By Matt Zircher
and Ken Barhorst
When it comes to consistency in county girls basketball, Fort Loramie has been the model, especially under head coach Carla Siegel.
Entering this season, the Lady Redskins had won Division 4 Sectional titles nine straight years and in 15 of 17 during Siegel’s tenure.
That streak, though, came to an end Saturday at Sidney High School as the Russia Lady Raiders pulled away in the second half for a 49-36 win in the lower bracket finals.
Russia, now 20-5, advances to the district finals Saturday at Troy High School against 20-5 Covington, a team the Raiders defeated 45-33 in Covington on January 16.
Loramie finishes the season at 16-9.
Abby Holthaus opened the scoring with a layup, but that turned out to be the only lead of the game for the Redskins as Whitney Pleiman hit a three from the left corner and Maria Herron followed with a layup to give Russia a 5-2 lead.
Three straight layups by Cameo Wilson, Jenna Cordonnier and Herron extended the margin to 17-8 in the second quarter, but despite having just two field goals the entire first half, Loramie stayed close by converting at the foul line. They were 12 of 16 at the stripe in the first half, eight of 10 in the second period, and only trailed 21-16 at the break after scoring the final five points.
“We weren’t hitting from the field, but we kept battling and did a good job of getting to the foul line,” said Siegel. “We’ve overachieved all year long and never quit.”
The third stanza, though, would be all Russia as the Lady Raiders outscored Loramie 13-2. Russia tallied the first 11 points of the period, including a long-distance three by Herron, and held the Lady Redskins to just one field goal for the third consecutive quarter.
“We were very sound defensively today,” said Russia coach Andy Timmerman. “We committed too many fouls in the second quarter and Loramie took advantage of that at the foul line, but we made some adjustments and did a better job on that and on taking care of the ball in the second half.”
The Raiders maintained that double-digit lead the rest of the way despite not having a field goal themselves in the fourth quarter by going 15 of 18 at the foul line.
The loss was the first for Loramie in the sectionals in 10 years and one day as Russia defeated the Lady Redskins 50-45 on Feb. 24, 2007.
Russia shot 43 percent for the game while Loramie was at 20 percent after hitting five of 14 shots in the final period.
“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” said Siegel. “When you’re playing in a sectional final with an inexperienced team going against a very good and experienced team, you need to hit shots and we weren’t able to do that.”
Herron led Russia with 20 points, 14 coming in the second half, while Cordonnier had eight off the bench.
“Maria took over in the second half and her four years of experience showed,” said Timmerman. “Her, Tiffany Hatcher and Whitney Pleiman give us a very good guard presence and that was big down the stretch.”
Holthaus posted a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds for Loramie, but no other Redskin had more than six.
Russia (49) — Poling 4, Hatcher 4, Wilson 7, Pleiman 6, Herron 20, Cordonnier 8.
Fort Loramie (36) — Luebke 6, Stang 3, Ratermann 4, Meyer 1, Holthaus 12, Frey 6, Gephart 1, Barga 1.
Score by quarters:
Records: Russia 20-5, Loramie 16-9.