Friday, March 12th, 2010
By Gary R. Rasberry
Wildcats just one win from state
Division IV Girls Regional at Elida
ELIDA - Minster used stifling defensive pressure and timely shooting to advance to the Division IV Elida regional final on Saturday after knocking off Pandora-Gilboa, 46-35, in the nightcap of Thursday's semifinals at the Elida Fieldhouse.
The Wildcats (17-7), winners of 11 straight contests, will face Riverdale (19-4) on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. for a berth in the state semifinals next week in Columbus. The Falcons defeated Pettisville 43-39 in the opening semifinal on Thursday at Elida.
"I think we just said 'Take it at them offensively. Take it at them defensively and attack, attack, attack,' " said Minster coach Nann Stechschulte.
Things looked dicey for the Wildcats at the beginning as junior Erica Fullenkamp went down in the opening seconds of the game with an ankle injury. Fullenkamp would try and come out in the third quarter, but twisted her ankle again trying to make a quick turn.
"My heart stopped," said Stechschulte about Fullenkamp going down. "I thought it was her knee. I've been through enough knee problems. She's going to play volleyball at Bowling Green. Five minutes later I found out it was her ankle. We can deal with ankles."
Minster adapted, with big help from Delanie Wolf and Tara Clune, who combined for 18 of the 20 first-half points. P-G countered with some solid shooting from Stephanie Recker and Taylor Hermiller, allowing the Rockets (21-3) to play fairly even with the Wildcats in the first half while trailing 20-16 at the half.
The Wildcats' defensive pressure paid off quickly, forcing 14 turnovers in the contest and holding the Rockets to 26.7 percent (12-of-45) shooting from the field.
"There's only one way we play, and that's intensity," said Stechschulte of the defense. "That's what we say every time before we come out. The defense can never leave us."
Samantha Schmenk hit a three-pointer to start the third quarter to get P-G to within one point, but that would be as close as the Rockets would get to the Wildcats.
Minster's Kayla Wuebker fired a three-pointer that appeared to be stuck for a second before falling into the basket, and after a Rocket miss, Clune got back-to-back stickbacks to push the Wildcats' lead to 27-19. Wolf then scored to make it a 10-point game and the Rockets chose to call a timeout to try and halt the Minster momentum.
The plan did not work as the Rockets turned the ball over and Wolf got a stickback of her down to make it 31-19.
"We didn't come to play a little bit tonight," said Rockets coach Ken Brooks. "Our kids gave the effort, but they did the little things that killed us. We didn't box out. Think about their run in the third quarter. Six points came off the offensive glass. We can't let things like that happen."
From there, Minster was in full control, maintaining at least a nine-point lead for the remainder of the game.
"Delanie stepped it up. Tara stepped it up. Our guards didn't score a whole lot, but I know Sarah (Hueslman) hit a big three and they controlled the tempo of the game," said Stechschulte. "I think that was the difference."
"Minster's a damn good basketball team," said Brooks. "I can't take anything away from them. We're in the regional and they played extremely well.
"I thought we prepared really well for the game. I thought we had a good game plan. Just got behind there right at the beginning of the third quarter. I was going to call timeout when we scored, but (Minster) comes down and got two quick baskets before I could get the timeout," added Brooks.
Wolf finished with 18 points while Clune had 12 points and seven rebounds and five blocked shots. The Wildcats shot nearly 49 percent (17-of-35) from the field in the game.
Hermiller led the Rockets with 13 points.
Tickets: Minster will sell tickets for Saturday night's game on Saturday morning from 10-11 a.m. in the high school office. All tickets are $6 presale and $8 at the gate. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets early as the school receives a percentage of the presale.
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