to carry Fort Loramie, Miami East opener


For outstanding mentors of high school basketball, the intrinsic rewards attained from the act of coaching to promote such aspects of the game as shared ownership, internal leadership, team building and player development are among the primary benefits of the job.

Such rewards, earned in the gym, practice after practice, outweigh piling up fabulous won-loss records and hanging banners for multiple state championship titles.

Yes. They do! And they do so…

Even if the program has won 98 of its last 103 games and has claimed AP Poll championships the last three years.

Even if the program has earned three state titles in the last eight years the Ohio High School Athletic Association has completed state tourneys.

Even if the program has now amassed, in its history, 900 triumphs, second most by a girls program in the state.

Even if the head coach has won more than 80 percent of her games in 22 years at the same school.

Just ask Fort Loramie head coach Carla Siegel about the joy and passion for “teaching the game” virtually every day.

These monumental marks of achievement recorded by Fort Loramie girls basketball are a “by-product” of the teaching and learning success within the school’s hoops program, which opens up another season on Friday night in a home contest versus Miami East. will cover tonight’s game and WMVR, 105.5 TAM FM, will simulcast the coverage. Air time is approximately 7 p.m.

For sure, outstanding veteran coaches love the game, respect the game, and enjoy executing the skills of coaching one season after another. They work hard at their craft, creating strategy and the X’s and O’s, establishing players’ roles, and maximizing the use of players’ strengths.

A master at this teaching process, Siegel is looking forward to even greater work this year as she and her club prepare for the new November-to- March campaign without 25 points-per-game from spring graduates Kenzie Hoelscher, a second team all-Ohio member, and Dana Rose, who was a state honorable mention performer. The two six footers combined for 59 points at the state tournament in March.

The dynamite duo of Rose and Hoelscher also helped lead the unbeaten Redskins to the final four in March 2020, when the health crisis halted play.

The three other 2021 state championship team starters also graduated last spring. Guards Corynn Heitkamp and Caitlyn Gasson combined for 28 points at the final four. Heitkamp buried four 3-pointers. Jadyn Puthoff, whose clutch double-digit scoring performance lifted the Redskins past Minster in the regional semi-final, must also be replaced. In addition, 2021 grads included Clara Gephart and Paige Eilerman, key role players off the bench.

This year’s seniors with significant varsity experience include Ava Sholtis, Colleen Brandewie, Riley Heitkamp and Cara Meyer. Seniors Audrey Baker and Alyson Schmitmeyer are also members of the 2021-2022 roster for Fort Loramie girls basketball.

Underclassmen are Ava Turner and Olivia Mescher, both juniors; Skylar Albers and Jaden Rose, both sophomores; and Victoria Mescher and Avery Brandewie, two freshmen.

The massive margins of victory in the Redskins’ last two basketball triumphs were 42 and 34 points in the Division IV state semifinal and state final last March. The Redskins hit 53 percent of their shots on offense and were extremely sharp both inside and out. Defensively, they stifled their opponents, forcing 49 turnovers and holding them to five points or less in four of the eight quarters at the state tourney.

Posting an incredible record of 55-1, the Fort Loramie teams the last two seasons were remarkable, extraordinary, and downright dominating. For certain, they were highly unique and one-of-a-kind.

Time now to turn the page to 2021-2022.

The special excitement to renew the hard work and to experience the joy of teaching, learning and executing, embraced by Fort Loramie coaches and players, has been demonstrated for several weeks now.

Recent scrimmages included playing and coaching time versus an array of schools such as Arcanum, Coldwater, Spencerville, Ottoville, Wapakoneta, Convoy Crestview and Lima Shawnee.

Regular season games that count include Russia on Tuesday, a dozen home and away contests in the Shelby County Athletic League, numerous Midwest Athletic Conference schools such as Minster and Versailles, and tough tests at home against Lima Bath and on the road versus Ottawa Glandorf and Findlay Liberty-Benton.

Miami East, a Fort Loramie opponent 12 of the last 13 years, takes on the Redskins this evening in game number one. The Vikings last beat the Redskins in 2011-12 and 2012-13. They came close three years ago, dropping an overtime thriller to Fort Loramie which drained seven points in the final 17 seconds to tie.

The Vikings, led by veteran head coach Bruce Vanover, feature four talented seniors plus two six-foot sophomores. Miami East scrimmaged at Olentangy Berlin near Columbus on Wednesday night.

East’s junior varsity nipped Fort Loramie last November, halting a 54-game win streak for Redskins JV coach Phil Barhorst. His record over 12 years at the helm of the Fort Loramie JV’s is 231-19.

By the way, this special passion for learning the game of Fort Loramie basketball is instilled in the girls many years before Siegel, Barhorst, and their staffs begin teaching them. A program for first and second graders has been in place for at least a dozen years now.
Defending state champs tip off at 7:30 on Friday

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