Just over a week ago, the prognosis for a local girls basketball team reaching the state tournament looked pretty good. At least a regional appearance.
Three schools were competing for district titles — Waite (Division I) and Division III contenders Lake and Genoa on March 7.
Starting at 7 p.m., and ending shortly thereafter, all three teams saw their season come to an end, breaking the hearts of fans and players at all three schools.
At Perrysburg’s so-called “arena” on Roachton Road, Waite fell victim to City League champion Start for the third time this season, 65-50. Start won its regional semifinal and was to face undefeated Perrysburg at Norwalk in an all-Northwest Ohio regional final on Saturday for the right to head to Columbus this weekend.
At Findlay High School, Lake’s undefeated season came to an end at the hands of Liberty-Benton, 45-41. At Old Fort, Genoa’s season ended at the hands of Margaretta, 43-37.
The three schools combined can be credited for six of the 10 players that make up the 2008-09 Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press first and second teams. In addition, first-year Lake coach Denny Meyer has been chosen Coach of the Year and Bowling Green State University-bound Genoa senior guard Simone Eli Player of the Year.
All 10 area coaches and 10 area media personnel representing Press contributing writers and Toledo Sports Radio.com were given the opportunity to vote.
Picking up where former Lake coach Richard Fox had left off, Denny Meyer left his assistant coaching job at Oak Harbor, took two players including his daughter with him to Lake, and then led the Flyers to a perfect 20-0 regular season and Suburban Lakes League and sectional championships.
Meyer dominated voting for Coach of the Year, but Genoa coach Tom Kontak, Waite coach Manny May, and Clay coach Roger Achter all received votes.
Coach Achter nearly led the Clay Eagles to the City League final four, and two of his players, 5-7 senior guard Lauren Taylor and 5-8 senior center Jessica Achter, just missed in voting to make All-Press second team. Jessica is the coach’s daughter and sister of former Clay and BGSU-great Katie Achter,
Eli led the area in scoring at 20.7 points per game, and is joined on the first team by Waite 6-3 junior forward Natasha Howard, the daughter of a former University of Toledo basketball player; Gibsonburg’s 5-10 senior guard/forward Katie Jones; and two Lake Flyers — 5-8 sophomore guard sensation Kaysie Brittenham and 5-8 senior guard Rebekah Will, a transfer from Oak Harbor.
Eli walked away with Player of the Year honors, but Howard and Will both received votes. For Lake, getting two players on the first team is one reflection of their perfect regular season.
“She is an excellent all around player,” Coach Meyer said of three-year starter Rebekah Will, who led the team with 69 assists. “Rebekah is one of the best defenders on our team, whether she is guarding a point guard or a post. In the last nine games, because of injuries, Rebekah had to play defense on opposing post players. During those nine games she averaged six rebounds per game.
“Kaysie started off a little slow getting used to not being a point guard. The last half of the season, her scoring really came on,” Meyer continued. “Kaysie is an excellent shooter, which is proven by her shooting percentages. (49 percent from 2-point territory, 36 percent from 3-point.)”
Waite has two players on the second team, including 5-9 junior guard Mariah Haynes and 6-2 junior forward Amanda Gregory. Joining them are Cardinal Stritch 5-4 junior guard Nicole Lamb, Gibsonburg 6-0 senior forward Emily Clark, and Eastwood 5-6 senior guard Brooke Gottfried.