Back-to-back: Minster girls win second straight D-IV state title

Ottoville had seen it before. In pro football and in person.

“I told the girls it’s like playing the New England Patriots for everyone else in the NFL,” Ottoville head coach Dave Kelmen said. “If they just got (Minster) out of the way, everyone else could have a chance to win the dang thing.”

That statement rings true in several sports. Saturday it was girls basketball. Again.

Defending their Division IV state title with a 56-45 win over Ottoville in a rematch of last year’s state championship at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center, a crowd of 4,357 witnessed Minster win its fourth basketball state title and deliver a state championship in a girls sport for the fifth consecutive sports season.

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The string, which started with a 2017 cross country championship, also includes a 2018 track title and 2018 cross country crown.

As a school Minster now owns 36 state titles. The Midwest Athletic Conference tally rises to 131.

The Wildcats beat Ottoville 63-48 in last year’s final.

“The ’36’ chants in our stands started pretty damn prematurely,” Minster head coach Mike Wiss joked. “At least a little earlier than I would have liked. But it speaks to our league, the people around us and the kids that we have. They bring it.”

Much like the teams’ regular season meeting – a 46-28 Minster win on Feb. 4 – the Wildcats delivered another third quarter knockout. In the first game, Minster held the Big Green scoreless in the third quarter. Saturday, Ottoville managed seven points and six turnovers.

Ahead 25-19 at halftime, Minster entered the fourth quarter up 42-25.

Offensively, sophomore Janae Hoying led Minster with 19 points (three 3s), while senior Courtney Prenger added 16. A Xavier recruit, Prenger grabbed eight rebounds to give her a school record 669 for her career.

The duo scored 15 of the Wildcats’ 17 third-quarter points.

“Those two played huge parts in that third quarter,” Wiss said. “That really changed the tempo of the game.”

Defensively, Hoying and sophomore Ivy Wolf teamed together to hold Ottoville’s All-Ohioan Kasey Knippen to nine points. The Big Green shot 30-percent (12-of-40) from the field.

“Wolf and Hoying are pretty good defenders,” Knippen said. “I never look forward to going up against them.”

Said Klemen: “(Minster) makes it so tough to get an open look. That’s why they’re so good. There always contesting.”

Ottoville came out intent on authoring a different finish. The Big Green held a 13-9 lead after the first quarter and were up 16-13 with 5:27 left in the second.

A Hoying 3-pointer put the Wildcats in front 18-16 with 4:02 to play before half. The bomb was part of a 29-10 run that included the third quarter.

Ivy Wolf added nine points for Minster, while senior Demaris Wolf had six assists and five rebounds.

The win was Minster’s 99th in four years. It was also Hoying’s fifth state title in five high school seasons.

Said the sophomore: “On the way home it will sink in.”

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