Girls basketball notes: State title an expectation for Fort Loramie


DAYTON — After finally breaking through and winning its first state title in 2013, Fort Loramie won its fourth Division IV championship in a little over a decade’s time last Saturday and its second in four years.

A championship expectation has been established in recent years, which was evident when senior guard Jaden Rose said last year “sucked.”

Fort Loramie coach Carla Siegel had a different opinion than Rose, whose older sister Darian played on the 2013 team. The Redskins finished 25-3 a year ago and lost 32-30 to eventual state champion Tri-Village in a regional final.

“Last year did not suck,” Siegel said with a laugh soon after Rose’s comment during a postgame press conference. “It was a rebuilding year for us. We had graduated 13 girls off the 2021 and ‘22 years.

“… I was telling everybody it was a rebuilding year and we would probably lose five, six, seven games, it is what it is, just as long as we’re getting better. These girls just kept winning because that drive was there.

Turning and looking at Rose, Siegel continued: “Last year was not a bad year, Jaden. But she lost, and now she’s a winner, so she’ll be happy forever.”

Fort Loramie, which finished 28-2, was also the top-ranked team in D-IV state Associated Press polls throughout the 2019-20 season and was the favorite to win that year before the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the state tournament being canceled.

Over half of the 3,171 fans in attendance were Fort Loramie fans, which was a difference from the 2021 state tournament, in which COVID-era attendance restrictions were still in place.

“Before the game, I was talking to my assistant coaches about how dead the arena was three years ago, with 300 Loramie fans in the stands,” Siegel said. “That was really hard for that team. I think they felt cheated because they couldn’t have the whole community there.

“Of all the times we’ve been here, I think (today) was the biggest crowd we’ve had. I think they were hungry to be here and to watch these girls win a state title. The student section, I can’t say enough about them. …They started bringing that raucous cheering, being loud, brining energy for our team, with the regional final game against Marion Local.

“They have just been fantastic. I do believe their energy today, and not just the student section, the whole crowd, helped these girls persevere.”

Many potential future players were in the stands, or already on the court; Fort Loramie had six elementary-school age managers, all of which posed with the team for photos after the game.

“Our water girls adore these young ladies,” Siegel said. “They’re in the locker room screaming, and I think they baked cookies for them on Tuesday.

“It’s the tradition word everyone throws around, the culture word. This big victory, it’s not just for us playing and coaching today, it’s for all the little girls in the stands.”

Ten years ago, Rose was one of those younger girls.

“I watched my sister growing up. I don’t even know how many basketball games I went to,” Rose said. “… She was my motivation, kind of. I saw how much fun she had out there, and I saw her drive to win. Whenever I was that young, I wanted to be like her, and that made me be like her and destined to be a state champion one day.”

Fort Loramie junior Avery Brandewie watched many of her older sister Colleen’s games while growing up; Colleen Brandewie played on the 2021 state champion squad. (Their father, Jeff, played on Fort Loramie’s boys state champion team in 1993.)

“Watching in 2020 and seeing it being taken away from her and seeing how much she cared about the game, she was an amazing role model,” Brandewie said. “She never failed to get me in the gym, help me put my shot in and do whatever it takes to make me the best player.”

Fort Loramie will lose six players to graduation, including four who routinely saw the court.

But with many set to return, including Brandewie and fellow junior forward Victoria Mescher, the expectations at Fort Loramie should continue — especially with the expansion to seven divisions next year.

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

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