girls_basketball_150Due to the weather conditions belting the area last week, the pivotal meeting on the girls’ basketball floor featuring Marion Local at Minster was postponed until Tuesday evening, which at this point is also still up in the air.  Whenever this battle happens to unfold, be assured both teams are itching to get back to action.  The Wildcats managed to get a game in this past Saturday when they dismantled Celina 57-30, while the Flyers haven’t played since their 54-48 overtime victory over Wapakoneta in the title game of the Wapakoneta Holiday tournament on December 28.  Despite the layoff, the Flyers are currently sitting in the top spot of the recently-released Division IV state poll released by the Associated Press on Monday.  “I feel things have been going well,” commented Flyers head coach Treva Fortkamp on how her team has performed to this point in the season. “We have showed some grit and toughness in close games, especially against Wapakoneta and we know there will be many challenges coming up.”

The Flyers have been led offensively by Allie Thobe and Brooke Winner, who have averaged 13 and 18 points per game respectively at the mid-point of the season.  Despite the unbeaten record to this point, lofty state ranking, and being one of three teams still unblemished in MAC play, Fortkamp understands the Wildcats will pose a major hurdle, as they bring an 8-2 record to the table and are only one game behind in the MAC standings with a 2-1 slate.  “I am definitely concerned, especially since it is Minster and we haven’t played in over a week,” she explained.  “I was not allowed to practice on Monday and we play on Tuesday, we will see how the kids respond.  I expect Minster to be Minster – very fundamentally-sound while playing good defense. They are very well coached and we will have to play solid defense and get hands in the faces of their shooters in order to come away with the victory.”

On December 19, the Wildcats begin a suffocating portion of their schedule with a loss to seventh-ranked Versailles in Minster.  A couple of days later, they blasted defending Division IV state champion and third-ranked Fort Loramie by 14 before heading to the holiday tournament at Lima Bath the following week.  They opened the tournament with a loss to Wadsworth, the second-ranked team in Division I, before upending Lima Central Catholic in the consolation game.  Their win over Celina was their eighth of the season as they head into their battle with the top-ranked, 11-0 Flyers.  The Wildcats don’t currently have anyone averaging in double-digits, which is uncharacteristic for their program, but they have eight girls hitting between four and eight points per game, while allowing only 40 each time out.  “Marion Local is always a tough game, whether in regular season or in tournament, so this should be a good ole MAC war,” Minster head coach Nann Stechschulte advised.  “We need to take care of the ball, shoot respectable, but most importantly we need to limit their shot attempts by rebounding well if we want to have a shot at winning.”

by Robb Hemmelgarn