COLUMBUS — Even before talking about the starting lineup populated by NCAA Division I players, it is obvious Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph is no ordinary Division IV high school boys basketball team.
The Vikings (24-4), who will play Leipsic at 4:30 p.m. today for the Division IV state championship, now have reached a state title game in each of Ohio’s four divisions after beating Troy Christian 67-36 in a semifinal on Friday.
As recently as 1991, Villa-Angela St. Joseph was Division I state champ. It won three Division II titles between 1992 and 1995, then was state runner-up in 1997 and 2006 in Division III and a semifinalist in that division in 2007 and 2008.
Villa Angela-St. Joseph has won its six tournament games by 71, 43, 20, 37, 36 and 31 points after outscoring its regular-season opponents by an average of 25 points a game.
Its four losses have come against Lakewood St. Edward, Westerville North, Cleveland St. Ignatius and Shaker Heights.
Its lineup includes two seniors who have signed with NCAA Division I programs and two sophomores who are highly rated by the recruiting services.
Demonte Flannigan, a 6-foot, 8-inch senior who averages 16. 2 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, has signed with Cleveland State. Point guard Duane Gibson (11.7 points, 8.9 assists, 3.9 steals) will play for Evansville next year.
Carlton Bragg, a 6-9 sophomore, scores 16.7 points a game and shoots 42 percent on 3-pointers. He has already been offered a scholarship by Ohio State, Georgetown, West Virginia, Illinois and Missouri. He is rated one of the top 25 sophomores in the country by espn.com.
Brian Parker, a 6-2 sophomore, who scored 13.7 points a game, is also attracting college attention.
Flannigan scored 26 points and Gibson had 14 points in the win over Troy Christian.
Troy Christian stayed with the Vikings in the first half, trailing only 29-22 after two quarters.
But Villa-Angela St. Joseph eventually wore them down, held the Eagles to 22 percent shooting in the second half and outscored them 38-14 in the last two quarters.
“Our job isn’t done yet. We want a state championship,” Gibson said after the win over Troy Christian.
Flannigan said, “I wish we could play right now.”