By Barb VanSickle-Roush
The Scioto County Candor
The fairy tale season of the Notre Dame Lady Titans came to a bittersweet end with the villainous Waterford Lady Wildcats took the win 48-30 in Thursday night in the first round of regional tournament play.
But like all Disney fairy tales, no one in this story is truly a loser. The Lady Titans finished their season #3 in the state, division champions, and with a 25-1 season record. While the Lady Wildcats are ranked #1 in the state and get to move on to the sectional finals on Saturday.
In true Notre Dame fashion, the entire community came out to cheer for their team. Taking up their entire section, a quarter of the Waterford section, and much of the media section which was just standing room only, they were there to cheer on their team.
The intensity in the air was palpable as the teams came out to warm up for the game. Each side cheering on their team and trying to be louder than the other side.
Notre Dame Coach J.D. McKenzie knew the beginning of the game was going to be very important for the Lady Titans.
“First few minutes are going to be super important,” said Coach McKenzie. “We need to be able to break their pressure, get into our offense, and knock down some shots, so that’s what we’re hoping will happen early.”
Although the girls had been pretty loose, McKenzie knew the butterflies would come and they would need to take control of those feeling quickly.
“They’ve been pretty loose, so I feel like they’re confident and they are excited to be here and haven’t been real nervy, but the nerves will probably hit about 2 minutes before that clock goes off to start the game,” continues McKenzie. “So, the start of the game is going to be a big deal for us, so we can handle our nerves and get into a flow.”
Coming out and scoring the first two points of the game and jumping ahead early, it looked like Notre Dame had those nerves under control. But sometimes looks can be deceiving.
The second quarter was hard for the Lady Titans, as baskets weren’t falling, and Freshman starter, Ava Hassle, was carried out of the game due to what appeared to be a left knee injury.
After half time, the Lady Titans came out looking like their old selves, but unfortunately it just wasn’t enough. For every shot the Titans made the Wildcats answered. Leaving the final score 30-48.
The Waterford Lady Wildcats have been the bane of our teams here in Scioto County for some time now. This year alone they beat the District Champion Minford Lady Falcons during the regular season, giving them their only loss. Waterford defeated the New Boston Lady Tigers for the district championship. Then the Lady Wildcats went on to take out the Lady Titans in Thursday nights regional game.
But even with that in mind, you can not take anything away from or downplay Notre Dame’s amazing season. Being victorious over everyone they took on and only losing to the #1 team in the state. You can’t knock the Lady Titan’s talent or their willingness to work as a team and not just focus on themselves.
The Lady Titans can hold their heads high knowing they played with all their hearts, that they played selflessly, and knowing they have made their community very proud.