FORT LORAMIE — Fort Loramie’s girls basketball team must make a quick turnaround and play in a tournament at Ohio Dominican on Friday night, less than 24 hours after facing New Knoxville in nonconference action.
If the Redskins’ recent play is any indication, they certainly look capable of handling the task.
Fort Loramie’s recent dominating streak continued against the Rangers. The Redskins built a 20-point lead midway through the second quarter and coasted to a 55-28 win.
It’s the third consecutive win over a solid Midwest Athletic Conference opponent for the Redskins (8-1). Aside from Thursday’s win, they beat New Bremen by 21 points on Dec. 18 and Versailles by 23 points last Saturday. All three of the MAC teams have at least six wins.
“What I really enjoy about this team is how focused they are,” Fort Loramie coach Carla Siegel said. “When I walked into the locker room for my pregame talk today, their eyes were focused and on me. They’re listening. Our practices are really upbeat, and they’re challenging each other.”
Fort Loramie started the season with four consecutive double-digit wins before losing by one point at West Liberty-Salem on Dec. 10. They bounced back five days later with a 44-point win over Jackson Center and followed with the streak of wins over MAC teams.
“We’ve just been working really hard as a team in practice just trying to get better every day,” junior Marissa Meiring said. “We have great coaches that help us get better, and it’s just great. Everyone’s energy is just up right now.”
Meiring, a 5-foot-8 forward, led the Redskins with 15 points and eight rebounds. Dana Rose added 10 points and three assists while Kennedi Gephart scored nine points.
Seven other players scored for the Redskins.
“I can’t say enough about how great of a job our bench is doing,” Siegel said. “When two or three girls are getting tired or getting in foul trouble, I can put a couple of other girls in, and I don’t feel like we really let off.
“The team chemistry we have — it’s great.”
New Knoxville (6-3) started the season with five straight wins but has lost three of its last four.
Fort Loramie — which doesn’t have a senior on the team — wasted no time building a big lead over New Knoxville. Five different players scored in the first quarter to help the Redskins take a 14-6 lead. They then scored the first nine points of the second quarter to take a 23-6 advantage.
A big reason for the Redskins’ early success was a smothering defense that made it hard for New Knoxville to find shots and created many turnovers.
“Our girls are doing a great job of rotating and getting their hands on the ball and making deflections,” Siegel said. “That’s what we preach in practice — we’ve got to have deflections.”
Meiring made two early baskets to help Fort Loramie go ahead 6-3, then Taylor Ratermann scored with 3:44 left to push the advantage to six. After a basket by Erin Scott, Caitlyn Gasson hit 3-pointer from the left wing and Dana Rose scored in the paint to push the lead to 10 points in the final seconds of the first quarter.
Morgan Leffel hit a basket with 5:20 left in the second quarter to break a five-minute scoreless streak and cut Fort Loramie’s lead to 23-8. Meiring and Hoelscher followed by making 2-of-2 free throws apiece, then Meiring made a put-back after a missed layup by Hoelscher with 3:38 left to increase the lead to 29-8. The Redskins led by at least 20 points the rest of the game.
Scott led the Rangers with nine points.
The Redskins face Sugarcreek Garaway at Ohio Dominican on Friday. They won’t play again until next Thursday, when they travel to Anna for a key Shelby County Athletic League game. Neither of the squads have lost in conference play.
“We’re excited about the opportunity,” Siegel said of playing Sugarcreek Garaway on Friday. “It’s a different court, a college court, and a team that we’re not familiar with. We’re interested in that. They have really good players — they’re a Division III school. So, we’ll see what happens. But we’re looking forward to the trip.”
New Knoxville plays next on Saturday at home against Jackson Center.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.