COLDWATER — It's a super sectional, even if it's not a super sectional by definition.
Northwest Ohio doesn't have the expanded version of the re-seeded first four rounds of the tournament, but the Division IV sectional at Coldwater lived up to the name as the top two seeded teams in the brackets went down on Saturday night.
"It can happy really easily in this sectional," New Knoxville head coach Tim Hegemier said.
Hegemier and his Rangers had plenty to celebrate.
New Knoxville's Paige Lehman completed a full-court relay with a wide-open lay-up with a second left to give New Knoxville a stunning, redemptive 49-48 win over top-seeded Marion Local.
Almost as stunning was Minster's scoring drought in the opening game, which reached 12 minutes of game time as Fort Recovery blitzed second-seeded Minster with a dominating second half in a 48-33 win.
New Knoxville won its second straight sectional title and will play in the Division IV sectional against Ada on Thursday, March 1 at 8 p.m. at St. Marys' Memorial High School.
NEW KNOXVILLE 49, MARION LOCAL 48
Lehman hit a wide open game-winning lay-up for New Knoxville to cap a 90-foot relay from inbounds to basket. The win and raucous celebration came after the Rangers appeared to lose the game by missing three straight front ends of one-and-ones in the final minute of the game.
But New Knoxville (19-3) got the game-winning basket by using the game's standout Haley Horstman as a decoy on the baseline-to-baseline winner.
"I knew Treva (Fortkamp) wasn't going to let Horstman get the ball," New Knoxville head coach Tim Hegemier said. "Two girls followed Horstman, Meg Reineke was open, the girl defending her jumped and we threw it down for a bunny shot and thank God she made the bunny shot."
Horstman, a sophomore point guard who broke Marion Local's pressure, drained big outside shots and camp up with steals, scored a game-high 23 points and dominated the game until its final minute.
"We did a good job in stopping Paige Lehman and Tiana Heidt, but Horstman just kicked our butt," Marion Local head coach Treva Fortkamp said.
Horstman went 9-of-13 from the floor and went 3-of-4 from beyond the three-point arc.
"I thought Haley played her best game of the year," Hegemier said. "She's capable of that. We're trying to get her to shoot more. She shoots about 60 percent from the field. Once she believes in it, she's going to be tough to stop."
Marion Local bows out of the tournament in its first game despite a perfect season in the MAC and 17 wins.
The Flyers went up 48-47 with six seconds left when Margaret Wuebker drew a foul and hit a pair of free throws.
New Knoxville appeared to throw away its chance to win the game when it missed the front end of three straight one-and-one's with a minute to go with the lead.
Chelsea Winner led Marion Local with 16 points.
FORT RECOVERY 48, MINSTER 33
Minster had a scoring drought of 12 minutes and watched its early lead dissipate into a nightmarish sectional final.
Minster shot 13-of-54 from the floor (24 percent) and went 12 minutes and six seconds between baskets after Kayla Wuebker began the third quarter with a three-pointer to put Minster up 23-21.
When the Wildcats next scored with 3:24 left in the fourth quarter, they trailed 38-26.
Longtime Minster head coach Nann Stechschulte can't remember any of her teams ever going so long without scoring a point, especially in a tournament game.
"Sometimes you just have to say it wasn't meant to be," Stechschulte said.
For Fort Recovery, it was a return to form after the Indians ended the regular season with three straight losses and it barely escaped its sectional semifinal against St. Henry by just one point.
"We haven't played this well in a while, but it's about putting it together at the right time," Fort Recovery head coach Doug Bihn said.
Minster scored the game's first eight points and appeared to be roaring towards a sectional title when Fort Recovery used a 2-3 zone for the first time in four seasons under Bihn.
"My seniors have never played a 2-3 zone," Bihn said. "We put it in this week and I don't think they really believed in it. The drops and backside wasn't what it was supposed to be, but when we made some adjustments in that 2-3 zone. Once they started believing in it was pretty effective."
Minster went cold, with both coaches disagreeing on just why.
Fort Recovery head coach Doug Bihn thought his zone defense did the trick.
Stechschulte thought it was simply about shots not going down.
"I don't (the 2-3 zone) was it," Stechschulte said. "We lived all season long by our shooting...This team can shoot 17 percent or it can shoot 42 percent from the floor. I said if we shoot 36 percent tonight I'd be happy, and I'm sure we weren't even close."
Minster bowed out at 14-7.
Olivia Schwieterman led Fort Recovery with 10 points.
Claire Fisher knocked down three 3-pointers to lead Minster with 9 points.
Fort Recovery will play USV on Thursday at 6:15 p.m. at Memorial High School.View more articles in: