By CHUCK RIDENOUR
Daily Globe Sports Editor
WILLARD - The writers and broadcasters who cover the Northern Ohio League are predicting competitive races in both boys and girls basketball this winter.
Bellevue's girls, who feature the talents of All-Ohioan Carly Santoro, are gunning for their fifth consecutive conference championship.
Santoro, a senior, averaged better than 20 points a game last season and has committed to play at Bowling Green State University in 2015-16.
The Lady Red do have a new coach - Kory Santoro, Carly's father. He replaces Ryan Orshoski, who stepped down.
In the closely-contested balloting, Bellevue edged out Willard 66-62. The defending champs also owned a 6-4 edge in first-place votes.
Rounding out the list were Norwalk (47), Shelby (39), Sandusky (33), Tiffin Columbian (20) and Ontario (13). Like Bellevue, the Tornadoes and Warriors also have new bench bosses.
On the boys side, reigning conference co-champion and Division II State champ Norwalk wasn't picked to defend.
The Truckers, who had three of 10 first-place mentions, finished third in the vote with 52 points.
Ontario, which shared the NOL crown with Norwalk, and Willard finished in a first-place tie with 60 points. The Flashes had four firsts and the Warriors had the remaining three first-place votes.
The Whippets and Sandusky tied for fourth with 32 points and were followed by Tiffin Columbian (29) and Bellevue (15).
Plymouth, last season's Firelands Conference boys basketball winner, was the unanimous choice to repeat for 2014-15.
The Big Red had eight firsts and 64 points. Following were Western Reserve (44), New London (38), South Central (35), Monroeville (33), Crestview (29), Mapleton (28) and Norwalk St. Paul (16).
South Central was the clear-cut favorite in the girls chase with eight firsts and 64 points. Rounding out the list were Monroeville (46), Mapleton (39), New London (37), Crestview (34), Norwalk St. Paul (34), Western Reserve (21) and Plymouth (13).
Over in the Northern 10 Conference, Carey (7) and Buckeye Central (1) nabbed the first-place votes. They were also 1-2 in the final boys tally with 79 and 72 points, respectively.
Colonel Crawford was third with 54 and followed by Wynford (52), Upper Sandusky (50), Bucyrus (46), Mohawk (24), Ridgedale (22), Seneca East (21) and Crestline (20).
Carey, with five firsts, and Wynford, with two No. 1 votes, led the Northern 10 girls voting with 76 and 70 points, respectively. The other first went to Upper Sandusky, which had 69 points.
v Completing the list were Mohawk (42), Bucyrus (41), Seneca East (38), Buckeye Central (34), Ridgedale (31), Colonel Crawford (29) and Crestline (8).
The area high school girls basketball campaign starts Friday, November 27. The boys season will start a week later.