Minster Advances To Regional Final

Minster's Courtney Prenger drives to the basket during Thursday's Division IV regional semifinal. The Wildcats advanced to the finals with a 41-24 victory against Russia.
Sports Editor

 In a game known more for its defense, it was a third-quarter run by the No. 5 ranked Minster Wildcats that helped advance them to a regional final.

Just like Saturday's district final victory against Upper Scioto Valley, when Minster blew the game open with an 11-2 run to start the second half, the Wildcats' third-quarter scoring paid dividends again.

Leading by six, 18-12 at the half, the Wildcats opened the second half scoring eight straight points and burying the Russia Raiders with a 10-2 run to take a 28-14 lead with 3:00 left in the third.

From there, the Raiders were never within closer than nine points as the Wildcats avenged last season's Division IV regional semifinal defeat with a 41-24 victory on Thursday.

Russia ends its season at 21-6.

The Wildcats (24-2) will play No. 13 ranked Jackson Center (20-4), who defeated No. 2 Tri-Village 42-29, in a regional final at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Butler High School.

Other than that third-quarter run by the Wildcats, there was not much offense in Thursday's semifinal against a pair of teams that came in allowing an average of 32 points per game.

The Wildcats limited the Raiders to one free throw in the opening stanza, as Russia finished with a dreadful 0-of-15 clip from the field. The Raiders' lone point came with :35.1 second remaining in the first.

Minster was not much better, nailing just two field goals in the first quarter.

The Raiders' deficit grew to seven, 8-1 with 6:31 remaining in the first half off a rare three-pointer by Courtney Prenger. But the Raiders scored six of the next nine points — led by Jenna Cordonnier — to draw within three 10-7 with 3:28 left. Cordonnier ended the first half scoring eight straight points, and pulled Russia within three points on three occasions before the end of the first half.

Russia was able to attack the paint in the first half with their penetrating drives to the hoop, but did not finish much with a 4-of-28 clip from the field. Still, the Raiders found a way to pull within three thanks to their defense.

However, with the score at 13-10 with 1:03 left, the Wildcats tallied five of the final seven points to lead 18-12 at the half.

Grab Friday's print edition of The Evening Leader to read the full story.