The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

February 20, 2014

A Don McCormack column: Stried — more districts may follow new setup for sectional play

Darkening the door of the variety store for a third day in a row...

An encore

In this space a day ago, Tim Stried, the director of information sevices for the Ohio High School Athletic Association, offered some clarity about the new system being utilized in Northeast Ohio for high school boys and girls basketball sectional tournament games.

Turns out, only the northeast and central districts are using the new setup, which has sectional games being contested at the home site of the higher-seeded squad, with district-level games shifting to neutral-site locations.

Stried followed up with some more information.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if more districts move toward home sites for the first- and even second-round of the tournament,” he said. “For some games, that provides a better chance for having a large crowd than putting the game at a neutral site.”

Stried traced the origins of the new system that’s being used in Northeast Ohio for sectional-level games.

“It was actually the OHSAA central office that first initiated that precedent when the football playoffs expanded in 1999 and the first-round playoff game was assigned to the home field of the higher seed,” he said. “Now it’s moving into sectional basketball.”

Get well soon

Best wishes to former Cardinal and current Berkshire varsity girls basketball coach Dennis Lory.

Dennis’ brother, Doug, let me know Dennis — who is one of the true nice guys in this world — recreantly suffered a heart attack.

However, thankfully, Dennis is mending well and is back on his feet, according to Doug. He said Dennis was at a practice a couple weeks ago and started to feel some pain in his chest.

“He thought it was indigestion!” Doug said with a laugh, looking back. “He called his doctor and described what was going on and the doc told him he had better get to the hospital because he had all the symptoms of a heart attack.

“Turns out, he had 90 percent blockage in an artery. He really was very, very lucky.”

Now, Doug said his brother is back at practice working with his Badgers, the 10th-seeded team in the Ravenna sectional-district tournament.

His squad will have the unenviable task of traveling to Andover Township on Saturday afternoon to take on not only the tournament’s top-seeded squad — but also the No. 1 ranked team in the Buckeye State — Pymatuning Valley, for a sectional championship clash on the home floor of coach Jeff Compan’s undefeated Lakers (22-0), who lambasted 11th-seeded and visiting Atwater Waterloo last night at PV.

“Talk about a challenge to come back to, huh?” Doug said with a laugh. “But we know how great a team PV has. We’re just thankful Dennis is on the way back and OK.

“He was really fortunate and it’s nice to be worrying about a basketball game again.”

Dennis Lory coached at Cardinal from 1985-86 through the 1995-96 season. His 1993-94 Huskies won the East Suburban Conference championship and stormed through the Division III sectional-district tournament, reaching the Sweet 16 before being eliminated one game shy of the Final Four in Columbus.

He left as coach at Cardinal after the 1995-96 season and resurfaced as head coach at its fiercest rival, Berkshire, starting with the 2006-07 campaign.

Lory’s 2011-12 Huskies reached won a Division III district championship and, as was the case eight seasons previous at Cardinal, reached a regional championship game.

So as he takes his Huskies into the lion’s den at PV on Saturday afternoon (4 p.m. tipoff), he knows of what Compan’s crew has accomplished and where they are attempting to go.

For he — and two his teams — have been there, too.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.

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