By Gary R. Rasberry
COLDWATER — A rematch of the top two teams in the Midwest Athletic Conference during the regular season was set on Thursday as both Minster and Marion Local won their district semifinal games at the Division IV girls tourney at the Palace in Coldwater.
Minster used runs of 13-0 and 9-0 to defeat New Bremen 65-27 in the first game of the night and Marion Local had 11 different players score to rout Waynesfield Goshen 71-38 in the nightcap..
The Wildcats (20-2) and Flyers (17-5) will battle on Saturday at 7 p.m. for the chance to play at the Division IV regional at Vandalia-Butler High School next week.
The matchup of MAC teams should be action packed if the first meeting was any example. The teams played on Feb. 7 at Minster with the Wildcats pulling out a 51-47 win en route to a 9-0 MAC record.
“This is what basketball is all about,” said Flyers coach Treva Fortkamp about the district final matchup. “Two good teams, two neighboring teams, good competition and great athletes on both teams.”
Minster 65, New Bremen 27
The Wildcat defense stifled the Cardinals for most of the game. If New Bremen didn’t lose the ball trying to get through Minster’s full-court pressure, the Wildcats made sure that any shot attempt was well contested. The end result was the Cardinals shooting a dismal 6-of-31 (19.4 percent) from the floor in the game while committing 28 turnovers.
“They took it to us right from the beginning,” said New Bremen coach John Storrer. “They do everything very well. “They’re very skilled offensively, they shot the ball extremely well (22-of-45 for 48.9 percent) and they play very good defense. You have to give them credit. They have great full-court pressure but they also play a nice half-court defense.”
“Defensively, I thought our energy was there,” said Minster coach Nann Stechschulte. “We did a nice job of just moving our feet and not letting them get into the flow offensively.”
After New Bremen scored the first two points of the game, Minster went on a 13-0 run to get the lead for good. New Bremen didn’t score a field goal until the final 38 seconds of the period.
Minster put things on ice with a 9-0 run to start the second quarter, en route to a 22-4 period that made it 35-10 in favor of the Wildcats at the half.
The Wildcats mixed things up in the scoring department. At the start, the guards looked for Robyn Hoying in the paint. The 6-1 senior either scored a field goal or went to the line for most of the first half, scoring 12 of her game-high 16 in the first 16 minutes of action in going to the line five times in the first half.
When New Bremen packed things in to clog the middle, the outside game of the Wildcats took over. Kristin Shenk was a perfect 3-of-3 from the three-point line for all nine of her points in the game.
“We talked about being hungry and getting to a fast start,” said Stechschulte. “We really haven’t played much in the last three weeks. They’re sick of practicing. They want to play games. I think we got the ball to the girls when they needed to. We got the ball into Robyn, then Kristen got loose a couple of times and knocked some down. I felt we really played as a team in terms of recognizing where people were in the offensive sets.”
The Minster bench got plenty of playing time in the game as five of the eight subs got at least one point in the game.
Jenny Homan and Sarah Schmiesing led the Cardinals (9-13) with 10 points each, combining for a 8-of-9 night from the foul line.
Marion Local 71, Waynesfield Goshen 38
The Flyers also had a night where the bench was cleared quite early. A 24-8 first quarter put the game on ice early as Fortkamp saw 11 of 14 players score.
“We talked about pushing it up the floor and getting into a transition game,” said Fortkamp. “I thought we did a good job of that.”
Balance was a key as Marion was without starting guard Rachel Thobe, who did not dress due to a sprained ankle suffered in Saturday’s win over Fort Recovery. The tandem of Kelli Stucke and Sarah Moeller rotated with Maria Moeller in the guard spot when the game was still close before delegating the duties to the subs. Stucke finished with eight points with Sarah Moeller added 10 points to be one of three Flyers in double figures. Fortkamp said Thobe will be back for Saturday’s game.
Fortkamp was happy that her bench came through with 29 points on the evening.
“Against Fort Recovery, the bench came through and it helped today,” said Fortkamp. “The thing I like is that I had great balance. I had how many players in double figures or eight or nine points (five). We had balance in the post and with the guard situation. That’s what we need. We’re going to keep stressing that one spot isn’t going to win it.”
Waynesfield (7-16) had trouble finding ways to get the ball to the basket. When the Flyers did not steal the ball — the Tigers committed 20 turnovers. The post defense of Jenna Barhorst, Kelsey Schaefer and Erin Brand limited sophomore center Sammy Sidener to just four points. It was only in the third quarter that the Tigers were able to get some open looks outside as Megan Sutherland hit four of her five three-points attempts on the way to a game-high 19 points.
Barhorst paced the Flyers with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting while Maria Moeller added 11 points.
Sarah Shephard scored 11 for the Tigers to join Sutherland in double figures, thanks in large part to a 9-of-14 night from the line.
Marion ticket information: Tickets for the district final will be on sale Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m. in the high school office. Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for students. All tickets at Coldwater will be $5.