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High school boys basketball: Conference title races heating up in final weeks of regular season

Teams have been jockeying for conference positioning all season. For many, it comes down to the final two weeks of the regular season. Four conferences have multiple teams with paths to at least a share of a conference title.

The CVC Chagrin Division is one of two conferences with area teams that has crowned its champion — Hawken. In the CVC Valley, Kirtland is runner-up to Crestwood after the Red Devils’ Dakota Johnson made a 3-pointer and the Hornets missed on the final possession of the game.

Fairport finished fourth in the NAC with 10 wins and a pair of one-point losses to Bristol and Pymatuning Valley, both of whom finished ahead of the Skippers in the conference.

The WRC has the most clear-cut path to a champion being crowned. North leads the conference with Mayfield one game behind, and the two meet Feb. 13 at North.

A win for the Rangers would lock up the outright title and their first since 2014 in any capacity. The last time these two met, Mayfield stunned the Rangers, 84-81, and the Wildcats have won five of their last seven.

North 13-7 7-1
Mayfield 5-14 5-2
South 9-9 5-3

If Mayfield makes history repeat itself, it would create a tie at the top of the conference. South is also alive in the race but needs a lot of help. The Rebels would need to win their last two against Riverside and at Chardon, with North loses to Mayfield and Kenston with the Wildcats also falling to either Riverside or Chardon for a three-way tie.

The Crown Conference is also a three-way battle with Walsh Jesuit and NDCL tied and Lake Catholic one game back. The Cougars’ involvement in the title races hinges on their trip to Walsh Feb. 16.

Walsh Jesuit 9-8 3-1
NDCL 9-9 3-1
Lake Catholic 8-10 2-2

Lake Catholic beat the Warriors, 46-44, on Jan. 26 with an Ace Peterlin layup with 10 seconds left. If the Cougars repeat the result, NDCL moves into sole possession of first with a trip to Walsh Jesuit on Feb. 18.

If the Warriors beat Lake Catholic, their matchup with the Lions will be for the conference title with no shares.

In the GCC, Medina is back in the picture with victories over Mentor (73-62) and Strongsville (50-46). Both the Mustangs’ and Bees’ title hopes are decided this week.

Strongsville hosts Brunswick on Feb. 13, and then Medina travels to Brunswick on Feb. 16. Both teams need to beat the conference-leading Blue Devils to keep the four-way tie scenario alive.

Brunswick 17-2 8-1
Mentor 11-6 8-2
Medina 10-8 6-4
Strongsville 14-4 6-4

Mentor also plays a big part in the potential of a four-way tie with its game at Shaker Heights on Feb. 16. If the Cardinals win that contest, both Strongsville and Medina are eliminated from title contention.

Mentor and Brunswick meet at The Nest on Feb. 23. If the Cardinals and Blue Devils win their respective conference games the rest of the way, that game will be for either an outright title for Brunswick or a share of the title for Mentor, who would have a conference title for the sixth year in a row.

The CVC Lake has the most scenarios. Three teams have a chance for the outright title, as well as a potential five-way share.

Geneva, Madison and Perry all have paths to being outright champions. The Eagles’ and Blue Streaks’ chances come down to their contest Feb. 20 at Madison. If the Eagles were to lose that contest, they would still have a chance to be a part of the shared title scenario.

Geneva 14-5 9-4
Perry 9-9 8-4
Madison 12-6 8-4
Edgewood 14-5 9-5
Jefferson 10-8 7-5

The Blue Streaks and Pirates would be tied at the top of the conference after they split the season series. Perry’s title hopes would come down to a Feb. 23 home game against Jefferson, whom the Pirates beat in overtime.

The Falcons’ title chances hinge on that contest, if they beat Lakeside on Feb. 17. They would also need the Dragons to beat Madison on Feb. 24 to take a share of the conference title.

The lone team that has no control over the title fight is Edgewood, as the Warriors have played all of their CVC Lake games.

For the conference to end in a five-way tie for the title, Madison would need to beat Geneva and lose to Lakeside, Perry needs to beat Conneaut but lose to Jefferson and the Falcons would need to beat Lakeside and the Pirates. Then the Blue Streaks, Eagles, Pirates, Falcons and Warriors would all get to add a year to their respective banners.