Minster Hosts Versailles In Key MAC Encounter

Staff Writer

Before the season started Minster head boys basketball coach Michael McClurg said he had plenty of confidence in his talented group of players, but he wasn’t sure if this group was ready to win a Midwest Athletic Conference title.

After a 9-3 start to the season and 3-0 mark out of the gate in the MAC, the Wildcats will find out if they’re ready over the next eight days.

Minster will host first-place Versailles on Friday night, host St. Henry on Monday in a rescheduled game and then travel to Marion Local on Friday, Feb. 2 in a stretch that will make or break Minster’s MAC title hopes.

After a late start to conference play, Minster has started MAC play 3-0 with wins over Delphos St. John’s, Coldwater and New Bremen. Now come, along with Minster, three of the top four teams in the MAC standings in succession.

Versailles features the newly-minted MAC all-time leading scorer, Justin Ahrens, whose triple double of 38 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists led the way to a win over Fort Recovery last Friday and eclipsed the 1,744 point mark. Ahrns, a future Ohio State Buckeye, came into last weekend averaging 26 points per game  and 7.8 rebounds per contest.

Minster gutted out a win over rival New Bremen on Friday and then took top-ranked Fort Loramie to overtime before falling by a single point.

The Wildcats have had success by being the MAC’s best 3-point shooting team. They entered the weekend hitting a MAC-best 39 percent of its treys.

Isaac Schmiesing lead the Wildcats in scoring at 17 points per game while center Jarod Schulze is one of the league’s top rim protectors at 3.9 blocks per game.

Versailles has won three of the last four meetings against Minster, including last year’s 75-60 win in Darke County. A home game against Versailles has been a rare occurence, in a quirk of the MAC’s scheduling. Five of the last six meeting have been at Versailles, with Minster winning the lone meeting when it’s been hosting (a 65-58 win in 2015).

In other MAC action, Marion Local is hitting its stride in January having won four straight and seven of its last eight games. The Flyers go to a scuffling Fort Recovery that is still searching for its first MAC win.

St. Henry hasn’t lost since before Christmas, a nine-game win streak that takes them into a rivalry game at Coldwater in the hunt for the MAC crown at 2-1 in the league.

 St. John’s will host Parkway and New Bremen, which played Minster tough on Friday will go to New Knoxville to face a Ranger team that has lost three straight games and five of its last six contests.