Ava Lickliter of Carroll (front) beats Jordan Rogers to the ball. Carroll defeated Franklin 57-43 in a girls high school basketball D-II regional final at Springfield High School on Friday, March 8, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Girls state: Waynesville, Carroll, Minster shooting for championships

The 44th annual girls high school basketball state final four is this week and all that’s missing is an area Division I rep.

Waynesville and Carroll are up first on Thursday at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center. Waynesville (26-0) will play Doylestown Chippewa (25-1) in a Division III state semifinal at 3 p.m.

Carroll (25-2) will play Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (18-9) in a D-II semi at 6 p.m.

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Led by seniors Rachel Murray (19.8 points) and Marcella Sizer (13.3), Waynesville is making its second state final four appearance. The Spartans came close to doing so last season, losing to Versailles in a regional final. It was Waynesville that eliminated Versailles in a regional semi this season. Waynesville defeated Cincinnati Purcell Marian 39-35 in a regional final at Springfield.

Elisabeth Bush of Carroll sets the offense. Carroll defeated Franklin 57-43 in a girls high school basketball D-II regional final at Springfield High School on Friday, March 8, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Overseeing all that Spartans success is Tim Gabbard, in his 39th season at Waynesville and the D-III coach of the year. Waynesville lost 41-38 to Patrick Henry in a 2005 D-III state semi.

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Carroll returns to the state final four also for only its second time. The Patriots were the D-II state runner-up in 2011, falling 54-41 to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown in the championship.

Patriots senior Elisabeth Bush (13.5 points) and junior Julia Keller (13.3) shared co-player of the year honors in the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North. Carroll also shared the Associated Press D-II state poll title with Poland Seminary.

The GCL Co-Ed North representation in the D-II final four is consistent. Alter won consecutive state titles from 2015-17 and was runner-up in 2014. Chaminade Julienne won three of five title appearances from 1999-2005 and also advanced to a final four in 2013.

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Carroll was toppled by Franklin in triple overtime in a district final last season. That was reversed in last Friday’s regional final, a 57-43 Carroll win.

Megan Leraas of Carroll (left) beats Skyler Weir of Franklin to a rebound. Carroll defeated Franklin 57-43 in a girls high school basketball D-II regional final at Springfield High School on Friday, March 8, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

“We were a pretty young team last year,” Carroll coach Cecilia Grosselin said. “We identified some weaknesses we needed to work on and that was definitely on top of our list as we started preparing for this (season).”

On Friday, Minster (26-1) takes the next step in defending its D-IV state title by playing Willoughby Cornerstone Christian (23-4) at 1 p.m.

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The Wildcats are led by sophomore guard Ivy Wolf (13.0 points), the Midwest Athletic Conference player of the year and a first-team All-Ohioan.

Minster’s only loss was 56-48 in double overtime at Fort Loramie in early January. But Minster won the rematch, 43-29 in Saturday’s regional final at Butler.

All the semifinal winners advance to the four state championships on Saturday. All four finals will be carried live on Spectrum News 1 (Channel 1).

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