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Fort Loramie girls basketball runs off with OHSAA Division IV state title with win over Waterford

It is the fourth state title in Fort Loramie program history

DAYTON, Ohio - The name of the game on Saturday for Fort Loramie in the OHSAA Division IV state championship game was transition, both offensively and defensively. 

The Redskins used that transition to take home a 42-29 win over Waterford to win the program's fourth state title.

Fort Loramie (28-2) turned 20 Waterford turnovers into 26 points, with 16 of those coming on fast breaks. 

"These girls always look at me, they beg to press," Fort Loramie head coach Carla Siegel said. "We told them today before the game that we're gonna let them shine and let them excel. The thing about Waterford today is they were very fast and they beat us a couple of times long. So we had to readjust the diamond press and went to more of a full court man press. That way we weren't losing players long."

On the other end, Waterford was only able to turn Fort Loramie over seven times and scored just four points off those turnovers in part because the Redskins continued to hustle down the floor after each one. 

And when the Redskins had to settle in to a half-court offense, they could do that, too. When Fort Loramie had possession late in the third quarter off a free throw make by Waterford, the Redskins set it up and Sumer Hoying made a perfect pass to Victoria Mescher on a back cut for an easy layup.

And with just under two minutes to go in the game and the Waterford defense in scramble mode, Fort Loramie stayed composed and Avery Brandewie hit Hoying on the same back cut for a layup to make it 37-26.

"We were telling our girls to get the reversal and then hit the middle because we knew the middle would be open," Siegel said. "I thought (our baseline cutters) did a good job and then the passers did a good job of finding them."

And of course, even when it looked like the offense didn't have anything going, the Redskins still scored. As the third quarter was winding down, Fort Loramie looked like it would not get a shot off but a pass intended for a teammate was grabbed by Avery  Brandewie and she banked in a 3-pointer to give the Redskins a 33-21 lead after three quarters. 

"I don't even know what was going through my mind to be completely honest," Brandewie said. "I saw the time on the clock, I just grabbed the ball in the air and I just I just shot it."

Brandewie led the Redskins with 17 points. and eight rebounds and Hoying added eight points and five assists.

Fort Loramie players celebrate winning the 2024 OHSAA Division IV state championship game over Waterford.

Fort Loramie players celebrate winning the 2024 OHSAA Division IV state championship game over Waterford.

Kendall Sury led all scorers with 19 points for Waterford, including all eight for Waterford in the first quarter.  But she was forced to sit the final 3:58 of the second quarter after picking up her third foul. Waterford scored just three points in the quarter. 

More than her scoring, the Wildcats missed her length on the floor to pass the ball to the right spots.

"It hurt because with Elsie (Malec) and Laykyn (Jones) being smaller guards, we couldn't get the ball where we needed to," Waterford head coach Jerry Close said. "Kendall does a great job of getting it into where we need to get it."

The last time the Redskins hoisted the state championship trophy was 2021, which was the year the crowds were limited due to COVID-19. So the atmosphere on Saturday was way different that it was three years ago.

"Before the game I was talking to my assistant coaches about how that arena was three years ago with 300 Loramie fans in there, that was it," Siegel said. "And that was really hard for that team. I think I think they felt cheated because they couldn't have the whole community there. So today, I would say in all the times that we've been here, that was probably the biggest crowd we had. I think they were equally hungry to watch these girls win a state title."

In the game's final seconds, the Fort Loramie student section started chanting "we love Carla!"

"The students section, I can't say enough about them," Siegel said.  "Those boys. It's the junior class. I don't know what Avery was telling them but they started that raucous cheering. being loud, bringing energy for the team at the regional final game against Marion Local, and they have just been fantastic."

-- Ryan Isley | | @sbliveoh