Girls basketball: Fort Loramie dominates Marion Local for state berth


VANDALIA — After a nail-biter against rival Russia on Thursday, Fort Loramie got back to form on Saturday against Marion Local.

And earned its first state berth in three years.

Fort Loramie scored 31 unanswered points to run away to a 44-22 victory over the Flyers in a Division IV regional final at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center. The Redskins advance to face Convoy Crestview in a state semifinal on Thursday at University of Dayton Arena.

Fort Loramie (26-2) lost by seven points in a regional semifinal two years ago and lost by two points in a regional final last year.

“We fell short a couple of years, but we worked really hard all season for this,” junior forward Avery Brandewie said. “This is our end goal, and now we just have to follow through.

“… It took a lot of hours, a lot of work, determination and discipline.”

Fort Loramie took a few minutes to get going. Marion Local scored two early baskets to build a 5-1 lead.

But then the Flyers (20-8) went over two quarters without scoring. Avae Unrast finally broke the squad’s scoreless streak with a basket with about 5:35 left in the third quarter.

Fort Loramie had scored 31 straight points to run away with it.

“The way the game started, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, here we go again.’ It reminded me of Thursday night when our shots weren’t falling and nothing was going our way,” Fort Loramie coach Carla Siegel said.

“Then wham-bam, it was an explosion of points. Great defense. I’m so proud of my team.”

Fort Loramie’s defense was again the cause of a lopsided tournament win. The Redskins unofficially forced Marion Local to commit 31 turnovers, 17 of which were in the first half to power the strong rally.

“We had to learn from the last game,” Brandewie said. “We had to move our feet. We couldn’t get sloppy on our defense. We couldn’t get lazy. We just had to jump in the gaps and just overall communicate.

“… We’re very athletic, but we have to stay under control, because athleticism can only get you so far.”

Brandewie scored a game-high 11 points. Junior forward Victoria Mescher scored 10 and senior forward Summer Hoying scored nine for the Redskins, which beat Marion Local 53-30 in a nonconference game on Feb. 13.

“I told the girls they need to have fun on the floor, because I don’t think they had fun on Thursday night,” Siegel said. “I think today, you saw more emotion, you saw more smiles, you saw more handshakes and things like that going on.

“I told the girls, ‘Come on, you’ve worked so hard for this, let’s have fun on the floor.’ I think that’s what you saw (today) was fun.”

Brandewie was named first team all-Southwest district in D-IV earlier this week and was named Shelby County Athletic League co-player of the year in February. She had a slow start to the season after suffering ankle injury in a scrimmage, and Fort Loramie had a bit of a slow start as well.

But the Redskins have largely rolled since mid-January. Thursday’s rally against Russia was the squad’s first close contest since a loss in the Classic in the Country at Berlin Hiland; they won their first four tournament games by margins of at least 49 points.

“I think our passing, our communication, our overall shooting has gotten better (since the start of the season),” Brandewie said. “We’ve put a lot of work in.”

The Redskins unofficially were outrebounded 21-18, but they got what they needed, especially offensively. They had eight offensive rebounds, including five in the first half to help in the big run.

The Flyers didn’t have an offensive rebound in the first half.

“I thought they did a great job of crashing the boards, and we told them they didn’t do a good enough job at that Thursday night,” Siegel said. “Everything that happened Thursday, we tried to fix. Girls responded. Great senior leadership today, that’s for sure.”

It’s Fort Loramie’s first state berth since the squad won the D-IV title in 2021. It’s the 12th regional title and state berth in program history; the Redskins have won three state titles, all since 2013.

“I think if we play like we can, finish our shots, sprint the floor and play our defense, we can (win a state title),” Brandewie said. “Defense always wins. Defense is what we really need to focus on.”

Convoy Crestview (26-2) beat Columbus Grove 53-29 in a regional final in Elida on Saturday afternoon to advance to a D-IV state semifinal.

Fort Loramie will face the Knights at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

“I’m happy for the senior group,” Siegel said. “This has been a dream for them for two years, and we were so close last year and missed it on the last-second shot. But I’m proud of them. This is a goal they’ve had, and I’m happy they get to achieve it and experience it.”

The Redskins beat Crestview 66-24 in a state semifinal in 2021.

RELATED: Video: Fort Loramie vs. Marion Local girls basketball highlights


Who: Fort Loramie vs. Convoy Crestview

Where: University of Dayton Arena

When: 1 p.m., Thursday



Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.

No posts to display