Girls basketball: Fort Loramie beats Houston, earns another district final berth


Redskins will face Bradford in district final on Saturday in Troy

By Bryant Billing - [email protected]



Fort Loramie senior forward Ava Sholtis shoots as Houston’s Rylie Voisard defends during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday in Sidney. Sholtis led the Redskins with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

Fort Loramie senior forward Ava Sholtis shoots as Houston’s Rylie Voisard defends during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday in Sidney. Sholtis led the Redskins with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win.


Houston's Emma Kemp drives as Fort Loramie's Ava Sholtis defends at Sidney on Saturday.


Fort Loramie's Skyler Albers shoots over Houston's Megan Maier at Sidney on Saturday.


Fort Loramie's Avery Brandewie shoots over Houston's Lainey Peacock at Sidney on Saturday.


Houston's Kayla Winner, left, and Fort Loramie's Summer Hoying reach for a rebound at Sidney on Saturday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie players slap hands with Houston players after a district semifinal on Saturday. Fort Loramie players have made a tradition of wearing braids during sectional tournament time.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie freshman guard Victoria Mescher, left, and Houston’s Megan Maier chase after a loose ball during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday in Sidney.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

SIDNEY — Braids and The Spot are as big a part of the calendar every February for Fort Loramie’s girls basketball team as Valentine’s Day or President’s Day.

The Redskins’ players have made a tradition in the last decade or so of braiding their hair for sectional tournament games played at Sidney High School. They program has also made a tradition of eating at The Spot Restaurant in downtown Sidney after earning a district final berth.

As successful as Fort Loramie has been, that’s meant a lot of braids and a lot The Spot each February.

The Redskins capped off another district final berth on Saturday with a trip to The Spot shortly after defeating Houston 69-26 in a Division IV district semifinal.

It’s the fifth consecutive district final berth. Fort Loramie (24-1) has earned 13 district championships since 2008 and will aim for another this Saturday afternoon when it faces Bradford (16-9) at Troy High School’s Trojan Activities Center.

Senior forward Ava Sholtis was grateful to be on the court with braided hair on Saturday. An ACL tear on her left leg at the beginning of her junior volleyball season resulted in her missing all of volleyball and almost all of basketball season, including all of last year’s sectional tournament.

Sholtis, who was recently named Shelby County Athletic League player of the year, played late in some tourney games during Fort Loramie’s state title run last year. She has been back at full strength this year and led the squad with 18 points and 10 rebounds on Saturday.

“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and coaches,” Sholtis said of winning SCAL player of the year. “I think I had a really good recovery from it. …There has been a change. It’s hard to explain. I can tell a difference in jumping and all aspects of the game, but it’s not too bad.”

She averaged 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.1 steals per game in regular season.

“Who can say they had a whole year off and won Shelby County player of the year?” Fort Loramie coach Carla Seigel said. “There’s a ton of great players in our league. I think the difference between Ava and the other great players is Ava gives us offense and defense. She leads our team in rebounds, she leads our team in steals, and I think she leads our team in assists, too.

“Ava is a gamer on both sides of the floor. She’s not one dimensional; she does so much for our team on both ends. I felt our County coaches did a good job of picking her, because I think she exemplifies what player of the year is in our league.”

Fort Loramie is again exemplifying top-notch basketball.

The Redskins, which were ranked No. 1 in D-IV in the final Associated Press state poll, are aiming for their third consecutive state berth this year and second consecutive state title.

They rolled through most of regular season but had some challenges late in nonconference games. After edging New Knoxville 44-39 and Marion Local 51-45 in late January, the Redskins lost 37-28 at Findlay Liberty-Benton on Feb. 5.

All three of those opponents have been ranked in D-IV or D-III this season. The squad also played state-ranked Ottawa Glandorf and perennial D-II power Lima Bath in January.

“We’re playing a lot of young girls, and for them to help us and get us through that stretch 4-1 was a great experience,” Seigel said. “That was a tournament test for us. Each of those games we responded well and stepped up.”

Sholtis and senior guard Colleen Brandewie (11.3 points, four rebounds per game) have led the squad this season.

Seven seniors graduated off last year’s state championship squad, meaning there were holes to fill this year.

The Redskins have had plenty of players step up, including freshman post Avery Brandewie and freshman guard Victoria Mescher. Sophomore Skylar Albers has been a big asset in the post as well.

Seniors Riley Heitkamp and Cara Meyer and junior Ava Turner are among other upperclassmen who have excelled in larger roles this year.

Shotlis said the older and younger players developing chemistry has been key.

“It’s been a challenge for us seniors to show up and show them how it’s done and get them used to the speed of the game,” Shotlis said. “I think they’ve done a great job so far. I think they’re ready as we’re going into tournament. It’s taken the whole year of our hard schedule to get the experience.

“Not to compare us to last year, but we want to be as good as we were and keep up the legacy.”

Fort Loramie took another step toward keeping up the legacy on Saturday against Houston (10-14).

The Redskins built a 16-9 lead by the end of the first quarter, then followed with a 16-8 scoring edge in the second to take a 32-17 halftime lead.

They turned up the defensive pressure in the second half and quickly pulled away. Fort Loramie outscored the Wildcats 19-4 in the third and 18-5 in the fourth.

After a 90-11 first-round win over Ansonia and a 76-4 win over Triad in the second round, Sholtis said it took time in the first half for the squad to get reacclimated.

“We know games are going to get tougher, so we just try to get better each game and focus on one team at a time,” Sholtis said. “I thought our defense was better (in the second half). That’s important, especially when the teams down the road will keep getting tougher.”

Bradford will look to provide a tough challenge this Saturday.

The Railroaders beat Covington 49-38 in a district semifinal on Saturday at Trotwood-Madison High School to advance. They’ve won six consecutive games since a 68-27 loss to Western Ohio Athletic Conference rival Tri-Village on Jan. 29.

Senior guard Austy Miller, who recently became the program’s all-time career scoring leader, ranks first among WOAC players with an average of 22.4 points per game. She also averages 8.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.

“She’s phenomenal,” Seigel said. “She has a lot of great moves. She can hit deep 3s, she can take you to the rim. She has great pivot moves and her up-and-unders are great. She’s a great passer and a great defender. We’re going to have to lock in on her, and they have a couple of other guards who shoot really well.

“That’ll be a big game for us. A new opponent is nice. When you play the same team for the third time, it gets really hard. I think our girls will be excited to play on a different floor in Troy, play a different team. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Colleen Brandewie and Turner each added 15 points on Saturday for Fort Loramie while Avery Brandewie added seven.

Katie Maier and Taylor Maxwell each scored six points for Houston while senior guard Rylie Voisard scored five.

Fort Loramie senior forward Ava Sholtis shoots as Houston’s Rylie Voisard defends during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday in Sidney. Sholtis led the Redskins with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_7621-2.jpgFort Loramie senior forward Ava Sholtis shoots as Houston’s Rylie Voisard defends during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday in Sidney. Sholtis led the Redskins with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

Houston’s Emma Kemp drives as Fort Loramie’s Ava Sholtis defends at Sidney on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_7375-2.jpgHouston’s Emma Kemp drives as Fort Loramie’s Ava Sholtis defends at Sidney on Saturday.

Fort Loramie’s Skyler Albers shoots over Houston’s Megan Maier at Sidney on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_7491-2.jpgFort Loramie’s Skyler Albers shoots over Houston’s Megan Maier at Sidney on Saturday.

Fort Loramie’s Avery Brandewie shoots over Houston’s Lainey Peacock at Sidney on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_7564-2.jpgFort Loramie’s Avery Brandewie shoots over Houston’s Lainey Peacock at Sidney on Saturday.

Houston’s Kayla Winner, left, and Fort Loramie’s Summer Hoying reach for a rebound at Sidney on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_7636-2.jpgHouston’s Kayla Winner, left, and Fort Loramie’s Summer Hoying reach for a rebound at Sidney on Saturday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie players slap hands with Houston players after a district semifinal on Saturday. Fort Loramie players have made a tradition of wearing braids during sectional tournament time.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_7694-2.jpgFort Loramie players slap hands with Houston players after a district semifinal on Saturday. Fort Loramie players have made a tradition of wearing braids during sectional tournament time. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie freshman guard Victoria Mescher, left, and Houston’s Megan Maier chase after a loose ball during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday in Sidney.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_7342-2.jpgFort Loramie freshman guard Victoria Mescher, left, and Houston’s Megan Maier chase after a loose ball during a Division IV district semifinal on Saturday in Sidney. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News
Redskins will face Bradford in district final on Saturday in Troy

By Bryant Billing

[email protected]

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

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