NOTE: This story was posted during the 2020 Boys Basketball season during the coronavirus situation…the first time in OHSAA history that a boys state championship was not held.

(3-13-20) The 1922-23 tournament marked the first time an Ohio High School Athletic Association sponsored state tournament was held. An unofficial state tournament was played for 15 years prior before 1923.

The 1923 semifinal games were played at the Ohio State Gym, while the championship games were played at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

COMPLETE1923 Championship Brackets

1923 Class A State Boys Basketball Championships

1922-23 Lorain HS Boys BB

The first OHSAA Class A tournament in 1923 was won by Lorain High School. Down, 14-8, entering the fourth quarter, Lorain scored the game’s final seven points, including a basket by substitute Van Arman in the final seconds for a 15-14 win and the state championship.

Lorain Hall of Fame

Picture courtesy of Lorain Sports Hall of Fame

1923 would be Lorain’s first trip to the tournament, their second trip would come 95 years later in 2018 when they lost in the State semifinal game to Cincinnati Moeller 51-44.

1923 Class A Boys BB

1923 Class A State Boys Basketball Championships

The Class B champion in 1923 was Plattsburg, they beat Bellpoint, 16-15 in their only trip to a state final.

1923 Class B Boys BB

Did you know….

In 1923 Ralph Geesey coached two different teams in the tournament, one in each class. The two schools were Stryker (Class A) and West Unity (Class B), they were located just seven miles apart from each other in Williams County in northwest Ohio.

Geesey had coached the two teams to a total of just eight victories along the tournament trail.  In Columbus, West Unity won twice before losing Class B State Champ Plattsburgh, 29-11, in the semi-finals. Stryker  lost its first round game to Columbus West by a score of 20-8.

Geesey was named to the first Hall of Fame Class of Hilltop HS, located in West Unity, in 2015.  He graduated from West Unity in 1917. Running the basketball programs at West Unity and Stryker, beginning in 1923, he led each school to the state finals. Later he would do the same at Kunkle School. Upon his retirement in 1929, Geesey finished with a record of 231 wins and 21 losses.  He passed away in 1974.

Why were scores so low…Some rules that were in place in 1923, a fouled player had to shoot free throws, ending the designated foul shooter. There was a center jump after each basket.