They were decked out in the correct colors and the faces were familiar, but that wasn’t much help to Fort Loramie girls basketball coach Carla Siegel. The team that had forged its way to the program’s seventh final four high school state tournament was missing in action.
“I was like, this doesn’t even look like my team,” Siegel said. “I didn’t know what they were doing for the first 16 minutes. We weren’t running our sets, we weren’t attacking. We couldn’t get any transition going. We had girls on the wrong side of the floor. I was like, what’s going on out there?”
Stuck in idle, Loramie finally busted loose against top-ranked Ottoville in the fourth quarter and won their Division IV semifinal in overtime 49-42 on Friday at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.
The win propels the Redskins (26-3) into today’s 5:15 p.m. state final against Berlin Hiland (26-3), the 2-12 state runner-up. Coupled with Anna’s D-III state title game against Columbus Africentric at 10:45 a.m. today, it gives the Shelby County League two teams in the girls state finals.
Darian Rose scored a game-high 21 points for the Redskins, including nine in OT. She hit 10 of 13 free throws and added five steals and five assists.
Loramie, hopelessly out of sync early against the Big Green (27-1), was limited to two first-quarter points. As taxing as that was, the Redskins trailed just 4-2 after the period.
Sub Hallie Benanzer buried three treys in the second quarter to inject some life into Loramie’s offense. She added another trey and 12 mostly bonus points in all. Siegel said the 5-foot-5 sophomore hadn’t played significant minutes in any big game this season.
“We had some girls step up who rarely play,” said Siegel.
Loramie never led in regulation. Meg Westerheide’s only bucket with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter knotted the teams at 39-all to force the extra session.
That’s when Rose took over. She had seven four-quarter points and added seven OT free throws. Held scoreless in the first half, Rose was on a second-half mission.
“I felt really bad because my team looks to me to lead them and I wasn’t able to do that in the first half,” the 5-8 junior said. “I was pretty upset with myself.”
Rachel Beining led Ottoville with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
This marks the seventh time Loramie has been to the final four. However, the Redskins are still looking for their first title. Loramie was the state runner-up in 2011.