The Ohio High School Athletic Association sometimes takes more hits than "Iron" Mike Tyson doled out to his opponents in his heyday.
This time, the OHSAA doesn't deserve an uppercut in its direction.
This year's area boys and girls basketball sectional-district tournaments are as geographically correct as possible.
The biggest change comes in Division IV where McDonald swings up to the boys Warren District and strengths the field.
McDonald won the Struthers District in 2007, '10 and '11 and has advance to the district title game every year since 2004.
Despite the Blue Devils losing a strong senior class and their coach Jeff Rasile, who was at the helm for those district title games, McDonald is a viable force coming up to the Warren District with recent favorites John F. Kennedy and Windham.
Boys tournament assignments
at Alliance High School
Teams: Alliance, Austintown Fitch, Boardman, Canfield, East, GlenOak, Green, Hoover, Howland, Kent Roosevelt, Lake, Louisville, Warren G. Harding
at Boardman High School
Teams: Cardinal Mooney, Crestwood, Hubbard, Lakeview, Niles McKinley, Poland Seminary, Ravenna, Salem, Southeast, Struthers, West Branch
at Howland High School
Teams: Berkshire, Brookfield, Campbell Memorial, Cardinal, Champion, Garfield, Girard, Grand Valley, LaBrae, Liberty, Newton Falls, Pymatuning Valley, Ursuline
at Salem High School
Teams: Canton Central Catholic, Columbiana, Crestview, East Palestine, Lisbon, Manchester, Rootstown, South Range, Springfield, St. Thomas Aquinas, United, Waterloo
at Warren G. Harding High School
Teams: Badger, Bloomfield, Bristol, John F. Kenendy, Ledgemont, Lordstown, Maplewood, Mathews, McDonald, Mineral Ridge, Southington, Windham
at Struthers Fieldhouse
Teams: East Canton, Heartland Christian, Heritage Christian, Jackson-Milton, Lake Center Christian, Leetonia, Lowellville, Mogadore, Sebring, Southern, Wellsville, Western Reserve, Youngstown Christian
Girls tournament assignments
at Akron Ellet High School
Teams: Aurora, Boardman, East, Fitch, Howland, Hudson, Kent Roosevelt, Nordonia, Stow, Twinsburg, Walsh Jesuit, Warren G. Harding
at Pymatuning Valley High School
Teams: Chagrin Falls, Conneaut, Edgewood, Geneva, Jefferson, Lake Catholic, Lakeview, NDCL, Orange, Painesville Harvey, Perry, West Geauga
at Austintown Fitch High School
Teams: Canfield, Cardinal Mooney, Crestwood, Hubbard, Liberty, Niles McKinley, Poland Seminary, Ravenna, Salem, Southeast, Streetsboro, Struthers, West Branch
at Barberton High School
Teams: Berkshire, Black River, Cardinal, Columbia Station, Elyria Catholic, Garfield, Mogadore, Oberlin, Rootstown, St. Thomas Aquinas, Waterloo, Wellington
at Mineral Ridge High School
Teams: Brookfield, Campbell Memorial, Champion, East Palestine, Girard, Grand Valley, LaBrae, Newton Falls, Pymatuning Valley, South Range, Springfield, United, Ursuline
at Rootstown High School
Teams: Badger, Bristol, Cornerstone Christian, Fairport Harbor, John F. Kenendy, Ledgemont, Lordstown, Maplewood, Mathews, McDonald, Newbury, Southington, Windham
at South Range
Teams: Columbiana, Crestview, David Anderson, Heartland Christian, Jackson-Milton, Leetonia, Lowellville, Mineral Ridge, Sebring, Southern, Wellsville, Western Reserve
Then, add Maplewood and this year's dark horse, Bristol, the last Division IV team from Trumbull County to advance to state. Windham advanced to state in 2006.
Speaking of Warren, Division I area teams Warren G. Harding, Austintown Fitch, Boardman, Canfield and Howland are finally together at one spot - not split between either Solon or Warrensville Heights or the Canton Civic Center. They all meet at Alliance High School.
On paper, Harding and GlenOak look like viable favorites, but don't be surprised if Canfield and Howland make deep runs in the district.
The Division II boys didn't change too much, but Lakeview bumped up from Division III to II - joining the rest of the usual suspects at Boardman High School.
Hubbard, Lakeview, Cardinal Mooney and Poland are among the top teams, but look for Niles to find its way to districts somehow. Even if the Red Dragons are below .500 entering the tournament, they can most likely manage a couple of wins at Boardman.
Then, the Division III landscape vastly changed as Ursuline and Campbell moved from Salem to Howland. Talk about a free-for-all in this district. And, vice-versa, a collective sigh of relief at the Salem District. Since 2005, it seems the Salem District final has been Ursuline vs. Campbell for the right to play at the Canton Regional. The rare exception, besides one of the two making the final and winning it, was 2010 when East Canton beat Campbell for the district crown.
Now, the Howland district is loaded with LaBrae and Newton Falls, arguably two of the best teams in Trumbull County, added with Ursuline, Campbell and last year's district champion, Berkshire. It'll be quite interesting to see who comes out of Tigers country with this year's district crown.
Speaking of Howland, the Tigers' girls basketball team, along with Fitch, Boardman and Harding won't be heading to Solon, Warrensville Heights or even Alliance.
Akron Ellet High School is the host of one of the northeast Ohio districts and all those aforementioned area teams are heading there. Sadly enough, Twinsburg, one of the best teams in the state, also makes the trip to Ellet. However, Howland has one of its best teams rolling through this year. Can this be the year the Tigers finally overcome Twinsburg?
In Division II, Lakeview's girls are the odd-team out, as the Bulldogs join a field made up of mostly Geauga, Lake and Ashtabula County teams. With Lake Catholic and Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin in the mix, it's hard to pick anyone else to advance.
As for the other Division II district at Fitch, Canfield, Salem and Struthers seems like the obvious favorites.
In Division III, Cardinal and Garfield head to Barberton where Elyria Catholic could be considered the team to beat, but stranger things have happened.
The other local teams are no longer split between Ashtabula Lakeside High School and Mineral Ridge. The Rams host them now as defending Mineral Ridge District champion Ursuline returns and should be the favorite again this year.
In Division IV, the area teams heading to Rootstown may take issue with my earlier statement about the OSHAA being on the money concerning sectional-district sites and their geographic location.
Well, Badger, Bristol, Kennedy, Lordstown, Maplewood, Mathews, McDonald, Southington and Windham might not agree with me, but Bristol, Lordstown and Southington were here last year. You can say the trip to Rootstown is old hat for them ... maybe.
Badger might be happier to make the trip since it was bounced in last year's sectional semifinal by Villa Angela-St. Joseph in the Lakeside Division III tournament.
Then, Mineral Ridge also takes a dip from Division III to IV as the Rams head to South Range with a Columbiana County-based field. South Range replaces Hubbard as this year's area sectional-district in Division IV.
Too close to tell in either field who will advance out of either D-IV district, but there's a good shot a Trumbull County team may represent the area at regionals coming out of the Rootstown District.
The boys season tips off tonight with four games of note.
I think the one to watch is Bristol at Maplewood with a couple of first-year coaches in Nathan Kish (Maplewood) and Craig Giesy (Bristol), taking over their respective programs. Both were on Lordstown's coaching staff last year as Kish was the head coach and Giesy was an assistant. This long-standing rivalry will intensify up once again.
And, a couple of other first-year coaches, although they are seasoned veterans, take over programs at Howland and Liberty.
Former Harding assistant Bill Bogan, who coached his alma mater, Badger, to the 2002 Division III Hubbard District title over Kennedy, takes the reins at Howland. And, former Champion coach Dan Bubon is the mentor for the Leopards. The two meet tonight at Liberty High School.
Finally, Newton Falls hosts Niles and Hubbard travels to LaBrae.
These games are just a rest stop on the road to the postseason, which starts in about two and half months.