2021-22 Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference High School Boys’ Basketball History

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – The Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference is entering its fifth season of high school basketball.

Last year the league had an exciting end to the season as Southern was crowned league champion for the first time, outlasting quality opponents such as Valley Christian, Wellsville and Lisbon.

Who will take the crown this season?

History of the Eastern Ohio Track and Field Conference
Ranking 2020-21
South – 12-2 (14-6)
Christian Valley – 11-3 (15-5)
Wellsville – 10-3 (16-6)
Lisbon – 9-5 (14-9)
United – 7-7 (9-13)
Leetonia – 4-9 (8-12)
Columbiana – 2-12 (4-19)
Eastern Palestine – 0-14 (0-17)

Southern finished the 2020-21 season impressively, winning seven of their last eight regular season games to finish atop the EOAC standings with a 12-2 score.

The Indians split their two-game streak with Valley Christian – who finished second behind Southern – with an 11-3 record in the league.

Southern won their first meet, 46-43, on Jan.5.

Brock Smalley led Southern’s offense with 14 points. The team then abandoned their road trip to Youngstown, 53-45, in February.

Despite their league championship, Southern was the No. 9 seed in the tournament and fell to Mathews 57-56 in the first round.

Valley Christian won his first two playoff games (against Maplewood and Windham) before being eliminated in overtime on a three-point defeat by McDonald (57-56).

The Eagles and Wellsville were the only team to earn a playoff victory. The two registered a pair of wins as they advanced to the district semi-final.

Ranking 2019-20
Columbiana – 11-1 (19-5)
South – 9-3 (18-7)
Wellsville – 8-4 (12-11)
Lisbon – 7-5 (11-13)
Eastern Palestine – 3-9 (3-20)
United – 3-9 (3-20)
Leetonia – 1-11 (3-20)

Columbiana’s only loss in the league came Jan. 17 to Wellsville, 69-65. Tigers point guard Darien Suggs scored 27 points and had five assists as Wellsville handed the Clippers their only loss.

From there, the Clippers didn’t lose any other game until their regular season final (Feb. 18) at home against West Branch (45-39).

Columbiana dominated Mooney, 58-47, in the Salem Section final before losing to Springfield (70-41) in the Districts.

Southern became the first (and only) team in conference history to compete in a District Championship game. The Indians ended their season with 18 wins, two of them came in the playoffs against Valley Christian (59-40) and Sebring (64-56) before being eliminated by McDonald (72-59).

Ranking 2018-19
Toronto – 14-0 (21-3)
Wellsville – 8-6 (14-10)
South – 7-7 (15-9)
Columbiana – 7-7 (13-11)
United – 7-7 (12-12)
Lisbon – 7-7 (11-13)
Eastern Palestine – 5-9 (8-15)
Leetonia – 1-13 (3-20)

Toronto has walked the league roster, recording a perfect 14-0 score and outscoring division opponents by an average of almost 16 points. The Red Knights were ranked third in the AP poll (Division IV).

With all the success the Red Knights enjoyed, the No.2 seed in the Eastern District was eliminated by No.6 Malvern (58-52) in the section championship.

The league was very competitive between teams two to seven, as four finished tied at 7-7 in the middle of the field.

Once again, all teams were eliminated in the section rounds including Toronto, however, all but two of the teams won a playoff game to close the playoffs with a 6-8 record.

Ranking 2017-18
Toronto – 12-2 (16-8)
United – 11-3 (14-9)
Wellsville – 9-5 (16-8)
Lisbon – 8-6 (13-11)
Eastern Palestine – 6-8 (10-13)
South – 5-9 (12-11)
Columbiana – 4-10 (7-17)
Leetonia – 1-13 (5-18)

In the league’s inaugural season, Toronto and United each split their two clashes. The Golden Eagles won the first meeting on Dec. 8, 57-54, behind Parker Hydrick’s 18 points. Just over a month later, Toronto dominated United, 57-49.

The Red Knights were punctuated by Trillion West (15 points), Nate Karaffa (13) and Lucas Gulzynski (13).

United failed to keep pace with Toronto as they lost to Wellsville on January 26 (65-52).

The Red Knights won the league title with a 12-2 league record.

All eight schools were rejected from the playoffs in sections. The EOAC, as a whole, is 5-8 in the playoffs.

About Stephen Arrington

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