Top 10 high school basketball teams in Ohio since 2000

Ohio’s high school basketball programs produced 16 players who took to the court in NBA games during the 2021-22 season, including LeBron James, Caris LeVert, CJ McCollum and Terry Rozier, among others.

Buckeye State also produced a nationally ranked high school team last season at Pickerington Central that went 25-2 en route to the Division I state title.

This got us wondering if Central would rank among the top 10 teams in the state since the turn of the century. By evaluating resumes, national rankings and roster talent, we’ve put together a list of Ohio’s top teams since 2000. See the full breakdown below.

Photo: Scott Reed

LeBron James talks to his former high school teammate before Sierra Canyon’s game against his alma mater St. Vincent-St. Mary in 2019.

Top 10 Ohio teams since 2000

Registration: 25-1

National ranking: No. 1

Notable players: Sian Cotton, LeBron James, Corey Jones, Dru Joyce III, Romeo Travis

Tiredness: Before James began dominating the NBA, the most anticipated prospect in basketball history led St. Vincent-St. Mary on a magical run, The King won the program’s third state championship in four years and went undefeated on the court. The Fighting Irish picked up key victories over top 10 opponents Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.).

2. St. Vincent-St. Mary, 2000-01

Registration: 26-1

National ranking: Number 4

Notable players: Sian Cotton, LeBron James, Dru Joyce III, Aly Samabaly, John Taylor

Tiredness: Then as a sophomore, James led St. Vincent-St. Mary to her second straight state crown after defeating Miami East (Casstown) 63-53 in the title match. James had a game-high 25 points and 10 rebounds on 11 of 14 from the field. He averaged 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.7 steals to earn Ohio Mr. Basketball honors for the first of three consecutive seasons.

Registration: 26-1

National ranking: #3

Notable players: Damon Butler, Nathaniel Glover, Paul Leary, OJ Mayo, Bill Walker

Tiredness: Mayo and Walker had great junior seasons to guide North College Hill to the Division III state title with a 90-73 win over Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Cleveland). Mayo led the way with a game-high 34 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while Walker had 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the title game victory. Mayo earned Ohio Mr. Basketball honors for the second year in a row.

4. St. Vincent-St. Mary, 1999-2000

Registration: 27-0

National ranking: No. 20

Notable players: Maverick Carter, LeBron James, Chad Mraz, Aly Samabaly, John Taylor

Tiredness: Freshman James was named state tournament MVP after leading St. Vincent-St. Mary to a 73-55 victory in the title game against Greeneview (Jamestown), finishing with 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists while shooting 10 of 12 from the field and 3 of 4 from the charity strip. Fellow freshman Dru Joyce III exploded for 21 of 7 of 7 from 3 points in 10 minutes off the bench.

Registration: 29-0

National ranking: No. 8

Notable players: Logan Duncomb, Max Land, Miles McBride, Alec Pfriem, Michael Shipp

Tiredness: Extended his winning streak to 49 games from the previous season, winning back-to-back Division I state titles. Archbishop Moeller was dominant, outscoring his opponents by more than 25 points on average. Pfriem led the way with 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists, while McBride had 16 points, six rebounds and three assists in a 52-44 win over St. Vincent-St. Married.

Registration: 25-2

National ranking: No. 10

Notable players: Todd Brown, Sedelle Broyles, Ricky Jackson, Raymar Morgan, Marcus Parker

Left no doubt to end back-to-back Division I titles with a 63-33 blowout of Trotwood-Madison in the championship game led by 25 points and 11 rebounds from Morgan. McKinley’s two losses came against high-octane opponents, falling to No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 51-50 and No. 3 North College Hill (Cincinnati) 69-67.

Registration: 28-0

National ranking: No. 12

Notable players: Gary Akbar, Damarion Geter, Amos Harris, Deontae Hawkins, Andre Yates

Tiredness: A trio of seniors led the way as Akbar (16.0), Hawkins (16.0) and Yates (14.6) averaged double figures for an offense that averaged over 78 points. Dunbar outscored opponents by nearly 28 points with five games decided in the single digits. Although the Wolverines led 35-24 early in the third quarter of the state title game, they used a 20-0 run to propel them to a 54-52 win over Elida.

8. North College Hill, 2004-05

Registration: 27-1

National ranking: No. 17

Notable players: Damon Butler, Keenan Ellis, Darion Goins, OJ Mayo, Bill Walker

Won his first of three straight state championships behind sophomores Walker and Mayo. North College Hill beat previously undefeated Ironton 71-65 in the Division III state title game, paced by 22 points and six assists from Mayo and 19 points and 14 rebounds from Walker. Mayo earned his first of two consecutive Mr. Basketball selections at Ohio.

Registration: 27-1

National ranking: No. 21

Notable players: Trey Burke, Javon Cornley, Dimonde Hale, Jared Sullinger, James Weatherspoon

Tiredness: Future NBA players Burke and Sullinger were key cogs in the Vikings’ run for the Division I state title. With the game tied at 58-58 with 2.7 seconds left, Sullinger knocked down two of three free throws to give Northland a 60-58 victory over Princeton in the championship game. The program had a dominant streak from 2006-07 to 2012-13, with a 171-9 record.

Registration: 27-1

National ranking: No. 12

Notable players: Jamelle Cornley, Brandon Foust, Andrew Lavender, Ronald Lewis, Dontae Patterson

Tiredness: Won the program’s only state title with a 66-49 victory over Winton Woods (Cincinnati) in the Division I championship game.

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