Teams in the MSL-Cardinal Division aren't the only ones likely to benefit this winter from the demise of the Harvest Prep boys basketball program.

Teams in the MSL-Cardinal Division aren't the only ones likely to benefit this winter from the demise of the Harvest Prep boys basketball program.

After the Warriors lost to Berlin Hiland 63-48 in the Division IV state championship game last March, the OHSAA penalized the school for non-compliance and banned it from postseason play in all sports this school year.

Two of Harvest Prep's top expected returnees elected to transfer in the offseason, adding depth to a pair of rosters in the City League-South.

Grant Harris, a 6-foot-2 senior who averaged 19 points last season and made first-team all-district, now is playing for defending City-South champion Walnut Ridge. KeJuan Skinner-Byrd, a 5-8 junior who started at point guard last season for the Warriors, is now at 2011 Division III state semifinalist Africentric.

"In the (City-South) on any given night, it's going to be wide open," said Michael Bates, who enters his sixth season as Nubians coach. "I think (Walnut Ridge is) better than at any point last year. Eastmoor's got basically their whole team back, except for (2011 graduate) Ron Tanner, and I think South is going to be better."

Last season, Walnut Ridge went 13-1 to win the City-South, finishing ahead of Marion-Franklin (10-4), Africentric (9-5), Independence (9-5), Eastmoor Academy (7-7), Briggs (5-9), West (3-11) and South (0-14). The Red Devils won the league two years ago, but Elijah Macon is playing for Huntington (W.Va.) Prep for his senior season after making second-team all-district last season.

The Scots, who lost to Northland 59-52 in the City title game last season, return several key players.

Senior Fred Hardgrove is back at point guard and should be joined in the backcourt by seniors Isaiah Brooks and Adam McCall, with 6-4 senior Roy Alexander expected to take on a key scoring role after averaging 11 points last season. Seniors Allasane Kah (6-9) and Kai Turner (6-6) also are back.

Senior Malik Dime (6-9) and junior Rob Wheelwright (6-3) also are expected to contribute.

Walnut Ridge lost to Gahanna 47-44 in a district final last season. The Scots lost their top player in 2011 graduate Austin Traylor, who averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds and made second-team all-district and ThisWeek Super 12.

"All of my chips are in the middle of the table," said Jason Bates, who is in his fourth season as Walnut Ridge coach and is the brother of Michael Bates. "This is a great group of guys."

Africentric is now in Division IV after finishing 18-8 overall last season. The Nubians beat Bloom-Carroll 62-53 in a Division III district final and defeated Ottawa-Glandorf (43-38) and Archbold (45-38) in the regional tournament before falling to Cincinnati Taft 63-50 in a state semifinal.

Back from last season are seniors FuQuan Tucker (6-3), Justin Miller (6-0) and Hosie Smith (6-5) and juniors Trevon Saunders (5-10) and Neshaun Walls (5-10).

In addition to Skinner-Byrd, others expected to contribute are senior Delquan Black (6-4), junior Kenny Robinson (6-1) and freshman Jaquan Harrison (6-3).

Tucker averaged 11 points and six rebounds last season and made honorable mention all-district.

Marquice Taylor, who was first-team all-district and Super 12 last season, and Kalomo Figueroa-Jackson are 2011 graduates who are playing for Notre Dame College in South Euclid.

•GIRLS HOOPS NOTES - The City-South should have a slightly different feel this winter in girls basketball after two of its most prominent figures the past few years have moved on.

Jim Miranda, who coached Eastmoor to six consecutive Division II district titles before his team lost to Jonathan Alder 58-42 in a district final last season to finish 18-4, is now the school's boys basketball coach.

Africentric, meanwhile, no longer has 2011 graduate Raven Ferguson, who started since her freshmen season, was the ThisWeek Super 12 captain last year and is now playing for Ohio State.

Senior Kiyanna Black (5-5) is the top returnee for Africentric after averaging 11 points last season. Also back are seniors Quanita Fair and Jazmine Brooks and sophomores Sierra Harley, Alexis Parks, Darianne Seward and Ayrielle Stith.

Seniors Jarel Francis and Jaren Francis, who are 5-10 twins and played for Division IV state champion Harvest Prep last season, also are expected to be key players for the Nubians.

While Black was third-team all-district in Division III last season and has signed with Ohio University, Jaren Francis averaged 13 points and was first-team all-district.

Africentric beat Northland 60-52 to win the City championship and defeated Columbus School for Girls 74-45 to win its seventh consecutive district title. The Nubians lost to Fort Recovery 56-50 in a regional final to finish 22-2.

Africentric opened Nov. 25 with an 82-65 loss to Olentangy Orange, which was a Division I district runner-up last season.

"It'll be an interesting season," said coach Will McKinney, who is in his ninth season leading the Nubians. "Once you get to the regional and to the state semis, the talent becomes irrelevant."

Eastmoor has a new coach in Tia Jameson but returns one of central Ohio's top Division II talents in junior Tajanee Wells (5-10). She averaged 17.5 points and made Super 12 honorable mention last season as well as first-team all-district.

Also back are seniors Nicole Gardner and Jessica Moran and juniors Jhane Gaines and Nautica Smith. Freshmen Anee' Braswell and Imani Hill also are expected to be key contributors.

"With all due respect, I like the foundation I came from at Africentric, but I'm an alumna of Eastmoor and I'd love to see us overtake them," said Jameson, a 2001 Eastmoor graduate who previously served as an assistant at Africentric.

•DEVILS LOSE IN STATE SEMI - For the second time in three seasons, the Marion-Franklin football team had its season end in a Division II state semifinal.

On Nov. 25 at Clayton Northmont, the Red Devils couldn't rally from a 24-point halftime deficit and lost to Trotwood-Madison 47-44 to finish 13-1.

It was the final prep game for defensive lineman Terrell Jackson, who made first-team all-district and ThisWeek Super 25, and wide receiver Joe Alverson, who finished with 22 touchdowns.

Quarterback Corry Benson, who was the Division II district Player of the Year and also made Super 25, passed for 2,727 yards with 32 touchdowns and rushed for 785 yards and 16 scores.