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02-20-04: Minster wins MAC outright


ROCKFORD — In the span of 43 seconds, Kristen Shenk turned a close ball game into a blowout.
The Minster senior scored seven points in that time frame at the beginning of the third period to turn a five-point lead into a 12-point advantage, allowing the Wildcats to take the Midwest Athletic Conference title outright with a 69-38 win over Parkway at Panther Gymnasium.
After cinching its third straight title last week, Minster made it unshakable in finishing the regular season 9-0 in the MAC and a stellar 18-2 overall. Parkway ends its regular season at 4-15 and 2-7 in the MAC.
For the first sixteen minutes of the game, the Panthers looked primed to at least give Minster’s nerves a go for the entire 32 minutes. Parkway forced several Minster turnovers and outrebounded the Wildcats in the opening half to trail the state’s sixth-ranked team in Division IV by just a 29-24 margin.
“We really weren’t clicking,” said Minster coach Nann Stechsculte, who won her sixth MAC title as Minster coach, the 12th in school history. “We were outrebounded. That’s what we mainly talked about (at halftime).”
Stechschulte had a feeling that Parkway, with no title chances before entering tournament, could be up for knocking off the Wildcats.
“Sometimes those are the most dangerous teams,” said Stechschulte. “They were playing a lot more loose. I can’t say our team was playing tight, I just don’t think we were focused like we should be. I think we stepped it up in the second half.”
At the start of the third quarter, Shenk got the ball at the top of the arc and fired away, getting fouled as the ball went up. The shot was good and the free throw made it a nine-point game. After a Parkway turnover, Shenk went to the corner and swished another trey, causing Parkway coach Jeff Marbaugh to call a timeout.
“It was nice for her to step up when she did,” said Stechsculte of Shenk. “She opened it up and drew the defense out, opening the inside.”
Things kept rolling for Minster. Karen Brackman got a steal and laid it in to break the Shenk streak. Shenk got it rolling again with a two-pointer before Parkway finally scored with 5:47 left in the quarter. Shenk added another trey following the Panther score to make it 12 of the first 14 points for the Wildcats in the period.
“We talked about that (at halftime),” said Marbaugh. “In (a few) games we came out and played really well in the first half and didn’t match that intensity in the second half. Give Minster credit, they didn’t miss too many shots in that third quarter.”
From there the game was solidly in Minster’s hands as Parkway was unable to put a run together. Minster sub Amy Kremer scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter, mainly on layups.
Shenk finished with a game-high 17 points while Robyn Hoying added 14, with 10 of those coming in th first half.
Emily Snyder finished her final home game for Parkway with 12 points.
Minster now has eight days off before playing its first Division IV sectional game on Feb. 28 at New Bremen against the winner of the New Knoxville-Spencerville game. Parkway returns to action on Tuesday at the Division III sectional in Van Wert against Coldwater.
In the junior varsity game, Mike Wiss’ Minster squad completed a 19-1 season with a 45-35 win over the Panthers.


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