Scores broadcast, WMVR to cover 3 tourney games Saturday

Russia and Fort Loramie girls seek district titles; Raiders aim for best year since ‘17

The Russia girls basketball team aims for a win in the district on Saturday versus a strong Cincinnati Country Day squad to match its 2017 victory total of 21.

That year the Raiders topped Fort Loramie in route to sectional and district titles before losing to Minster in the region semi-final. Jackson Center then topped Minster to advance to the state tournament in Columbus.

This year’s Raiders, now 20-5, tangle with Country Day, 18-5, in a 1 PM district title game at Troy. Fort Loramie, 24-1, battles Bradford, 16-9, in the 3 PM district contest. Both tilts are carried live on starting at 12:30 PM. WMVR, 105.5 TAM FM, simulcasts.

The Botkins-Russia boys sectional final in Piqua is covered by these same media outlets on Saturday at 6:30 PM.

Under first-year girls coach Paul Bremigan, who previously coached the boys for more than 30 seasons, the Raiders have had an outstanding campaign. They won on the road at Tri-Village which was short two players and beat league rival Botkins three times, including last Saturday in the sectional final. Russia opened in November thumping sectional finalist and D-1 rival Sidney.

Cece Borchers, a 40 percent three-point shooter, is averaging over ten per game. Ella Hoehne is right at ten; and Kate Sherman, just below double-digits. Reese Goubeaux and Miah Monnin sink a third of their three-pointers. Sophie Francis and Simone Puthoff combine to add nine more points per contest.

The Raiders boast a major rebounding advantage over their opponents. Roni Poling, a six-foot sophomore, has provided many key varsity minutes in the second half of the season in support of 6-2 Sherman and 6-0 Hoehne.

Saturday’s district game at Troy will feature a lot of size all over the floor. Country Day offers a 6-foot back-up post player, a six-foot starter and two 5-10 sophomores.

In order for the Raiders to whip Country Day, the defense must slow down Gracie Barns, a 5-9 sharp-shooting guard who is averaging 15 points per game while canning 45 percent of her shots behind the arc. Barns swished her first three long balls versus state-ranked Tri-Village in the season opener in route to a 26-point outing in New Madison. She made of 9 of 14 shots. Country Day edged Tri-Village, 56-54, after blitzing to a 13-point halftime bulge.

Although Country Day plays in the Miami Valley Conference, which includes four schools that won less than seven games while completing weak schedules, Russia’s Saturday foe ramped up its slate by playing three holiday tournament tilts in Florida. Back home, Country Day dropped two close ones to D-III powerhouse Purcell-Marian and lost another tight one to D-I Ursuline. Country Day beat its rival Summit twice.

In total, six of Country Day’s opponents spanning all four divisions are competing in district play this weekend.

Jack Kramer, ScoresBroadcast play-by-play announcer, said he and his partner Chuck McBee may have a difficult time recognizing and clearly identifying by name at

least three of the young ladies for Country Day. Sarah, Megan and Elizabeth Zimmerman, who range in height between 5-10 and 6-0, total about 32 points per game among them.

Megan and Elizabeth are actually part of a triplet birth that included brother Andrew. Sarah, a senior, is the oldest sister.

Jack and Chuck calling the name “Zimmerman” extremely often might be a good thing for Russia. Could it mean that Barns, the leading scorer, is being well guarded by the Raiders and not getting her normal high volume of shots?

For sure, the Raiders will need one of their very best defensive efforts of the season to defeat Country Day, which is posting 60 points per game.

The 1 and 3 PM winners on Saturday meet in a regional semi on Thursday at 8 PM at Vandalia Butler.
Russia and Fort Loramie girls seek district titles; Raiders aim for best year since ‘17