Skip to main content

By Ryan Isley | Photos by Jeff Harwell

CANTON, Ohio — The game was billed as a showcase of stars, with Oak Hill Academy and Akron native Chris Livingston visiting Northeast Ohio to take on St. Vincent-St. Mary.

But things don’t always go as planned, and the Fighting Irish were without their two stars Monday night as Illinois commit Sencire Harris and Cleveland State commit Ramar Pryor both missed STVM’s 83-65 loss to Oak Hill Academy at Canton’s Memorial Civic Center.

Missing its top two players gave STVM a chance to see what some of its other players could do, as the OHSAA tournament is underway.

Junior guard Lance Hayes led the charge for STVM with 33 points, scoring 18 of those in the fourth quarter. He is the third-leading scorer on the team behind Harris and Pryor at just over 11 points per game this season.

“He has been coming along all season,” STVM coach Dru Joyce said. “This was a tougher job for him because he has been the recipient of a lot of good play from Sencire and Ramar, and today he had to kind of create it on his own.”

The game started off shakily for the Fighting Irish, as Oak Hill took a 21-8 lead after one quarter and a 35-12 lead into the locker room at halftime. But it wasn’t as if STVM didn’t have its chances in the opening half.

“The first half, we shot 5-for-30 and we got good looks,” Joyce said. “We just didn’t make them. That’s a matter of confidence.”

But STVM didn’t go away and played much better in the second half, outscoring Oak Hill 53-48 in the game’s final 16 minutes. By then, it was too late against a national powerhouse like Oak Hill, which is loaded with players committed to Division I colleges.

“In the second half, we felt a little more comfortable, but it was too late then,” Joyce said. “You get down by 20-some and try to make a comeback, that doesn’t happen against an Oak Hill that’s got seven or eight Division I guys.”

One thing the second half did give Joyce was a chance to get some players on the floor who otherwise might not get the game reps. STVM went deeper into its bench than it has all season long.

“We have basically been playing seven or eight (guys),” Joyce said. “Tonight, we played eight or nine so some guys who haven’t seen the floor much got a chance to see the floor, so that will be good down the road.”

As for the outlook going forward, Joyce thinks Pryor should return this week but didn’t have any clarity yet on the situation with Harris.

“We don’t know if Sencire is coming back at all,” Joyce said. “If he doesn’t, we will have to make adjustments.”

The Fighting Irish begin defense of their Division II state title Friday as they take on either Lorain Clearview or Warrensville Heights in the sectional final.

It's a tournament in which STVM won’t see anyone the caliber of the Oak Hill team the Irish played Monday. And they wouldn’t see one even if they were in the state’s biggest division, either.

“I don’t think we will have to face anyone that tough in the tournament,” Joyce said. “We have played all the D-I schools in the state this year, and there is no D-I team in Ohio as good as them.”

Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.3
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.22
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.20
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.34
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.32
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.8
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.19
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.28
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.45
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.44
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.39
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.10
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.11
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.43
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.31
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.41
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.30
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.5
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.38
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.21
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.29
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.26
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.55
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.37
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.54
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.51
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.14
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.13
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.53
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.52
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.1
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.15
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.27
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.49
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.6
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.4
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.16
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.25
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.36
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.50
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.12
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.35
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.56
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.7
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.2
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.24
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.42
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.48
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.40
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.9
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.33
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.23
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.47
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.17
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.57
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.18
Jeff Harwell_St. Vincent-St. Mary_Oak Hill.46