There is an ugly truth that is being perpetuated by the majority of HS basketball coaches in the Mahoning Valley and that truth is this: The majority of HS basketball coaches in the Mahoning Valley would rather play local competition and get easy wins, than play a few out of town teams and risk losing.
I have been saying since day one on my show that every basketball team should challenge their kids with a difficult non-conference schedule. The fact is every team, regardless of the regular season record, gets to participate in the OHSAA Basketball Tournament. With that fact in mind, why would any coach (especially a coach with a very good team) play a soft schedule? Why insult a program with games that are the equivalent of stepping over a newspaper?
This isn't rocket science. The only way a good program becomes a great program is if they play the best. Let me give you all a painful example. Last night South Range lost to Canton Central Catholic 57-47 in the D-3 District Semi-Finals at Salem. South Range, who went 21-1 in the regular season, lost to a team that went 8-14 in the regular season. How could that be? Simple. It wasn't the fact that CCC is a parochial school (South Range has open enrollment), rather, it's because CCC played ELEVEN D-1 teams in and around Stark County. That beast of a schedule got them ready for the tournament.
I'm not saying every D-3 or D-4 team should call Fitch, Boardman, Harding or East. What I am saying is this: The ONLY way the area will EVER get a basketball team to Columbus, or be a yearly threat to get to Columbus, is if the head coach and the athletic director quit putting out a weak schedule and play some really good teams in Canton, Akron or Cleveland.