ELIDA — For some of Wednesday’s participants in the 37th annual girls District 8 All-Star basketball games at the Elida Fieldhouse, it wouldn’t be the last time they would step on a basketball court.
Some of the players will go on to play at the college level.
However, for many of the athletes, it could be the last time they would play competitively in front of a crowd.
In the first game of the night, which featured players in Divisions I-II-III, two student-athletes heading in different paths following graduation made the difference.
Celina’s Kylee Bader led the West squad with 19 points, while teammate Britt Lauck (Shawnee) scored 16 to lead their team to a 71-53 victory over the East. O’sha Owens (Elida) added 10 for the West.
Bader is heading to Wright State University next year to focus on academics, while Lauck will continue her basketball career as she heads to Ohio Northern University to play for coach Michele Durand and her Polar Bears.
Lauck, a first-team all-Western Buckeye League selection, wasn’t sure if she would continue her basketball career at the college level. It wasn’t until this past season she verbally committed to ONU.
“I actually wasn’t going to play,” Lauck said. “I was just going to go to a bigger D-I school for school itself. Then the coach came to a couple games and talked to me and asked me to come for a visit.
“I liked the team and I liked the girls. I thought I would miss sports too much and I decided I wanted to go there. I’m really excited.”
Lauck averaged 14.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in her final season at Shawnee.
Bader, who also was a first team all-WBL selection, wants to focus on academics after she graduates from Celina.
Bader said the pre-game speech from (Shawnee) coach (Jeff) Heistan was pretty simple. Heistan coached the victorious West team.
“Just relax, have fun and play as hard as you can,” Bader said. “Coach just wanted us to have fun and play basketball for the last time.”
Bader was familiar with both her teammates and competitors Wednesday.
“I played other sports with them and with some in AAU,” Bader said. “It was kind of nice to get back together with them and not be so competitive with each other.”
Bath’s Greg Mauk was the coach for the East.
Findlay’s Christina McQueen led the East with 16 points, while Bath’s Emily Ruhe scored 14.
In the nightcap, the Division IV all stars took to the court. The West took control of the game early and went on to a 74-51 win over the East.
The West’s Rachel Beining (Ottoville) led all scorers with 23 points. Beining had plenty of help as nine other players cracked the scoring column. Macy Schroeder (Fort Jennings) and Chelsea Winner (Marion Local) each added 12 points to lead the West.
For the East, Kaylee Patton (Waynesfield-Goshen) was the only player to score in double figures with 11. Taylor Willeke (Ada) and Jordyn Webb (Arlington) each added nine.
The victorious West squad was coached by Crestview’s Greg Rickard and Continental’s Jaaci Carr. The East was coached by Waynesfield-Goshen’s Ted Patton and Leipsic’s Gary Krienbrink.
The 6-foot Beining, who helped lead Ottoville to the Division IV state semifinals this season, will be taking her basketball talents to Bluffton University next school year.
“I’m definitely excited about college,” Beining said. “Playing with girls with this type of experience is a lot of fun and it gives me something to look forward to in college.”