Thursday, February 7th, 2019
Time for the hoops fun to begin
By Colin Foster
The 2018-2019 basketball regular season will soon be over.
Now it's time for the fun to begin.
This season had many highlights. Three players - Minster's Courtney Prenger, Marion Local's Nate Bruns and Fort Recovery's Payton Jutte - joined the 1,000-point club; St. Marys' Carter Ballweg broke the program's 3-point record with eight against Bath; the St. Henry boys extended their winning-seasons streak to 18 straight years; and in January, the top-two girls programs in Division IV - Fort Loramie and Minster - faced off, with the Redskins winning in double OT (we may see this matchup again).
Also noteworthy, the St. Henry girls (13-7) are having one of their best seasons in recent memory, securing their second straight winning season; the Parkway boys (8-8) have a chance to get their first winning season since 2008-2009; under first-year coach Cenzie Rushton, the Celina girls have won five games, most for the program in three years; the Coldwater boys have reeled off five wins in six games and look to be a threat on the Division III tournament trail; and recently, Josh "Voice of the 'Skins" Link made his ninth shot from behind the scorer's table all-time (that old-timer still got game).
Defending state champions Minster and Marion Local still got game, too.
The Wildcat girls (18-1) are on the cusp of winning a MAC title for a third time in four years. This is the 13th straight winning record for Minster and 19th in 20 years. Minster has won district titles in the last three seasons and is seeking a sixth trip to regional in 10 years.
As for the Flyer boys (11-5), they are doing what they do at this time of year: winning. Since starting 5-5, Marion Local has won six straight, and it's slightly reminiscent of the last two seasons. In 2016-2017, Marion won seven straight games before falling to Archbold in the Division III regional final. Last year, Marion won its final 13 games, including a two-overtime victory over Cornerstone Christian (AKA: the best game I have ever covered).
Can either Minster or Marion Local repeat? Teams from the MAC and surrounding leagues will stand in the way. Minster is the favorite in the Wapakoneta district. But it's hard to beat the same team twice. And should the Wildcats reach regional, a rematch with Loramie would likely await.
Marion Local will have some stiff competition at district. Third-ranked St. Henry has won six in a row and would like a chance to avenge last year's loss to Marion in the district final. Previously ranked Minster could also be a factor.
The Wapakoneta district is always competitive (and very well catered for media, too). I can't wait to see this all play out in a few weeks. It should be fun.