Minster Girls Basketball A Game Away From State Berth

Staff Writer

The Minster girls basketball girls basketball team put on perhaps its finest defensive performance of the season in its biggest game to date.

The Wildcats smothered the Russia Raiders 41-24 in a Division IV regional semifinal at Vandalia’s Butler High School on Thursday night, putting Minster a win away from its first  state berth since 2010.

In the Wildcats’ way? Another Shelby County League team in an Elite Eight match-up. SCL champion Jackson Center defeated Tri-Village 42-29 in Thursdsay’s opening game to set up a re-match between Minster and the Tigers on Saturday night at 7 p.m. Minster won the regular season match-up against Jackson Center 62-498 back on Jan. 10  in a game played at JCHS. Minster has won the last 11 meeting against Jackson Center, dating back to the Tigers’ win over Minster in a regular season game back in November 2005.

Minster, a team that gives up just 35.5 points per game defensively, held an opponent to fewer than 30 points for the 10th time this season — this time against a Russia squad that went 9-3 in Shelby County League play.

Minster didn’t allow Russia to make its first basket from the floor until 5:40 left in the second quarter, a defensive effort that made up for a slow offensive start for the Wildcats that saw them struggle in the first quarter.

Russia put together several back-to-back baskets that drew them within four points and to be within 18-12 at the half, but Minster controlled the action throughout. For the second straight game blew open a tournament game in the second half, this time  scoring 11 straight points to start the second half.

Ali Borgerding knocked down a key 3-pointer at the top of the key to extend the lead and scored nine points. Courtney Prenger again controlled the paint on defense and also scored nine points, including a 3-pointer.

The pace of the game could be important. Jackson Center spread out the floor, ran clock and drew fouls to knock off a Tri-Village team desperate to speed up the pace of the game. Minster has shown the ability to play at all speeds, winning their district title game against Upper Scioto Valley in a baseline-to-baseline type of game while knocking off Russia in a contest dominated by half court play.

Jackson Center enters the game on a six-game winning streak since losing to Versailles back on Feb. 11. Minster has won eight straight since a road loss at state-ranked Arlington back on Feb. 4.