ST. MARYS — The Midwest Athletic Conference swept Thursday’s Division IV district semifinal games at Memorial High School to set up yet another title tilt between backyard rivals.
Minster put on another stifling defensive performance in the nightcap in a 42-30 win over Ada, while Marion Local built a double-digit lead and then staved off Kaylee Patton and the Waynesfield-Goshen Tigers in the fourth quarter for a 61-51 win in the night’s opening contest.
It will be Wildcats vs. Flyers, Nann vs. Treva and MAC vs. MAC on Saturday night with a regional berth on the line.
“It’s going to be fun,” Minster head coach Nann Stechschulte said. “I’m just happy to be playing a district final. If it’s Marion, that’s great. It just makes it a little more interesting.”
Minster is a win away from its third regional berth in four seasons, but they’ll have to get through a Marion Local team that has won 10 of its last 11 games after starting the campaign 7-6.
Minster and Marion Local will meet in the postseason for the ninth time in the last 14 years. They’ve met six times in the district tournament, with Marion Local winning four of the six match-ups. Twice the winner of the game in the district tournament has won the state championship in that time period (Marion Local in 2003 and Minster in 2004).
In the first game, Waynesfield-Goshen’s Patton scored 37 points in her final game as a Tiger. Marion Local’s Chelsea Winner controlled the paint with 23 points.
MINSTER 42, ADA 30
Minster’s defense and Claire Fischer’s outside shooting kept the Wildcats ahead before the half-court offense emerged in the fourth quarter to put things away.
Fischer went 4-for-7 from 3-point range in the first half and scored 12 of Minster’s first 16 points as the Wildcats held an 11-6 advantage after one quarter. Both teams struggled offensively in the second quarter and went to the locker rooms with Minster leading 16-12.
“Thankfully Claire was hot early,” Stechschulte said. “We went through (gameplans) A and then B and then C and I was probably down to G and finally found something that worked.”
Minster finally created some breathing room in the third quarter on baskets from Bridget Geiger, Kayla Richard and a Fischer putback that put Minster up by five. Logan Arnold added a late bucket and Minster led 27-20 at the end of three quarters.
“We opened it up a little bit and we were able to get Bridget cutting to the hole,” Stechschulte said about the team’s offensive improvement in the second half. “It just opened things up.”
Geiger scored 12 points in the game — all of them coming in the second half.
Minster went 6-for-9 from the floor in the fourth quarter by pounding the ball into the post. Geiger made back-to-back baskets and Richard added another off a turnover to extend Minster’s lead to 35-22 with 4:43 left in the game.
Minster held Ada to 32 percent shooting, forced 16 Bulldog turnovers and held Ada’s top two scorers to a combined 17 points in the convincing district semifinal victory.
Taylor Willeke scored 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting, but second-leading scorer Tori Wyss had just four points.
“I’ll take that anytime,” Stechschulte said. “We did a good job defensively.”
Minster has given up 50 points in just one game this season — a 57-56 win over Lima Senior back in December.
MARION LOCAL 61, W-G 51
Marion Local had enough to hold off Patton and the Tigers’ late charge.
Patton, a Tiffin University signee, scored 37 points on 12-of-25 shooting from the floor and 10-of-13 shooting at the free throw line. She nearly brought the Tigers back from a deficit that was as large as 12 points in the fourth quarter. Patton’s free throw with 2:49 left cut the Flyer lead to 51-47.
“Every big game, she’s come to the table,” W-G head coach Ted Patton said. “She’s a player.”
Marion Local head coach Treva Fortkamp’s team survived back-to-back games against two of Ohio’s best players in Division IV in New Knoxville’s Haley Horstman and W-G’s Patton.
“Horstman and Patton, back to back. I’m stressed,” Fortkamp said, laughing. “We couldn’t stop her. We went to a zone, but she still penetrated into the lane. She’s just very athletic. She’ll make a fine player at Tiffin.”
Marion Local sophomore Cadence Jacobs drained a key corner 3-pointer with 2:05 left in the game to up the lead to seven points — even as Fortkamp was yelling not to take the shot as it went up.
“We said don’t shoot it and then it went in and we said, ‘Okay!’” Fortkamp said. “We really wanted to use the clock.”
Patton, who went 6-for-9 from the floor in the fourth quarter, hit two straight baskets between Flyer free throws to get the lead back down to 55-51 with 33 ticks left. But Marion Local’s Megan Keuther knocked down four straight free throws to seal the district semifinal win.
Chelsea Winner led Marion Local with 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting to go with six rebounds.
Jacobs added 14 points. Megan Keuther had 10 points.
Marion Local scored the game’s first six points and led 14-3 at one point before Waynesfield-Goshen found its footing. The Tigers went on an 11-0 run in the first quarter that tied the game at 14-14. Patton scored the first eight points in the run. Abbie VanHorn added a three-point play to tie the game with 1:35 left in the first quarter.
The game stayed within one possession for much of the second quarter before the Flyers ended the half on a 7-0 run. Jacobs scored on back-to-back possessions, Lexi Wilker got a third-chance putback and Jacobs hit a free throw to put the Flyers up 31-22 at the half.
“We got ourselves into a bit of a pinch at halftime,” Patton said. “We got ourselves back into the game. We just ran out of energy, I think. It was a hard battle and the kids fought as hard as they could, like they did every game.”
Marion Local led 41-34 after three quarters despite the Flyers going 4-for-17 from the floor in the period.
Marion Local protected the basketball, turning it over just four times.