By Gary R. Rasberry
WAPAKONETA —For the third time in four seasons, Marion Local and Minster will duke it out for a berth in the regional semifinals as both teams won their district semifinal games at the Division IV district at Wapakoneta on Tuesday night.
Both teams won handily over their opponents on the evening as Minster used a 29-10 third quarter to put away Allen East 80-53 in the first game of the evening. Marion Local had a big lead almost slip away before getting the scoring back late in the game to take a 74-53 win over the Ada Bulldogs.
That sets up a battle for a spot at the Oxford regional next week on Friday at 7 p.m. between the 15-7 Wildcats and 14-9 Flyers. In two previous district meetings in 2001 and 2002, the teams split.Minster 80, Allen East 53
All it took was a halftime talk from Mike Lee.
The Wildcats were putting up the points in the first half against the Mustangs, but almost half of the 38 points came from the hot shooting hand of Dane Sommer, who scored 16.
In the third quarter, Sommer was held scoreless as he took just three shots but the rest of the team stepped up as several different players, both starters and subs, picked up the scoring.
Tim Cordonnier had eight of his 12 points in the third period and Tony Kremer came off the bench for five of his nine points as the Wildcats went on a 19-0 run that saw the score go from 48-40 to 67-40 in a span of four minutes. The Wildcats were 12-of-16 from the field in the third quarter.
“It seemed like (it was) every substitute, every spot we rotated,” said Lee of the explosion. “I can remember little Boeke (5-6 freshman Zac Boeke) hit a three-pointer then I put (Jake) Luttmer in the game, they reversed the ball to him and he hit one. Those things happen, I’ve been on the other side when that happens. Minster will take those numbers any night. ... It’s a nice time of the year to be doing that.”
The third quarter slammed the door on what was a close game for the first 16 minutes. The Mustangs had strong shooting from Skyler Rayl, who had 12 points at the half, and Brandon Perrine (11) as Minster fouled its way in an effort to try and keep the game close. Allen East was 13-of-15 from the line in the half.
“You get on a roll like that, it just kind of snowballs,” said Lee after the game. “We had trouble (in the first half) controlling (Allen East). We gave up some easy points. We didn’t do a good job of matching up. That’s just a little uncodeacteristic of our team the last half of the season. Once we cleaned that mess and got on that roll, it got out of hand.”
“In the first half, we hit some seriously big shots,” said Allen East coach Randy Bollinger. “We’d be down 10 or 11 and hit a three and a two and it’s now six points. I was really proud of our kids. I don’t think anybody that heard the halftime score wasn’t shocked. I think everybody thought Minster would roll over us, well, they did a little bit, but we played some in the second half.”
Sommer finished with a game-high 18 points and Cordonnier added 12 with the post duo of Kremer and Josh Boeke each scoring nine and combining for 11 rebounds. Twelve of the 13 Wildcats that got into the game scored at least two points.
Minster dominated the boards by a 38-15 margin.
Rayl led the Mustangs (8-15) with 17 points while Perrine added 15.Marion Local 74, Ada 53
Even with the win to put the team in the district finals, Keith Westrick wasn’t happy with the team suffering a lull during the second half.
The Flyers were leading by as much as 21 points in the third quarter only to have the Bulldogs (7-16) come back and whittle it down to as close as 11 midway through the fourth quarter before coming back and putting the cushion back up to the 20-point mark.
“I think Ada came out and played very aggressive and did the things they needed to do,” said Westrick. “They played their hearts out. For whatever reason, there was definitely some lulls where we didn’t execute. We came out of playing a very nice game last Friday. ... Tonight for whatever reason, all of us weren’t there.”
The stats actually looked good for the Flyers, even with the lull. Marion improved its 50-percent halftime shooting percentage to finish at 54.7 percent (29-of-53). The Flyers had four players in double figures and outrebounded the Bulldogs, 34-23.
“We’ve been shooting the ball well,” said Westrick. “I think the big thing was in the third quarter, sometimes they think it’s going to be easy, so they stop waiting for the high-percentage shot. The shots that were falling in the first half weren’t falling in the third quarter. We had to take time to get the best shot and we didn’t always do that.”
Corey Luebke started hot and wrapped up hot. The senior was 10-of-16 from the floor to finish with a game-high 27 points.
“He’s been shooting well in practice,” said Westrick. “That usually carries over well. He was a great perimeter shooter last year and moved down in the paint more.”
Russell Moeller had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds while Ryan Winner picked up 16 points with Curtis Moeller scoring 10.
Kyle Grimslid led Ada with 19 points. Cody Staley added 14.
Marion ticket info: Tickets for Friday’s district final game with Minster at Wapakoneta will be on sale tonight from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the high school office. Tickets will also be sold on Thursday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the middle school and from 12:45 to 2 p.m. in the athletic office. No tickets will be sold after 2 p.m.
Tickets for the game are $5 for adults and $4 for students.