In what has already been the best basketball season in Vinton County girls basketball history, it has a chance to add to its legacy this weekend in Dayton.
The Vikings have blitzed their way through the competition thus far, winning all five tournament games against Gallia Academy, Waverly, Circleville, Tri-Valley and Sheridan by an average margin of 27.6 points.
Now that they’ve established themselves as the best team in Southeast Ohio, they’ll attempt to become the best team in the state inside of Division II.
A date with Shaker Heights Laurel awaits the Vikings in a Division II state semifinal.
Here’s a preview of the game:
Vinton County (25-1)
The Vikings are riding a 12-game winning streak following their lone loss to Dublin Coffman, who recently lost at the buzzer to Newark in a Division I regional final on Saturday.
This game is what the Vikings have been waiting on for the last three years, and they’re playing like it.
Myriah Davis and Cameron Zinn have been playing some of their best basketball throughout the tournament run. Both players have scored double figures in all five games, meanwhile Tegan Bartoe, Morgan Bentley and Lacie Williams have all hit huge, timely shots that just add to the fire.
But it’s defensively where this team has reached another level.
They’re bringing the physicality to teams and being proactive instead of reactive. Approaching with a more aggressive style on the inside, it’s helped hold players like Circleville’s Kenzie McConnell, Tri-Valley’s Lexi Howe and Sheridan’s Faith Stinson well below their season averages.
In total, they’re allowing just 33.6 points for game during this tournament run with 43 points against Waverly being the most they’ve surrendered.
This is Vinton County’s first time being on the state tournament stage. Then again, it was also its first time being in regionals and it won the championship.
Will a state championship be next?
Shaker Heights Laurel (22-4)
As for the Gators, this is also their first-ever trip to the state stage after earning their first-ever regional title as well this season.
Their four losses on the season have come to Newark, Reynoldsburg, Olmsted Falls and Hiland — all four of whom won district titles with Newark and Hiland winning regional titles as well.
Laurel is battle-tested and filled with talent, led by two-time Northeast Lakes Player of the Year and Ohio State commit Taylor Thierry and sophomore Mari Bickley, who scored 19 points in its regional final victory over Perry.
Haley Thierry does a little bit of everything for the Gators on both sides of the ball, while Kendall Baarten, Autumn Taylor and Margaret Jones add to the mix as well.
As a team, they have given up just 30.6 points per game with 40 points being the most against Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy.
When and Where
University of Dayton Arena on Friday at 2:00.
Buckle up for this one.