Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
By Randy Bruns
Marion Local and Minster advance
Division IV Sectional at Coldwater
COLDWATER - With six Midwest Athletic Conference teams, the Division IV girls basketball sectional at Coldwater seldom fails to disappoint those looking for competitive basketball.
This year was no exception.
The Minster Wildcats had to work overtime to defeat the underdog New Bremen Cardinals in the nightcap, but they dominated the extra session to advance with a 52-45 victory.
The opener didn't contain the same drama as the Marion Local Flyers bolted out to a big lead and held it the entire way for a 57-38 victory over the St. Henry Redskins.
Both winners advance to Saturday's sectional finals at The Palace. Marion Local (16-7) will face top-seeded New Knoxville (19-3) in the opener at 6:15 p.m. while Minster (15-7) takes on second-seeded Fort Recovery (14-8) at 8 p.m.
Marion Local 57, St. Henry 38
Marion Local 57, St. Henry 38
Both of these teams began tournament play on hot streaks, with the Flyers winning eight of their previous nine and the Redskins prevailing in six of seven down the stretch.
Only one could stay on a roll, however, and it was clear from the outset that Marion Local held the upper hand.
The Flyers sprinted out to a 12-0 advantage in the opening five minutes of the game and their lead never shrunk below eight points the rest of the way as they cruised past the Redskins.
"In the last few games that's the way we've come out of the gates," said Marion Local coach Treva Fortkamp. "It's key for us to get a quick lead and then hold on to it because sometimes we get a lead but then I get gray hair in a hurry. I was pleased with our defensive effort tonight."
The Flyers absolutely stifled the Redskins' offense in the first half. Though the Redskins committed just five turnovers in the first two quarters, they hit on just 3-of-17 (18 percent) from the field.
Meanwhile, the Flyers were 6-of-9 shooting in the first quarter to take a big lead and though things cooled quite a bit in the second (6-of-17), they pounded the offensive glass for second-chance opportunities.
"Obviously (Marion) was going to try to use their size to their advantage and that's exactly what they did," stated St. Henry coach Kurt Huelsman. "They really hit the boards hard, and one of our goals was to limit their offensive rebounds, but you've got to give them credit because they do a phenomenal job. That's one of the main reasons they're successful."
The Redskins were only down by eight points late in the second quarter, but a quick flurry by the Flyers brought their margin back to double digits.
Megan Kuether hit a jumper from the wing and followed with a three-pointer before Cadence Jacobs also dialed long distance for a trey within a span of 60 seconds to help push Marion Local on top by 16 points. The Flyers were never threatened the rest of the game.
Chelsea Winner and Brooke Winner both had big nights for the Flyers. Chelsea poured in a game-high 20 points while Brooke tallied 13 markers on a perfect 6-for-6 performance from the field. Kuether joined the Winners in double digits with 10 points.
Kelly Siefring and Taylor Clune ended their careers for the Redskins (10-13) by scoring 15 and 11 points, respectively.
The Flyers will now tangle with the Rangers, who topped them in double overtime in their regular-season matchup. Saturday night's meeting will be the third tournament contest in the past four years between the Flyers and Rangers, with the two squads splitting buzzer-beating wins in recent years.
"It seems like we used to play Minster all the time in tournament and now it's New Knoxville, so we just went to the different end of Auglaize County," said Fortkamp. "It will be a challenge and we're going to have to play extremely well."
Minster 52, New Bremen 45 (OT)
Minster 52, New Bremen 45 (OT)
This matchup of neighborhood rivals proved that when tournament play begins, the regular season doesn't mean a thing.
Just over a month ago the Wildcats traveled to New Bremen and put a 24-point pasting on the Cardinals, but the way things went on Tuesday night, that previous result may as well have taken place 10 years ago.
The Cardinals came in having won four of their last five games, and they showed they meant business right away on this night. The two teams punched and counter-punched throughout the first half, as the score was tied three times and the lead changed hands on eight different occasions.
The back-and-forth action continued into the second half and neither team could build a lead larger than three points. Minster held a two-point advantage for most of the fourth quarter before Kyla Otting connected a pair of free throws to tie the score and then dropped a jumper to give New Bremen a 40-38 advantage.
Haley Moeller later hit a jumper from the wing to give the Cardinals a three-point lead, but a bucket from Claire Fisher and two free throws by Bridget Geiger put the Wildcats back on top with less than a minute left.
Fischer later nailed two from the charity stripe to make the score 45-42 with 16 seconds remaining, but the Cardinals had one last chance. After working the ball around the perimeter, Otting took a pass and drained a three-pointer just before the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
Though the first four quarters were evenly matched, the Wildcats took control in the extra session. Geiger scored on a post move to open the scoring and Kayla Richard followed with a jumper that gave the Wildcats their largest lead to that point at 49-45. From there on it was all free throws for the Wildcats, who hit enough down the stretch to seal the win.
"I told the girls last week that this wasn't going to be an easy game," explained Minster coach Nann Stechschulte. "It's not like we took this team lightly. I've got a lot of young kids that were starstruck tonight, and I wanted to get that out of their system. We were like in quicksand or something, not moving our feet. It's like we tried to reinvent the game or something, but fortunately we woke up."
Despite the close loss, New Bremen coach Chris Burden could not have been happier with his team's performance.
"We gave everything we had and laid it on the line," said Burden. "I'm very proud of my girls because they hung in there and battled. We got beat by 24 points on our home floor earlier in the year so to come out the way we did was exciting to watch."
Logan Arnold led the Wildcats with 15 points while Richard and Fischer contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively.
New Bremen's Hannah Holdren led all scorers with 17 points while Otting chipped in with 12 for the Cardinals (11-12).
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