girls_basketball_150The tournament draw has been finalized and the league champion will be crowned this week as all that remains of the 2013-14 regular season are a few tune-up games before the post-season begins in two weeks.  This Thursday in Coldwater, the Coldwater Cavaliers will tangle with the Minster Wildcats in what should unfold into a pretty decent battle.  The Cavaliers currently sit 11-6 overall and at 5-2 in the MAC, and are two games behind the front-running Versailles Tigers.  The Wildcats, on the other hand, are 15-2 overall and a game behind the Tigers, still clinging to the hope of a loss by Versailles that will allow them to share the league trophy this season.  “We are still taking it one game at a time – we’re not good enough to overlook any opponent on our schedule!” Minster head coach Nann Stechschulte commented.  “Coldwater has a combination of solid guard play and size inside. They have become up-tempo and like to play end line to end line.  Any league game on the road is tough and we expect a great game Thursday.”

Coldwater head coach Nick Fisher has weathered a few ups and downs this season and is coming off of a disappointing week last week in which his girls fell to Versailles on Thursday and Van Wert on Saturday.  He is hoping a win over Minster will give his squad the jolt they need heading into their sectional-opener against Columbus Grove on February 19 in Elida.  “We are continuing to work on our execution – we need to execute better offensively and take advantage of every possession,” Fisher pointed out.  “We had too many missed opportunities against both Versailles and Van Wert. We discussed those and have been working on them for a few weeks now.  We executed a little better against a very good Van Wert team, which to me is promising.”

The Cavaliers have been led offensively and defensively in their past few games by Sarah Kanney, Joelle Hemmelgarn and Denise Schwieterman, but Fisher also pointed out a few others who have been stepping up their games.  “Lauren Leugers is really starting to come on as the season progresses, and both Bridget Dues and Erica Sudhoff had good weeks of practice recently. Brooke Welsch has also started practicing again after having surgery on her leg, so that too has been a plus. Like I said, we just need to keep working hard on defense and get better execution on offense overall.”

The Wildcats host Coldwater after just completing an unbeaten schedule in January with a deep lineup that doesn’t boast any girls averaging double-digits.  On Saturday, in her teams’ victory over the Russia Raiders, senior guard Claire Fischer unloaded a school-record six three-pointers, leading a Minster attack of nine long balls, which also shattered the all-time school record.  “We truly have no one averaging over 7.5 points per game, so there have been no standouts over the course of the season, although we did set those two new records on Saturday,” Stechschulte remarked.  “We need to continue focusing on defense, rebounding, shooting, and ball handling.  This far into the season we are still doing fundamental breakdown drills in practice just like we did since day one, and that is important to stay successful for the remainder of the season.”

Fisher understands Minster’s offensive diversity and tenacious defense will present plenty of challenges on Thursday night.  “Minster is always a tough game, and this year is no different – Nann does an outstanding job with her girls and by this point in the season they are always playing well,” he commented.  “I have been impressed with Kayla Richard and Claire Fischer at the guard spots, while Logan Arnold is also having a very solid this season. Hopefully we can execute and continue to play hard to finish out the season as well as get ready for the tournament.”

By Robb Hemmelgarn