Friday, February 11th, 2011
Minster captures MAC title
By Mark Ruschau
NEW KNOXVILLE - The Minster Wildcats earned a share of their first Midwest Athletic Conference title in seven years as they went on the road and defeated the New Knoxville Rangers 32-26 on Thursday night at Ranger Gymnasium.
Minster, the state's third-ranked team in Division IV, is still perfect in the conference at 8-0 while improving to 17-1 overall. The Wildcats can win the MAC title outright with a win next Thursday at home against St. Henry or if Fort Recovery loses its final league contest to St. John's.
New Knoxville drops to 4-4 in the conference and 13-4 overall.
"I feel like I have been through a 15-round wrestling match and I am sure the girls feel the same way," said Minster coach Nann Stechschulte. "The type of game that we had did not surprise me. Coming in here to the Barn, it was a good tournament atmosphere and it makes it even more special because now we have at least a share of the league title, the first one since 2004.
"I knew it was not going to be easy to come in here and win, so it did not disappoint me in that respect," continued Stechschulte. "It seemed like we would get a lead and then we would do some dumb things and let them back in it. That is a scrappy team over there, they got a lot of loose balls and grabbed a lot of rebounds. I did not expect anything different from them, that is the type of team that they there are and we were fortunate to come out of here alive."
"I could not of asked for a greater effort out of the girls then I got tonight, especially defensively," said New Knoxville coach Tim Hegemier. "We just had a hard time scoring tonight, because Minster played just as tough of defense as we did."
The Wildcats' defensive effort was highlighted by a sterling stand in the waning minutes of the game that allowed them to hang on. Leading 25-20, midway through the final period, Minster saw its lead shrink to one as Tianna Heidt and Haley Horstman scored on consecutive trips down the floor with 3:44 left in the game.
The Rangers just couldn't get the final push they needed and went scoreless in the their next seven possessions, missing two shots and turning the ball over five times. The New Knoxville dry spell allowed Minster to pull away.
After a Minster timeout, New Knoxville forced a turnover but the Wildcats' defense came up huge by forcing the Rangers into back-to-back turnovers. Minster took advantage of the two Rangers' turnovers as two Maria Dahlinghaus free throws and a lay in by Kayla Wuebker pushed the Wildcats' lead to 29-24 with 1:53 left in the game.
Minster was able to close out the game with Dahlinghaus hitting three-of-four at the free-throw line down the stretch.
"We knew coming in that they were going to try to kill the clock because they have a limited number of players and they want to rest on offense," said Stechschulte. "I told the girls that they were going to make us play defense for a minute and a half at times. They are a very disciplined team and I am just glad to come out of here with a win."
"We did not take good care of the basketball when we needed to," said Hegemier. "We had a couple of chances to take the lead late in the game but we threw the ball away. We were trying to run the simple flex offense, get an open look, run the clock a little; it did not work though, and you have to give Minster credit, they have a good ball club. They know what to do and they did it."
Delanie Wolf led the way for Minster with a game-high 10 points and she also grabbed seven rebounds while Heidt led New Knoxville with eight points.
Minster returns to action on Saturday hosting state-ranked Anna while New Knoxville hits the road on Saturday traveling to Houston.
The Midwest Athletic Conference girls basketball standings.
Team MAC Overall
Minster 8-0 17-1
Fort Recovery 7-1 16-2
St. John's 6-1 14-3
New Knoxville 4-4 12-5
Marion Local 3-3 9-8
Coldwater 3-4 8-9
Versailles 4-5 9-10
St. Henry 3-5 6-12
New Bremen 0-7 5-12
Parkway 0-7 2-15