Girls basketball: Fort Loramie can’t recover from slow start, loses to Cincinnati Country Day


Fort Loramie finishes 25-2, will lose 6 seniors to graduation

By Bryant Billing - [email protected]



Fort Loramie senior forward Ava Sholtis shoots during a Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center. Sholtis scored 13 points.

Fort Loramie senior forward Ava Sholtis shoots during a Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center. Sholtis scored 13 points.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie's Ava Turner shoots as Cincinnati Country Day's Megan Zimmerman defends at Vandalia on Thursday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie's Skyler Albers shoots as Cincinnati Country Day's Sarah Zimmerman defends at Vandalia on Thursday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie's Avery Brandewie, left, and Cincinnati Country Day's Jada Moorman chase a loose ball at Vandalia on Thursday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie's Victoria Mescher shoots as Cincinnati Country Day's Megan Zimmerman defends at Vandalia on Thursday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie senior guard Colleen Brandewie drives as Cincinnati Country Day’s Elizabeth Zimmerman defends during a Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie senior guard Riley Heitkamp drives past Cincinnati Country Day’s Gracie Barnes during a Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center. Heitkamp led the Redskins with 15 points in a 47-40 loss.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

VANDALIA — Fort Loramie had thrived this season off tough defense and forcing turnovers. The squad found out Thursday how hard it is to play against a similarly tough defensive team.

The Redskins unofficially committed 20 turnovers in a Division IV regional semifinal at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center, several of which came in the first quarter. They fell behind by nine points early and never recovered in a 47-40 defeat by Cincinnati Country Day.

Country Day dominated from the start. The Nighthawks built a 14-5 lead by the end of the first quarter, then pushed the lead back to double digits in the fourth quarter after Loramie pulled within two.

“They’re a good team. They’re fast and they anticipate well,” Fort Loramie coach Carla Seigel said. “I told the girls at halftime that they were playing Loramie basketball. We weren’t playing Loramie basketball; they were doing the things we wanted to do.

“I think our girls were tentative and played on their heels in the first half. When you’re tentative and dig yourself a 10-point hole, it’s hard to come back. We got it down to four a couple of times and to two once. Had we not dug ourselves a big hole, it would have been a completely different outcome, I believe.”

The Nighthawks led 31-21 with about six minutes left in the third when standout guard Gracie Barns picked up her third foul and went to the bench.

Fort Loramie mounted its best run of the night with Barnes off the floor, thanks in part to creating a couple of turnovers. The Redskins rattled off eight straight points on a 3 by Colleen Brandewie, basket by Ava Sholtis and three-point play by Sholtis.

But Barnes reentered the game late in the quarter, and Country Day’s turnovers decreased the rest of the way, while Fort Loramie’s increased, especially in the last four minutes.

Megan Zimmerman made a 3 near the end of the third to push the Nighthawks’ lead to 34-29 heading into the fourth, then Barnes hit a 3 to open the fourth and push the lead to eight points.

The Redskins later pulled within four, but Zimmerman came up big with a basket and a pair of free throws on two consecutive Country Day possession to push the lead to 41-35. The Nighthawks later increased the advantage to 47-37 in the final minute before Fort Loramie hit a late 3 to cut the final gap to seven points.

“I think the key was that we have a lot of ball handlers,” Country Day coach John Snell said. “We you only have two or three, you’re in trouble, especially (against a team like Fort Loramie). But we have a lot of ball handlers, and we don’t run out of gas. I thought we handled (Fort Loramie’s) press pretty well.

“We’ve seen a lot of pressure, and our girls just keep going. I love it.”

Senior guard Riley Heitkamp kept Fort Loramie in the game by making five 3s, including three in the second quarter. She finished with 15 points. Sholtis, a senior forward, finished with 13, nine of which came in the second half.

“Riley probably played the best game of her career tonight,” Seigel said. “She was strong when we needed her to be strong. She was aggressive when we needed her to be aggressive. …We made some changes at halftime, and I thought Ava and our girls did a better job attacking the basket in the second half.

“We just weren’t attacking, and we had talked the whole week how we needed to attack the basket. The second half, we changed some of our cuts and got some good looks, and if we had connected on those more, we would have been okay. But Cincinnati Country Day, they wanted it tonight.”

Fort Loramie’s comeback chances were hurt by Heitkamp getting in foul trouble late. She was on the bench for some of the fourth and fouled out in the final minute.

“She can say she ended her career leaving everything on the floor,” Seigel said. “She fouled out, she scored all the points. She can hang her hat on that.”

It was a long-awaited win for the Nighthawks (20-5), which lost 50-34 to the Redskins in a regional final two years ago and 50-16 in a district final last year.

“I think it was good preparation (for tonight),” Snell said of the two losses. “We knew what to expect, and we played a really tough schedule this year. We went down and played some big schools in a tournament in Florida, and it was straight-up legit. I think it helped us learn to play tougher and not play soft.”

Barnes and Zimmerman each scored 11 points for Country Day. Sam Easter and Elizabeth Zimmerman each scored eight and Sarah Zimmerman scored seven.

“They played us close two years ago before we pulled away. Last year, they were missing (leading scorer Kamryn Jordan), and that ended up being a blowout, but only because of that missing player,” Seigel said.

“…I think one of the differences is that he only plays six players, and we like to play eight. We couldn’t play everybody like we like too getting down early, including our younger girls. Their six are really conditioned well, and they didn’t wear down.”

The Redskins, which were ranked No. 1 in D-IV in the final Associated Press state poll, finish 25-2 overall. They’ll lose six seniors to graduation: Heitkamp, Sholtis, Brandewie, Aubrey Baker, Cara Meyer and Alyson Schmitmeyer.

The campaign caps off a tremendous four year-run by the program, which included an undefeated campaign in 2020 and state title in 2021. The Redskins also went undefeated in Shelby County Athletic League play the last four years.

“It just says a lot about our program and how much they buy into our program and what we want to do,” Seigel said. “I just told (the seniors) how much we’ll miss them. They did a great job. They were all a part of three phenomenal years, and (some) played as freshman too. They only had five losses in four years. That’s amazing.

“I’m full of gratitude for the commitment they made to our program and their leadership.”

Country Day’s victory wiped out a potential regional final rematch between the Redskins and Tri-Village. Instead, the Nighthawks will face Tri-Village in a regional final on Saturday in Vandalia. The Patriots beat Danville 54-33 in the first semifinal on Thursday in Vandalia.

Fort Loramie beat Tri-Village 61-37 in a regional final last year on its way to winning the Div. IV state title.

It’s not the first time Country Day will have faced Tri-Village (25-2) this year. The Nighthawks beat the Patriots 56-54 in a season opener on Nov. 20 in New Madison.

“I’m not looking forward to that at all,” Snell said of a rematch on Saturday. “They’re a great team, and (Tri-Village coach) Brad (Gray) does a great job with them, so it’s going to be tough.”

Country Day scored the first five points and cruised to a 14-5 lead by the end of the first quarter, thanks in part to six points from Elizabeth Zimmerman.

“We just really didn’t do a lot,” Seigel said of the first quarter. “That was frustrating to see from my team, because I think we’re better than that.”

Heitkamp’s 3s kept Fort Loramie on pace with Country Day’s scoring in the second quarter, but Barnes made a 3 from the left corner with eight seconds left to push the gap to 28-18 at halftime.

Fort Loramie senior forward Ava Sholtis shoots during a Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center. Sholtis scored 13 points.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_DSC_3337.jpgFort Loramie senior forward Ava Sholtis shoots during a Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center. Sholtis scored 13 points. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie’s Ava Turner shoots as Cincinnati Country Day’s Megan Zimmerman defends at Vandalia on Thursday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_DSC_3341.jpgFort Loramie’s Ava Turner shoots as Cincinnati Country Day’s Megan Zimmerman defends at Vandalia on Thursday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie’s Skyler Albers shoots as Cincinnati Country Day’s Sarah Zimmerman defends at Vandalia on Thursday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_DSC_3384.jpgFort Loramie’s Skyler Albers shoots as Cincinnati Country Day’s Sarah Zimmerman defends at Vandalia on Thursday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie’s Avery Brandewie, left, and Cincinnati Country Day’s Jada Moorman chase a loose ball at Vandalia on Thursday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_DSC_3419.jpgFort Loramie’s Avery Brandewie, left, and Cincinnati Country Day’s Jada Moorman chase a loose ball at Vandalia on Thursday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie’s Victoria Mescher shoots as Cincinnati Country Day’s Megan Zimmerman defends at Vandalia on Thursday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_DSC_3477.jpgFort Loramie’s Victoria Mescher shoots as Cincinnati Country Day’s Megan Zimmerman defends at Vandalia on Thursday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie senior guard Colleen Brandewie drives as Cincinnati Country Day’s Elizabeth Zimmerman defends during a Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_DSC_3505.jpgFort Loramie senior guard Colleen Brandewie drives as Cincinnati Country Day’s Elizabeth Zimmerman defends during a Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie senior guard Riley Heitkamp drives past Cincinnati Country Day’s Gracie Barnes during a Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center. Heitkamp led the Redskins with 15 points in a 47-40 loss.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_DSC_3510.jpgFort Loramie senior guard Riley Heitkamp drives past Cincinnati Country Day’s Gracie Barnes during a Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center. Heitkamp led the Redskins with 15 points in a 47-40 loss. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News
Fort Loramie finishes 25-2, will lose 6 seniors to graduation

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.