SCORES, WMVR to air 2 D-IV girls regionals Thursday

Stage set for Fort Loramie girls versus Country Day; coverage begins at 5:30 p.m.

What did we learn from last Saturday?

Is the real Fort Loramie girls basketball squad the one that blitzed Bradford, 20-0, out of the gate and closed with a 17-2 outburst to win by 35? Or is it the club that Bradford played dead even at 20 points apiece for the middle 40 percent of the contest?

Is the real Cincinnati Country Day squad the one that outscored Russia by a dozen points over virtually the final six minutes of the game? Or is it the team that repeatedly fell behind most of the afternoon while its top scorer for the year performed without a field goal for the first 28 minutes?

The big “reveal” is Thursday night at Vandalia Butler in the nightcap of two girls D-IV regional semi-finals. More than likely, the pair of programs will put their best foot forward, live up to their statewide recognition and compete in an exciting, well-played, neck-and-neck finish. More than 2000 spectators are expected to witness the big game at the Student Activities Center.

Fort Loramie, 25-1, and victorious in 80 of their last 82 games, was ranked first in the final statewide AP poll and earned its fourth straight poll championship. Country Day, 19-5, climbed to tenth in the AP rankings.

Tri-Village, 23-2, which finished number two in the last poll, likely awaits the second game winner in the regional final on Saturday at 1 p.m.. In Thursday’s opening game at 6 p.m., the Patriots are heavy favorites to take down Danville, 20-5, a second place team from the Knox-Morrow Conference northeast of Columbus. In the 2020 regional, Fort Loramie blew Danville away, 84-24.

Both tilts at Vandalia-Butler on Thursday are carried live on starting at 5:30 p.m.. WMVR, 105.5 TAM FM, simulcasts.

Oddly enough, the Fort Loramie and Country Day programs have met three times in tournament play over the last six years. The Redskins thumped the Indians, 49-19, in 2016; 50-34, in 2020, and, 50-16, last year. The game two years ago was a four-pointer early in the fourth quarter when the Redskins pulled away.

For sure, Fort Loramie will have its hands full Thursday with what Country Day coaches believe is the school’s second best club in the last 15 seasons. Gracie Barns, a 5-9 junior, paces the squad in scoring at 15 per game. Sarah Zimmerman, a 6-0 senior, is right behind at 14 per contest. Barns has poured in 45 three-pointers. Zimmerman pulls down nine rebounds and records five steals per game.

The Indians total 58 points, on average, and yield 39. They shoot free throws at only a 62 percent clip.

Marksmanship at the stripe is a strength for the Redskins, who are right at 75 percent for the season. The Redskins score 57 per four quarters of action and allow only 27.

Ava Sholtis, the Shelby County Player of the Year, has continued her steady play and has upped her per game average to 13. She snares seven rebounds per contest.

Colleen Brandewie, a 44 percent three-point shooter, is just above 11 per outing. Guards Riley Heitkamp and Ava Turner average about seven points each. Freshman Avery Brandewie is chipping in nearly six per game.

The defending state champs have been fast starters in most games this season, outscoring their opponents 31-13, on average, over the first two quarters.

Last weekend, the Redskins demonstrated another spurt at the opening bell, dropping in the game’s first nine field goals. Fort Loramie fans are hoping that this part of their girls game repeats itself versus Country Day.

So, can Fort Loramie advance to this Saturday’s showdown with rival Tri-Village, a 61-37 loser to the Redskins in last year’s regional?

The “reveal” airs Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on and WMVR after the coverage of Tri-Village and Danville concludes.
Stage set for Fort Loramie girls versus Country Day; coverage begins at 5:30 p.m.