Behind historical starts to their basketball campaigns in 2017-18, the girls basketball programs within the Minford Falcons and the New Boston Tigers umbrellas were included in the inaugural version of the Division III and Division IV AP Ohio Girls Basketball Polls that debuted on Tuesday evening.
Minford, who currently sits with an undefeated 12-0 mark and a 9-0 record in the SOC I, has won 10 of its 12 contests by at least 11 points or more in 2017-18 and garnered 34 points (11th place) as a result to place just one point behind Cardington-Lincoln and Doylestown Chippewa for inclusion in the AP Top 10. Seven of the Lady Falcons’ 12 wins have come by more than 25 points, which has led to Minford holding a 28.2 points per game scoring differential as the Lady Falcons have scored 63.7 points per affair while giving up just 35.5 points per bout behind a rock-solid core.
That core, which includes Ashland University basketball signee Erin Daniels, 6-3 post player Ashley Blankenship, three-point sniper Marissa Risner, and Caitlyn Puckett, Livi Shonkwiler, and Zoe Doll, have all have brought junkyard dog mentalities to the floor. Marissa Watters, Hannah Tolle, Mackenzie Watters, Hannah Thacker, and Maddie Slusher, who all bring strong intangibles to the table, comprise the remaining members of Minford’s fleet. The Lady Falcons will take on rival Oak Hill at home on Thursday evening.
As for New Boston, the Lady Tigers, who sit at 11-2 overall and 9-1 in SOC I action en route to an 11th-place ranking in the D-IV Poll, have enjoyed a banner year under Kayla Wiley and look poised to eclipse last year’s 13-win mark behind a strong starting five that includes 1,000-point scorer Ali Hamilton, Peyton Helphinstine, Kaylee Stone, Mariah Buckley, and Lexus Oiler, and a solid bench that is led by Bri Humble and Sammy Oiler.
That core has been vital to New Boston, who already holds a strong 56-49 come-from-behind victory over Clay in overtime, which was done on the road in Rosemount. The Lady Tigers will play the Lady Panthers again in the rematch on Thursday evening in New Boston.
A notable team that has a strong case for inclusion in the AP Division IV Poll is Notre Dame, especially considering that the Lady Titans, who are 12-0 overall and 10-0 in SOC I action, handed New Boston its only double-digit defeat (77-47 on Dec. 18) in 2017-18. Notre Dame, who holds a ridiculous point differential margin of 36.91 points per game. Lexi Smith leads the team in points (15.3) and rebounds (9.0), while Katie Dettwiller (14.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.8 blocks) doesn’t sit too far behind.
Ava Hassel (9.7 points, 4.3 assists, 3.3 steals), Taylor Schmidt (8.6 points, 4.2 steals), Ali Smith (5.1 points) and Molly Hoover (6.7 assists, 2.6 steals) are among the standouts for the Lady Titans, who have more than an arguable case for a state ranking.
In addition to Notre Dame, South Webster, who has a 9-4 record and sits second in the SOC II conference standings, was also omitted from the D-IV rankings despite holding a 6-2 mark in conference action while essentially playing up. Ellie Jo Johnson and Madison Cook have put together All-Ohio caliber numbers while Avery Zempter, Rose Stephens, Kaylee Hadinger, and Baylee Cox are among a few of the many names to have made an impact for the Lady Jeeps in 2017-18.