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2015 OHSAA
Girls Basketball
State Tournament Preview

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2015 OHSAA Girls Basketball State Tournament Preview

 

Forty years ago, the OHSAA crowned its first girls basketball state champions. Much has changed since then, but not the thrilling games and great moments that come with every basketball state tournament. The 40th edition of the March classic, which brings the top 16 girls basketball teams from around Ohio to Value City Arena inside the Jerome Schottenstein Center, is sure to do just that once again.

 

The Division IV “final four” features contrasting sides of the bracket. The state tournament lid-lifter Thursday features two teams making their first trip to the state tournament in Fostoria St. Wendelin (24-4) against sixth-ranked Waterford (26-1). St. Wendelin is the smallest school in this year’s state tournament field, with an OHSAA female enrollment of 52, while Waterford has won nine of the last 10 district titles and set the school record for wins this season. The winner of that first semifinal will face a perennial power in either top-ranked Berlin Hiland (27-1) or No. 10 Fort Loramie (24-4), who meet in the second semifinal. Hiland, led by 24th-year head coach Dave Schlabach (533-83), is making its 14th trip to state and owns four state titles (most recently in 2008), while Fort Loramie is making its ninth trip and owns one title (2013). Fort Loramie, which has won eight straight district titles and 22 overall, defeated Hiland for its lone state title. Hiland won its 20th-straight league title this season.

 

In the Division III semifinals Thursday evening, Versailles (24-4) makes its seventh state tournament appearance against No. 1-ranked Doylestown Chippewa (28-0), which is undefeated and back in the state tournament for the first time since finishing as state runner-up in 1994. The Lady Chipps are led by 27th year head coach Denny Schrock, who is 544-101 overall and has had three undefeated regular-seasons. Then eighth-ranked Ottawa-Glandorf (25-2), which set a school record for wins this season, makes its state tournament debut against Proctorville Fairland (22-5), which made its state debut last year and fell to Versailles in the semifinals. Fairland, with five senior starters, is back and set the school-record for three-pointers made in a season.

 

On Friday, the Division II semifinals begin at 1 p.m. with a rematch of last year’s Division II state championship game when top-ranked and undefeated Kettering Archbishop Alter (28-0) and eighth-ranked Millersburg West Holmes (24-3) face off. West Holmes took home the gold trophy last year, topping Alter 62-45. Led by co-head coaches Chris Hart and Kendal Peck (375-135 in 21 years), Alter has been to the state tournament now six times (state title in 2008), while West Holmes is back for the ninth time, with state championships coming in 1984, 1985 and 1986 in addition to their crown last year. Then 10th-ranked Toledo Rogers (23-5), with no seniors in its starting five, makes its second-straight semifinal appearance, taking on a fifth-ranked Beloit West Branch (27-1) team that is back in the state tournament for the first time since winning it all in 2004 and has notched 21 winning seasons in a row.

 

The Division I semifinals Friday night begin when Solon (24-3) faces seventh-ranked Toledo Notre Dame Academy (26-2) at 6 p.m. It marks Solon’s second appearance (runner-up in 2006, has won four straight district titles), and the fourth in a row for Notre Dame Academy. The semifinals conclude when ninth-ranked West Chester Lakota West (26-2), which averages nearly 67 points per game (most among 2015 state tournament teams), takes on third-ranked Newark (27-1). Led by Andy Fishman, who is the only coach the school has had since opening 1997, Lakota West made back-to-back state tournament appearances in 2008 and 2009 (runner-up in 2008), while Newark is on the state stage for the first time and set the school wins record this season.

 

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