11-24-21 Sam Houseworth’s 2021 Ohio Preseason Boys HS Basketball Rankings.
No other sport has a larger gap in talent between divisions than boys basketball. And with that, D-I is loaded and deep going into the 2021-22 season. Despite their unexpected early exit in last year’s postseason, Moeller is narrowly the preseason favorite going into this season, closely followed by Mentor (who opens the season at Lima Senior this weekend) and Gahanna-Lincoln. The list of contenders doesn’t stop there with Hilliard Bradley, St. X, Pick Central, and defending champion Centerville all in the running. There are no easy paths to UD Arena for any D-I school.
St. Vincent-St. Mary is the heavy favorite to repeat as state champions. Not only are the Irish ranked as the top team in D-II, but they are also the preseason #1 across all divisions. Lima Shawnee and Akron Buchtel share the role as most likely spoilers as they are strong favorites in the WBL and Akron City Series respectively. Columbus and Cincinnati area school dominate the rest of the top 10 with 3 teams in the Greater Catholic League residing there.
Like SVSM in D-II, the defending champion Lutheran East out of Cleveland Heights is the clear favorite to repeat as state champions. The Falcons had been on the cusp for years before winning the D-IV title in 2017, then following it up with a D-III title this past season. The talent in D-III is well spread throughout the state, with 5 of the 6 districts represented in the top 10. Worthington Christian, Wheelersburg, O-G, Harvest Prep, and Taft are all formidable contenders to win it all at UD Arena.
Richmond Heights steamrolled opponents en route to back-to-back final four appearances. The Spartans won their district and regional contests by an average of 27.4 points. However, Botkins played the role of spoiler, upsetting Richmond Heights and winning their first state championship in boys basketball. Richmond Heights opens the season as the D-IV favorite, led by WVU commit Josiah Harris. Ottoville, state runner-up Columbus Grove, Antwerp, Minster, and Botkins round out the top 6.