Wildcats Head Back To Columbus

The Minster Wildcats girls basketball team pose for a picture after winning Saturday's Division IV regional championship against Fort Loramie.
Sports Editor

Last year’s Division IV regional championship between Fort Loramie and Minster hinged on a 13-0 third-quarter run by the Wildcats that propelled them past two regional final heartbreaks and its first state appearance in nearly a decade.

Saturday’s rematch hinged on another Wildcats’ third-quarter advantage to not right their Jan. 12 overtime defeat, but also send them back to state with a 49-23 regional championship victory at Butler High School’s Student Activity Center.

The Wildcats (26-1) will take on Cornerstone Christian in a Division IV state semifinal at 1 p.m. Friday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. Top-ranked Fort Loramie’s season ends at 25-2.

“I am all about the effort that we give to the sport of basketball,” Minster coach Mike Wiss said. “We told them from day one that we wanted an hour and a half of work every time we step on the floor. Today is our 104th day together, that’s 104 days of hard work, that’s 104 days of trust, of belief and 104 days of fun. This group right here thoroughly enjoys what they

do and what they do together.”

The Wildcats led by two at the half of last year’s regional championship and had the lead the entire time in Saturday's contest. But Shelby County Athletic League Player of the Year Marissa Meiring cut into Minster’s six-point lead early in the second half with seven straight points — the latter of those being a bucket and foul to give the Redskins their only lead of the game, 23-22, with 5:13 left in the third quarter.

“These games are all about momentum swings,” Wiss said. “They get a run to get that lead. They took that lead and I could see it in Demaris Wolf’s face and Ivy Wolf when she brought the ball down the floor.

That was the pissed off look of Ivy like, ‘this is going to end.’ That 10-0 run was huge.”

And just like last year when the Wildcats ran off 13 consecutive points against Loramie, they tallied 10 straight on Saturday to help them pull away.

Prenger got the run started with a drive-in layup, but 3-pointers from Ivy Wolf and Karly Richard off the bench set the tone for the remainder of the game as Richard’s layup at the other end following a Loramie turnover completed Minster’s 10-0 advantage to give it a 32-23 lead after three quarters.

“Danielle Barhorst had a huge 3 in the first half, Karly Richard had a big three and then she went back door for a layup — your bench has to give you big minutes,” Wiss said. “I am just a guy trying to lead them in the right direction.”

But to finish the game off, Wiss and company went to Prenger.

The Xavier University commit opened Saturdays game with two quick layups to give Minster an early 4-0 lead as part of an 11-2 advantage in the opening quarter, and Minster fed the senior post to push a once seven-point lead to 11 points with 3:43 remaining in the game.

Prenger led all scorers with 18 points, 12 of them coming in the first and fourth quarters.

“Courtney Prenger, what an outside day,” the coach said. “We got her the ball where she needed it. She caught the ball up high, you saw her kick it out and she got the ball back in pretty quick and the double teams weren’t coming as quick as what they may have.

“I told Courtney this week, ‘we need a big one out of you,’ and Courtney delivered.”

The Redskins made their second straight regional championship appearance on Saturday as the top-ranked team in Division IV after beating Minster 56-48 in double overtime on a snowy Jan. 12 day.

The Redskins, who have no seniors on this year’s team, will return everyone next season in what could be a regional final rematch next year as well.

“I’m sure experience was a part of this, I’m sure experience was a part of this for Loramie too because they have been here and they have played with a chip on their shoulder,” Wiss said. “I think the best thing to happen to us this year for this game was losing at their place.

“The best thing that happened was that we took an L from them in the manner that we did, to lose the way we did — up six with three minutes to go, shooting 11-of-27 at the foul line, they really wanted to make up for that and get this game.

“All gone. With this group right here, they responded.”