PORTSMOUTH — With the recent announcement of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s girls and boys basketball 2021 tournament divisions, there were no changes for any of the dozen schools —boys or girls — of Scioto County.
But, that doesn’t mean there weren’t winners — at least on paper and/or by perception — within the new divisions alignments.
The county school most affected is Valley, whose enrollment number is the smallest for Division III girls while its boys program — like the Lady Indians — has fluctuated between Divisions III and IV in recent seasons.
Valley’s boys are once again in Division IV.
The Lady Indians’ enrollment number for the 2021 tournament is 115, as the cutoff to be the largest Division IV club was at 114.
South Webster, with an enrollment of 107, wasn’t too far away from being Division III again —which the Lady Jeeps just were two years ago.
Minford, Portsmouth West and Wheelersburg will all be back in Division III with an enrollment number of 167, as Portsmouth (160) and Northwest (156) are also safely into that division.
In Division IV, Green (82), Clay (79), New Boston (63), Sciotoville East (63) and Notre Dame all join South Webster.
Speaking of small-school stronghold Notre Dame, it won’t be facing the Fort Frye Lady Cadets in the tournament this season, as Fort Frye defeated the Lady Titans in last season’s regional championship tilt.
That’s because the Lady Cadets —now a two-time regional champion and subsequent state tournament qualifier —have moved back up to Division III.
Fort Frye’s enrollment number is 116, as it and Lima Perry posted that number —while Leesburg Fairfield (117) of the Southeast District is only one above.
Valley is one of seven schools in girls with an enrollment of 115.
The Indian boys, which are now mentored by the legendary and Ohio’s all-time winningest active head coach Norm Persin, are once again in Division IV —just two seasons after upsetting Eastern Brown for the sectional championship in Division III.
With the smallest Division III school being an enrollment of 129, the Indians are at 121.
Valley (121), South Webster (111) and New Boston (100) are early offseason and preseason favorites for extended tournament stays in Division IV, as New Boston — the defending Southern Ohio Conference Division I champion with its nucleus returning — was the 2019 regional runner-up.
Green (78), Clay (70), East (68) and Notre Dame (66) are also back as Division IV boys.
Western, which joins New Boston and those four SOC I schools, will once again be Division IV — dropping down from Division III with an enrollment of 128.
That makes Western and Federal Hocking (128) as the largest Division IV programs in the entire state.
Huntington, which is one of four schools at the low-end of 129, and Crooksville (134) climbed back up to Division III.
All five Scioto County Division III 2020 teams — West (191), Minford (182), Northwest (181), Wheelersburg (180) and Portsmouth (163) — return to Division III for 2021.
Tournament divisions and representation are always based on the schools that competed in the tournament the previous year, and the data includes their OHSAA Board of Directors-approved tournament enrollment from the most recent cycle of the EMIS (Ohio Department of Education’s Education Management Information System) count.
No changes in school tournament division assignments based on Competitive Balance errors will be made unless it is determined the OHSAA Office made a competitive balance error or it is determined that a school submitted erroneous information which should have resulted in said school being placed in a higher tournament division.
Changes to a school’s 2021 tournament participation or enrollment will simply place that school in the appropriate tournament division.
Tournament divisions will not be recalculated.
A burning question now is whether there will in fact be basketball tournaments in 2021, as the state continues to respond to the coronavirus threat.
As of a week ago, regular basketball team practices can begin, but they are strictly limited to intra-squad training and workouts only.
That includes any and all open gyms, as NO inter-squad activities — including summer shootouts or even team camps — are permitted at the present time.
The OHSAA already waived its “10-day rule” for the summer of 2020, so there is no limit on the number of coaching days for workouts, training, open gyms or open fields.
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Information from the Ohio High School Athletic Association was used in this story
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved