Friday, February 20th, 2009
By Mark Ruschau
Cardinals take control early for first league title
New Bremen, St. John's share MAC girls hoops crown
  ROCKFORD - The New Bremen Cardinals went to Rockford on Thursday and defeated the Parkway Panthers 59-33 in Midwest Athletic Conference play to win the school's first girls basketball title, one which they will share with the Delphos St. John's Blue Jays.
New Bremen ends the regular season with a 16-game winning streak and a 19-1 overall record to go along with an 8-1 conference mark. Parkway falls to 6-14 on the season and 0-9 in the MAC.
"After we lost to Fort Recovery in our first league game, we thought we could still come back and win the league championship, but we never thought that we would run the table like we did," said New Bremen coach Dave McFeely. "Before the season started, I talked to you guys (media) and I told you that we could finish first or last in this league or any place in between because this league is so tough. After we lost that first league game, we approached each league game as a Super Thursday and that we had to come with our best effort and we did and I am very proud of this group."
The one last hurdle that stood in the Cardinals' way of winning the MAC crown was the Panthers, and McFeely had an inkling that his squad could be in for a struggle if they didn't start the game well.
The Cardinals responded by scoring on their first three possessions of the game, baskets by Taylor Jones and two baskets by Jaclyn Dabbelt, to take a 6-0 lead and they never trailed.
In the opening period, New Bremen hit on 9-of-11 shots from the floor and four-of-four from the free-throw line. Jones led the way offensively with eight points in the period.
On the other end of the floor, New Bremen throttled Parkway early allowing just 10 points in the first period and 16 points in the half. In the first half, Parkway hit 5-of-22 shots from the floor and turned the ball over 13 times in the first 16 minutes.
"We saw Parkway on Tuesday, when they beat Van Wert, they played a lot of kids and they definitely got our attention," said McFeely. "Coach Jazwiecki had them playing good fundamental basketball and they turned the corner over here and we knew that we had to come ready to play.
"Our goal tonight was to come out and play well on both ends of the floor and not let them get settled," continued McFeely. "We wanted to come out and make sure that we did not give them any confidence and we were able to do that."
"I think that one of the big struggles for us is that we got to get the girls to believe that they can play at this level and I think we have come a long way from the beginning of the season," said Jazwiecki. "Our defense has come a long way from the beginning of the season. When we started, all the girls knew how to play was a zone defense and now they are comfortable playing man defense as well."
For the game, New Bremen hit on 47 percent of its shots (21-of-44) and connected on 16-of-22 from the free-throw line.
Stacy Timmerman led a balanced scoring attack for New Bremen with a game-high 16 points while Jones added 12. In all, 10 of the 14 Cardinals that played scored at least one point. Also 11 of the 14 New Bremen players that played grabbed at least one rebound.
On the other end of the floor, Parkway hit on just 11-of-44 from the field and turned the ball over 27 times.
Tara Luth led the way for Parkway with 11 points.
New Bremen opens Division IV sectional play Wednesday night at Wapakoneta High School against Perry. Parkway opens Division III sectional play on Tuesday night at Van Wert High School against Spencerville.
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