As the girls’ high school season comes to a close this week, teams are bracing for the postseason and all are looking to make a deep run in the tournament.
Some teams have cooled off since a hot start while other teams are beginning to hit their stride.
Here are five things to look for in the girls postseason.
1. How far can Bath go?
Bath, winners of the Western Buckeye League this year, have been impressive this season. After knocking off Ottawa-Glandorf for the first time in five years, the Wildkittens, ranked fifth in the state coming into this week, have big wins over Fort Loramie, Crestview and Ottoville.
The Wildkittens have lost twice this season and that was to Minster, ranked No. 4 in Division IV, and a tough Tri-Village team.
The Wildkittens are riding a four-game winning streak and open tournament play against Maumee. If the bracket goes as the rankings, and let’s face it there is always upsets, Bath will face No. 1 seeded and No.1 ranked Napoleon in the district final. Napoleon is 15-1.
2. Don’t discount Ottawa-Glandorf.
The Titans may not have one the WBL this year but Ottawa-Glandorf, ranked sixth in the state always proves to be a formidable opponent and has been highly successful in the tournament the past several years. This postseason should be no different. Losing only two games this season, the Titans (18-2) appear ready for another big run and are the No. 1 seed. The teams only two losses are to Bath and Ft. Loramie and that was back on Jan. 16. Since then O-G has reeled off seven straight wins.
In the Elida District the Titans early test may come against their old nemesis, Liberty-Benton, who they beat Jan. 30 40-35.
3. Who are some of the frontrunners in Division IV?
Most of the area teams are in three districts, Defiance, Van Wert and Wapakoneta and each bracket has its fair share of teams that can make a major run.
In the Defiance district, Crestview, 15-3, overall has is the No. 1 seed and has a great mix of seniors and underclassmen that has developed into one of the better teams in the area. The Knights will face some test in Wayne Trace (14-5), the No. 2 seed and Ottoville (13-7), the No. 3 seed.
In the Van Wert District, Columbus Grove (13-7) is the No. 1 seed with fellow Putnam County Rivals Leipsic (12-9), the No. 5 seed, Miller City (14-5), the No. four seed and Kalida (14-5) the No. 2 seed all in the mix. Grove has had its fair share of ups and downs this season and will need a strong outings to get through one of the toughest brackets in the area. Other teams in this bracket are Delphos St. John’s (9-8) and Bluffton (11-10).
Minster is No. 1 seed in the Wapakoneta district and appears to be the frontrunner. The Wildcats are 19-1 and look like a contender to make it to state. Midwest Athletic Conference foes New Knoxville is the no. 2 seed in the district and Marion Local is the No. 3 seed. With Ft. Recovery as the No. 4 seed and New Bremen rounding out the top five seeds, it will be interesting to see if any of the non MAC teams such as Ridgemont, Lima Central Catholic or Waynesfield-Goshen can break through the MAC blockade.
4. Every year a team catches fire and makes a surprise run who are some of the dark horses this year?
In Division II. St. Marys (15-5), which has had a big postseason run last year, is one to watch and in Division III, Delphos Jefferson (16-4) and Spencerville (13-7) are two Northwest Conference teams poised for a big postseason. Both teams have talented players and will need their best efforts to get through a competitive Division III Elida District. In Division IV, Ottoville has a reputation of playing its best basketball in the postseason and Columbus Grove, Leipsic and Ottoville are three squads who can also beat anybody on any given night.
5. Expect the unexpected.
Let’s face it. With the pandemic it is a time of unpredictability and uncertainty and this tournament should be the same so it will be interesting to see who comes out in the end and who develops into a contender and deals with all the rigors and restrictions that Covid-19 has provided. Teams will need to be mentally prepared for changes and playing to smaller crowds. Self motivation, perseverance and a little luck will all be essential for teams to make it the final four this year.