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Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Brackman a national champion

By Gary R. Rasberry
When asked what was more exciting: winning a state title or a national title, Karen Brackman said there was no comparison.
The Minster graduate was part of Northern Kentucky's run to the NCAA Division II National Women's Basketball Championship, won on Saturday as the Norse beat South Dakota 63-58 in Kearny, Nebraska. It's the second national title for the perennial Division II power.
"It was unbelievable, the feeling after the buzzer went off and we won," said Brackman on Wednesday. "It actually brought back a lot of feelings when I won a state title in high school. It was like a once in a lifetime experience. It's neat to be a part of it.
"The feeling (between winning a state title and a national title) a little the same, but a national title is obviously a lot bigger prize. It's on ESPN. ... The feeling overall was the same."
The season started out a little rough for coach Nacy Winstel's team as the team lost eight games, including falling in the Great Lakes Valley Conference title game and earning an at-large bid to the tournament. Wins over Indianapolis and Drury - the team that beat them in the GLVC title game -moved the Norse into the regional title contest against Missouri S&T. NKU beat M S&T 60-52 to advance to its first Elite Eight since 2003. In the final eight, Wingate and Alaska-Anchorage fell to the Norse to set up the title game.
Brackman played all 36 games for the Norse this season, starting 13 and averaging 19.5 minutes per game. Brackman finishes her junior season averaging 5.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
"Our team started out kind of shaky. We had some rough spots in losing eight games through the season," said Brackman. "We started out being ranked in the top 25, top 10 and we weren't ranked anymore. We were just the underdogs through the whole tournament. We showed how an unranked team can win it all."
The calls of congratulations came in quickly for Brackman.
"We got back at noon on Sunday and they had a bunch of people in the gym welcoming us back," said Brackman. "This week, going to class, people were so excited for us. My classmates, my professors, everyone. The whole campus watched and it was awesome how they were all behind us."
"Nann (Minster girls basketball coach Nann Stechschulte) called. Some other high school coaches called. Bunch of people from Minster watched it and were all rooting for NKU. That was kind of cool, my whole hometown was behind me."
Haines earns All-America status
Ohio Dominican senior Krissy Haines (St. Marys) earned second-team NAIA Division II All-American status in helping the Panthers advance to the NAIA Tournament for the first time in four years. It's the second straight second-team honor for the senior.
Haines was the American Mideast Conference South Division Player of the year this season and helped ODU beat Notre Dame (Ohio) 81-73 in the AMC title game to advance to the postseason.
Haines led the Panthers in scoring with 15.7 points per game and in rebounding at 6.7 per game. Haines graduates as the second-all-time leading scorer and the record holder for career free throws made with 496.
Moeller wraps up sophomore season
Ohio State sophomore Maria Moeller (Marion Local) played 20 minutes as the Buckeyes lost 60-49 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa on March 22.
Moeller, after starting every game her freshman season, became a spark off the bench for Jim Foster's 22-9 team. Moeller averaged 17.4 minutes per game in appearing in all 31 games, averaging 3.6 points and 1.5 assists per game.
Hoying earns trip to tournament
Cleveland State senior Robyn Hoying (Minster) completed her career by helping the Vikings to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. The Vikings won the Horizon League Tournament and was the 15th seed traveling to Stanford. The Cardinal beat the Vikings 85-47 to end CSU's season at 19-14.
Hoying, a center for CSU, scored 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the contest against Stanford. On the season, Hoying started 32 of the 33 games she played in, averaging 6.5 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Brand makes history for Polar Bears
Ohio Northern University senior post player Erin Brand (Marion Local) became the first two-time first-team All-Ohio Athletic Conference player for the 19-7 Polar Bears.      Brand led the Polar Bears in scoring at 14.3 points per game and pulled down a team-high 5.1 rebounds per game.
Locals dot All-OCCAC list
Local players earned spots on the Ohio Community College Athletic Association All-Conference team this season.
Gail Hartings (St. Henry) earned first-team honors in averaging 12.8 points and 9.4 rebounds for Edison this season. Teammate and fellow former Redskin Brenda Hemmelgarn was tabbed honorable mention after averaging 9.1 points, 5.0 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.
St. Marys grad Kerri Imwalle earned second-team honors for Columbus State after averaging 11.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
Osterfeld helps Raiders to NAIA Tourney
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) advanced to the NAIA Division I Tournament, losing in the second round to Lewis-Clark (Idaho) 73-61 to finish the season at 22-12.
Senior forward Kara Osterfeld (Celina) was a big key for the Blue Raiders this season, averaging 7.2 points and 5.5 rebounds in starting 32 of 33 games.
Osterfeld received Academic All-Mid-South Conference honors this season.
Fannon earned AMC honors
Urbana senior Haley Fannon (St. Marys) earned third team All-AMC South.
Fannon was second on the Blue Knights with 11.0 points per game and was second in the AMC in three-point percentage with 44.2 percent (46-of-104).
Stein, Stucke shine for Jackets
Defiance freshmen Holly Stein and Tasha Stucke were key contributors to the 10-14 Yellow Jackets this season.
Stein, a Fort Recovery graduate, was third on the team in scoring at 10.2 points per game and added six rebounds per game, good for second on the team.
Stucke, the Coldwater graduate who is also playing softball for the Yellow Jackets, did a little bit of everything, averaging 6.8 points, pulled down 3.7 rebounds, dished out a team-high 3.8 assists and recorded 1.8 steals per game.
Gruber solid for Blue Streaks
John Carroll sophomore Laura Gruber (Minster) had a solid season for the 15-11 Blue Streaks, playing in all 26 games off the bench.
Gruber averaged 13.8 minutes per contest, scoring 5.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game for JCU.
Robbins finishes first season at UF
Findlay freshman Kendra Robbins (Coldwater) had an up-and-down season for the Oilers, who went 9-17 on the season.
Robbins appeared in 22 games, starting two, averaging 4.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Blackman solid in first year with Racers
The University of Northwestern Ohio had an up-and-down season in its first year of its revived program, going 7-21.
Freshman guard Jenna Blackburn (Minster) played in all 28 games and started 16, averaging 4.1 points per game.
Schwartz sees time for Crusaders
Capital freshman Christine Schwartz (New Bremen) appeared in 19 games for the Crusaders, who went 17-10 this season.
Averaging just over six minutes per game, Schwartz averaged 1.2 points per game.
Additional online story on this date
The Mercer County-Celina City Health Department could become the 14th health department out of 131 across the state of Ohio to quit enforcement of the no smoking ban if fiscal options aren't found. [More]
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