SIDNEY — Fort Loramie’s boys basketball team has relied on “mullet power” this season. Several players sport the 80’s hairdo, and after gaining attention around the area, it’s become a rallying identity point for the community, so much so that “mullet power” t-shirts have been created.
If the 22-win boys team has relied on “mullet power,” the 20-win girls team has relied on “braid power” — recently, anyway.
Fort Loramie’s girls basketball players sported double braids through the squad’s three sectional games at Sidney High School late last month. It’s a tradition that coach Carla Siegel thinks dates back to 2010, when the Redskins made the final four in Division IV.
“Everybody before us has done this, the same hairstyle, throughout the sectionals,” Fort Loramie sophomore Marissa Meiring said after the team’s win over Houston last week. “… I don’t do them, but Hattie Meyer, McKenna Mannier, Macy Imwalle, Jayda Puthoff, Kenzie Hoelscher are all good at braiding.”
As good as those players are at braiding, Fort Loramie was equally as good on the court in the sectionals. The Redskins (20-5) won each of their three games by 26 or more points, including a 68-34 win in a sectional final against Houston last Saturday.
Outside of a sectional final loss to Russia last year, the Redskins have been undefeated in sectional games since 2010. They’ve been pretty successful in district final games as well, as they won district finals each season from 2010 to 2016.
The Redskins are one of four area teams that will play in district finals on Saturday.
Russia will face Tri-Village at 11 a.m. and Fort Loramie will play Cedarville at 3 p.m. in Div. IV finals at Troy High School. Anna will face Williamsburg at 3 p.m. and Versailles will face Purcell Marian at 1 in D-III finals at Springfield. Minster will face Fort Recovery at 7 p.m. in a D-IV final at Wapakoneta.
Though the braids may be gone at Troy on Saturday, Meiring hopes Fort Loramie’s recent tournament success continues — and a new streak of district final wins starts.
They key will likely be Fort Loramie’s defense. When the Redskins have turned up their defensive pressure this season, they’ve proven nearly unbeatable. When they haven’t, they’ve struggled — like in a 47-35 loss to Russia on Feb. 8.
“Everybody playing with intensity really builds up on each other,” Meiring said. “It just creates positivity and gets everybody going.”
Russia vs. Tri-Village
Russia will get a rematch with Tri-Village in a district final on Saturday at Troy.
The Patriots beat Russia 40-22 at Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium on Jan. 22, which coach Andy Timmerman said was one of the team’s low points of the season.
The Raiders (20-5) lost their next game to Anna but have rattled off seven consecutive wins since.
“Definitely our communication (has helped us),” Russia junior guard Jenna Cordonnier said after a sectional final win over Botkins last Saturday. “When we communicate, we can be a very dangerous team, and when we don’t, then we seem to get in our slump.”
Cordonnier averages 9.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, while junior forward Laurissa Poling averages 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Sophomore guard Lissa Siler leads the Patriots (21-4) with an average of 13.9 points per game, while sophomore post Maddie Downing averages 12.9 points and eight rebounds per game.
Fort Loramie vs. Cedarville
The Redskins have relied on balanced scoring this year. Meiring leads the squad with an average of 9.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and three steals per game, while Abby Holthaus averages 7.2 points and six rebounds per game.
Cedarville (20-5), which finished second in the Ohio Heritage Conference South Division, is led by senior guard Ise Bolender, who averages 20.2 points and six rebounds per game.
Anna vs. Williamsburg
Anna will try to keep its 11 game winning streak going against Williamisburg (24-1), which won the Southern Buckeye Conference National Division.
Senior guard Macey Huelskamp leads Anna with an average of 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Williamsburg junior post Alexis Chase averages a team-high 17 points per game.
Versailles vs. Purcell Marian
The Tigers will try to continue their road to Columbus against Cincinnati Purcell Marian (18-6).
Versailles (24-1), which finished as Division III state runner-ups last year, rolled over its three sectional opponents by a combined score of 226-68. The Tigers are led by senior guard Kami McEldowney and senior forward Danielle Winner, who average 13.1 points and 10.8 points, respectively.
Purcell Marian is led by Sha’dai Hale and Amil Ali-Shakir, who average 16.1 and 14.8 points, respectively.
Minster vs. Fort Recovery
Fort Recovery will get another shot at Minster in a Division IV district final at Wapakoneta on Saturday. The Wildcats won a Midwest Athletic Conference game in regular season 38-35.
Courtney Pregner leads Minster with an average of 11.8 points per game, while Grace Thien averages 12.7 for Fort Recovery.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.