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Curtain falls on Mogadore’s season, but not before valiant effort vs. top-seeded Loudonville

Curtain falls on Mogadore’s season, but not before valiant effort vs. top-seeded Loudonville


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


At every turn this season, a new adversity was staring straight back at the Mogadore girls basketball team.

And it started on the first night of the season.

In the Cats’ opener, senior leader and scoring phenom Brook McIntyre, who had already eclipsed 1,000 points as a junior, broke her right fibula.

Two games later, one of the players expected to help fill some of McIntyre’s void, Kasey Bolyard, also broke her fibula.

A day after that, in a freak accident in gym class, Eden Cameron fractured her thumb.

Then Rylee Clark had a stress fracture in her back.

Then McKenna Clark cut her finger and was out with stitches.

An already small roster, Mogadore went 96 days without its full set of players in a practice.

Even still, the Wildcats took the floor on Saturday to fight for a district championship.

In some ways, the fact Mogadore advanced to the final already told part of the team’s story.

“The girls have been more than amazing this year and the strange thing is that all of the things that went against us this year is actually the exact reason why we were here,” Mogadore girls basketball head coach Jen Ritch said. “We learned how to play through adversity, and we learned how to win in a variety of ways.”

On Saturday, the Cats continued their inspired play, but ultimately, could not keep running with one of the best teams in the state.

Loudonville, the district’s No. 1 seed, continued its impressive season with a 61-44 victory to win the program’s second district title in the last four seasons.

The Redbirds, who are now 24-2 on the season and have won seven in a row, jumped out to a 10-2 lead early and were ahead 21-7 after the first quarter. Mogadore’s early game struggles included a stretch of just over 5 minutes without scoring.

However, from the start of the second quarter on, the Wildcats (13-12) were only outscored 40-37 and at different points in the second and third quarters, the Cats cut their deficit to single-digits.

The closest was 39-31 in the third quarter and the last being 44-35 early in the fourth quarter, which triggered a 7-0 run by the Birds that pushed the lead back out to 51-35 and was capped by a 3-pointer at the top of the arc by Jena Guilliams.

“We have been the underdogs all year, and we have been undersized all year,” Ritch said. “Today was no different, but I truly feel that, pound for pound, we have some of the toughest competitors that you will find. That is how Mogadore is and these girls will go down in history as some of the toughest players the school has ever seen. I am so very proud of these girls. I love them.

We knew were going to come in and battle as tough as we could. We talked about the ‘What if’ moment, and we visualized it, but (Loudonville) is a super tough team. They are very good, but we proved we can hang with them.”

Loudonville’s signature pressure defense forced Mogadore into 18 turnovers and consistently tested the Cats’ endurance.

However, every time it appeared like the Redbirds were on a trajectory to truly put the game out of reach, the Wildcats (13-12) would rally together on both sides of the court to keep within striking distance.

Loudonville senior Corri Vermilya finished the game with 23 points on 8-of-21 shooting and was a perfect 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. She added 11 rebounds and three assists. She is the only player in OHSAA basketball history — boys or girls — to total more than 2,200 points (2,361), 1,200 rebounds (1,211), 300 assists (331), 500 steals (537) and 100 blocks (130).

She was joined in double-digits on Saturday by Tiffin-commit and senior Sophia Spangler, who had 12 points. Freshman Mya Vermilya and senior Jena Guilliams each added nine points.

Mogadore’s offensive leader was McIntyre, who scored 19 points, including three 3-pointers. The 5-foot-3 senior also had 11 rebounds.

“These have been the best four years and the fact that they are over now is hard to accept,” McIntyre said. “It is hard for me because basketball has been such an important part of my life. It has been my main sport and coach Ritch has been so great. Right now it is hard, but I am so proud of our team. We all worked as hard as we could for each other, and had fun, and that is all we wanted from each other. That is all we asked for.”

Amelia Morris scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, while Ari Tompkins added eight points.

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