DAYTON — Film and a preseason scrimmage in 2019 gave Crestview a preview of what Fort Loramie could do but they didn’t tell the whole story.
In person and at full strength the Redskins were even more impressive when they rolled to a 66-24 win over the Knights in a Division IV girls basketball state semifinal on Thursday at the University of Dayton Arena.
Fort Loramie (28-1) came into the final four as many people’s pick to win the Division IV state championship and it lived up to that role.
“It’s just been a special year for us. But give credit to Fort Loramie. They were a buzz saw. We had to play almost a perfect game to win today and it just wasn’t our day,” Crestview coach Mark Gregory said.
Crestview finished its season 23-4 and saw a 13-game winning streak end against a team which qualified for the state tournament last season but never got to play when COVID-19 canceled the tournament.
Dana Rose scored 22 points to lead Fort Loramie’s offense and its defense forced 24 turnovers — 15 of them in the first half. Kenzie Hoelscher scored 12 points and Corynn Heitkamp had 10 points.
Crestview stayed close early despite turning the ball over on five of its first six possessions. It was a one-point game, with Fort Loramie leading 10-9 with just over a minute to play in the first quarter, when the Redskins got a 3-pointer and a pair of 2-point goals in rapid succession to go up 17-9 at the end of the quarter.
By halftime, the lead had grown to 40-18. And by late in the third quarter, the game moved into running clock territory when Fort Loramie went up by 35 points.
“Once we got that eight point lead I think the girls just relaxed and started playing — I know everyone is tired of hearing it — started playing Loramie ball,” Fort Loramie coach Carla Siegel said.
“Our girls were amped up and missed some shots we usually make and I think the same was probably true for Crestview. We finally settled down in that second quarter,” she said. “We thought our defense would cause them some problems but I wasn’t expecting it to cause that many problems for them.”
Crestview and Fort Loramie scrimmaged before last season. But the Knights saw a different version of Fort Loramie that day.
“We scrimmaged them last year in the preseason but they were missing their volleyball players. They had probably 12 or 13 players and half of them weren’t their starters,” Mark Gregory said. “It’s one thing to see them on film and another thing in person.”
Despite the one-sided score, Crestview was able to see its state tournament experience in a positive light.
“It’s hard to end it here but you think about how some teams aren’t able to do this. When you have a season like this it’s a great experience,” senior Bailey Gregory said.
Mark Gregory said, “I’m extremely proud of my team. We’ve had a lot of adversity this year. This team truly has come together and formed a truly awesome bond. I wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else. We’ve got a lot of family ties on this team and it’s just been a special year for us.”
Fort Loramie was on the bus on its way to Columbus to play in the girls state tournament last season when the Ohio High School Athletic Association decided to halt it.
“I think we used that as a fire in our bellies and it gave us a little more determination to go out and finish what we didn’t get to last year,” Hoelscher said.
Fort Loramie will play McDonald on Saturday for the Division IV state championship.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.