COLUMBUS — There was no time to think about it when it happened.
Minster’s Courtney Prenger was zoned in and focused on winning a state title.
But minutes after Minster defeated Ottoville 63-48 to win the state title, Prenger thought of her friend, Ottoville’s Bridget Landin, who spent nearly the whole fourth quarter on the bench with a head injury.
Minster won its third girls basketball state championship with the win over Ottoville in the Division IV girls basketball state championship Saturday in Ohio State’s Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center.
Minster was clinging to a 43-42 lead with 6:49 to go when Landin and Prenger got tangled up under the basket.
Landin came crashing down, with her head hitting the floor.
She got up woozy and was taken to the Ohio State training room.
With Landin out, Minster pulled away to the victory, including going on a 16-0 run to close the game.
“It definitely made me sad,” Prenger said of Landin not finishing the game. “Their coach (Dave Kleman) came up to talk to me after the game and I said, ‘tell Bridget I love her and I wish she could play one more season.’
“I was disappointed because no one wants to finish their season like that. Luckily, you could say, she gets to go off and have a career at Findlay. But I know anyone would have loved to finish their career on the Schott with the rest of their team.’’
Added Minster’s Taylor Kogge, “She (Prenger) was crying afterward when Bridget got her (runner-up) medal.’’
Prenger was standing right there when Landin hit the floor hard.
“It was Taylor (Kogge) and I right there, then I know she (Landin) got tangled up,” Prenger said. “She (Landin) tripped over my feet.’’
Landin admitted to being dizzy when she got up.
Added Ottoville coach Dave Kleman, “It wasn’t like Courtney grabbed her and threw her down or anything. That wasn’t the case. It was just a basketball play and something happened.’’
Landin returned to the bench for the final few minutes, but the medical staff ruled that she was out for the game.
“We knew just because she was out they weren’t going to stop going hard,” Prenger said.
Kogge added, “They still had a lot of height, but they obviously lost something when she sat down.’’
Landin finished with 13 points and four assists. She scored nine points in the third quarter in spite of having three fouls.
The 6-foot-2 Prenger has committed to Xavier. She ended up with 17 points, six rebounds and two blocks. She scored eight in the fourth quarter.
Prenger and Landin became good friends last summer while the two played on the same AAU team, the Dayton Lady Hoop Stars.
In fact, during the pregame handshakes, Landin and Prenger hugged at center court.
“Our (AAU) team accomplished a lot and we had great chemistry. I became really close friends with everyone on that team,” Prenger said. “I have a lot of respect for her and I hope to go to make some Findlay games (where Landin will play next year) to watch her. I hope she has a really good career in college. I wish I could play another season with her in AAU, but unfortunately, she’s a senior so I can’t.’’
Prenger wasn’t able to talk to Landin after the game, but hopes to sometime soon.
“Hopefully, I can up there (in Ottoville) sometime and hang out,” Prenger said.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.