifinal.

The Tigers are playing their best basketball at the right time and as a result, grabbed the Lake Erie League away from Cleveland Heights. With its depth and athleticism, Warrensville Heights looks like the team no one wants to face in the playoffs.

10. Medina, 16-6 (5)

Trending: Falling.

Last week: Lost to Wadsworth and then-No. 13 Mentor.

Next: Wednesday vs. Youngstown Boardman in sectional semifinal.

The Bees rested Craig Randall last Tuesday and lost to Wadsworth. They better hope he’s healthy, as the two teams are slated for a potential rematch on Saturday.

11. Mentor, 12-10 (13)

Trending: Rising.

Last week: Defeated then-No. 5 Medina.

Next: Wednesday vs. Warren Howland in sectional semifinal.

Like Warrensville Heights, Mentor has saved its best basketball for the end of the regular season. The Cardinals are healthy and they have the experience to make another lengthy postseason run.

12. East Tech, 17-4 (12)

Trending: Steady.

Last week: Defeated Barberton.

Next: Wednesday vs. Shaw in sectional semifinal.

The Scarabs rely on their guards. KT Taylor, Anthony Carmon, Markell Johnson and Johnell Free make East Tech’s backcourt as deep as any in the postseason.

13. Garfield Heights, 14-7 (14)

Trending: Rising.

Last week: Defeated Strongsville.

Next: Saturday vs. John Adams/Madison in sectional final.

The Bulldogs may be the biggest threat to Shaker Heights in the Solon District. Garfield Heights has matched up well with Shaker Heights in their two matchups and a third matchup is intriguing.

14. Beachwood, 19-3 (9)

Trending: Falling.

Last week: Lost to then-No. 17 Lake Catholic.

Next: Friday vs. Lutheran West/Elyria Catholic in sectional final.

Beachwood’s regular season had a surprising ending when it couldn’t slow down Justin Robinson and Lake Catholic. The loss proved the Bison need someone besides John Davis to be consistent.

15. Gilmour, 18-3 (15)

Trending: Steady.

Last week: Defeated University School and West Geauga.

Next: Tuesday vs. St. Martin de Porres in sectional semifinal.

It’s been a regular season to remember for a Lancers team with 11 seniors. The reward? Two home playoff games, including a potential showdown with Warrensville Heights.

16. Lake Catholic, 16-5 (17)

Trending: Rising.

Last week: Defeated then-No. 9 Beachwood, lost to Walsh Jesuit.

Next: Saturday vs. West Geauga/Conneaut in sectional final.

A road win against Beachwood without Zavier Powers on Monday showed the Cougars are a dangerous team and can make a deep run in Division II.

17. Glenville, 13-4 (16)

Trending: Falling.

Last week: None.

Next: Wednesday vs. Riverside in sectional semifinal.

The Tarblooders have not played a game since Feb. 11 and have not won a game since Feb. 6. Rust could be a concern, but Glenville should have little trouble reaching the district semifinal in the Euclid District.

18. Holy Name, 16-5 (23)

Trending: Rising.

Last week: Defeated Normandy and Trinity.

Next: Saturday vs. Rocky River/Fairview in sectional final.

The win two weeks ago against Central Catholic looks even more impressive now, as the Ironmen knocked off Villa Angela-St. Joseph this past Friday. Expect Holy Name to make it to at least the district final.

19. Olmsted Falls, 16-6 (18)

Trending: Falling.

Last week: Lost to then-No. 4 Berea-Midpark.

Next: Saturday vs. Elyria/Avon Lake in sectional final.

In the past two years, a high seeded Olmsted Falls team has played above its seeding. Now that the Bulldogs are a low seed in the Midview District, it will be interesting to see how they play with expectations of a deep playoff run.

20. Stow, 18-4 (19)

Trending: Falling.

Last week: Defeated Solon.

Next: Wednesday vs. Massillon Perry in sectional semifinal.

With the way Stow likes to play, it will feel right at home in the playoffs. The Bulldogs have some momentum going into tournament play with a six-game winning streak.

21. Lakewood, 19-3 (21)

Trending: Steady.

Last week: Defeated Rocky River and Midview.

Next: Wednesday vs. Brecksville-Broadview Heights in sectional semifinal.

The Rangers were one of six teams unranked to start the season to finish in the Top 25. Their strong outside shooting will make them a dangerous opponent in the postseason.

22. Brunswick, 12-9 (25)

Trending: Rising.

Last week: Defeated then-No. 1 Shaker Heights.

Next: Wednesday vs. Strongsville in sectional semifinal.

The Blue Devils pulled one of the season’s stunners with an upset of then-No. 1 Shaker Heights. Twice in two years, Brunswick has upset one of the top Division I state championship contenders.

23. Westlake, 16-5 (NR)

Trending: Rising.

Last week: Defeated then-No. 4 Berea-Midpark and Padua, lost to Shaw.

Next: Saturday vs. Lorain/Rhodes in sectional final.

The win against Berea-Midpark showed why Westlake approached the Top 10 this season. The loss to Shaw showed why they were unranked just a week ago.

24. Archbishop Hoban 14-7 (24)

Trending: Steady.

Last week: Defeated Akron East and Benedictine.

Next: Wednesday vs. Woodridge in sectional semifinal.

The Knights may only be a three-seed in the Stow District, but they have some quality wins under their belt. The combo of Anthony Christian and Christian Waite could help Hoban make some noise in the coming weeks.

25. Cleveland Heights, 12-9 (20)

Trending: Falling.

Last week: Lost to Warren G. Harding and then-No. 11 Warrensville Heights.

Next: Wednesday vs. Aurora in sectional semifinal.

The Tigers finish the regular season with back-to-back disappointing losses that cost them the Lake Erie League title. They failed to beat a ranked team all season.

Dropped out: Bedford.