Minster is coming off its second consecutive Division IV state championship. But to have another long tournament run to Columbus this year, the Wildcats will need to find new post players to step up.
The Wildcats return two starters from last year’s 28-1 campaign in junior guards Ivy Wolf and Janae Hoying but lose their inside presence in Courtney Pregner, who was a second team all-Ohio selection in D-IV. Prenger, who averaged 12 points and seven rebounds per game, is already seeing playing time at Xavier.
Minster has two big pieces back in Wolf and Hoying, who played big parts in the team’s title runs the last two years. Wolf, a 5-foot-9 guard, averaged 13 points, three assists and three steals per game last year and was named the Midwest Athletic Conference’s player of the year. Hoying, a 5-7 guard, averaged eight points per game.
Minster also lost six other players from last season’s squad to graduation, including three forwards. Averi Wolf and Lauren Mox, both 5-10 seniors, are the team’s returning post players. Averi Wolf averaged two points per game and Mox played sparingly.
Among newcomers that could help the squad in the paint are 5-10 juniors Dana Prenger, Kyra Oldiges, Brynn Oldiges and Mason Pohl and 5-10 sophomore Ella Mescher, who were a part of the program’s 16-6 junior varsity team last year.
Back this season is senior guard Mara Schmiesing, who was injured last year. Other newcomers include 5-7 junior guards Kate Larger and Jenna Heuker.
Aside from a tough MAC slate, the squad will prepare for the postseason with a slew of tough nonconference opponents. The Wildcats have already played rival and two-time Div. IV regional runner-up Fort Loramie and also have the likes of Lima Bath, Dayton Carroll, Anna, Ottoville and Russia left.
“We lost an outstanding group of young ladies from (last year) that really had a ‘basketball first’ mentality,” third-year coach Mike Wiss said. “They carried the leadership of our team. …Experiences gained from the tournament runs the last two years must prove important. Depth is huge to our style of play.”
New Bremen looks to continue improvement
New Bremen has become a tough opponent in MAC play in recent seasons and will look to keep up its recent success this year.
The Cardinals will have to do it with a mostly new group of players. Junior forward Madison Cordonnier is the team’s lone returning starter from last year’s 14-9 campaign, though four other players who saw playing time are returning.
“We are going to be young but very athletic,” eighth-year New Bremen coach Chris Burden said. “We play a brutal conference and nonconference schedule and look to get better each day.”
Cordonnier, who is 5-10, averaged 10.7 points and 4.6 rebounds last year. She’ll be joined by returnees in 5-8 sophomore guard Kaylee Freund, 5-10 junior forward Ellie Roetgerman, 5-10 senior guard Kira Bertke and 5-6 junior guard Katie Howell.
“Madison Cordonnier looks to be a leader on the floor,” Burden said. “Kaylee Freund is athletic and quick. Katie Howell will be solid at point guard. Ellie Roetgerman will be solid in the post. Kira Bertke will be a leader on the team.”
Key newcomers include 5-10 sophomore forward Chloe Bornhorst and 5-7 sophomore guard Aliyah Truman.
“Chloe Bornhorst runs the floor well and is physical on the inside,” Burden said. “Aliyah Truman will be a good shooting guard.”
Versailles looks for another long tourney run
Versailles wasn’t able to advance to a Div. III state semifinal for the fifth time in six years last season but still had a long tournament run. The Tigers finished 21-6 and won a district title before losing to eventual state runner-up Waynesville in a regional semifinal.
The Tigers are without six players and two starters from last season but return several key players. The team has two key returning starters in 6-2 senior forward Lindsey Winner and 5-5 senior forward Caitlin McEldowney, who both averaged slightly less than nine points per game last year and were all-Southwest district selections. Hannah Barga, a 5-7 senior guard, is also a returning starter.
“We have a group of role players that will be expected to step up into new positions,” first-year coach Tracy White said. “We look forward to continued success. We hope to utilize our athletes and let defense drive our offense. The girls work really well together and are fun to see together on the court.”
Other key returnees include 5-7 senior guard Danielle Kunk, 6-3 senior forward Brooke Stonebraker, junior guards Abby Stammen and Kate Griesdorn and junior forward Emma George. Senior forward Katelyn Marshal is a key newcomer.
White was an assistant on the squad last year and was previously the head coach at New Philadelphia. She succeeds longtime coach Jacki Stonebraker, who resigned when she took the principal position at the school last summer.