Badin girls basketball playing tonight for first trip to state in 17 years: What they’re facing

Credit: Michael Cooper

Credit: Michael Cooper

The Badin girls basketball team began exceeding expectations in late January. The Rams were 7-8 then. Now they are 18-9 and one win from playing in the Division II final four.

The 11-1 run included a 20-point victory over Roger Bacon in the district finals. The Rams had lost to Bacon by 18 points in early December and six points on Feb. 4.

“We expected it – the coaches,” Rams coach Tom Sunderman said. “I’m going to be very honest with you. I said this after the Bacon game. There were a lot of people didn’t think we would get this far outside our locker room.”

The next opponent is Dayton Carroll (19-4) at 7:30 Friday in the regional final at Springfield High School. The Patriots are another team the Rams aren’t supposed to be good enough to beat. Carroll has been to the state final four the past two years. The Patriots beat Badin 59-56 in overtime on Jan. 4 and 45-33 on Jan. 23. Carroll is on a run of its own with 12 wins in its last 13 games.

“Badin’s a good team, they’re a tough team,” Carroll coach Cecelia Grosselin said. “We know it’s going to be a battle and it’s going to require a lot of preparation. We told them tonight, ‘You cannot take this team lightly.’”

Badin started fast in its 50-49 semifinal victory Tuesday over Columbus Bishop Hartley. The Rams led 23-11 early in the first quarter on the strength of five 3-pointers by five different players. Then they had to hold off Hartley in the fourth quarter. Mahya Lindesmith’s 3-pointer and Jada Pohlen’s driving layup made the difference in the final minutes.

Carroll has been a second-half team, so a fast start could be important to Badin again. Carroll led the first meeting by four at halftime. Badin led the second meeting by two at halftime but got outscored 28-14 in the second half.

The Patriots trailed Valley View by six at halftime Tuesday, then held the Spartans to 10 points in the second half to win 45-36. The Patriots also trailed top-seeded Tippecanoe by 13 points in the third quarter in the district semifinals before coming back to win 57-48.

Badin’s last trip to the Division II state tournament was in 2004 when the Rams were led by second-team all-state player Jenni Horvath. The Rams lost in the final to Beloit West Branch. The Rams were also runner-up in 2000 and won their only state title in 1998.

The Badin-Carroll winner will face Napoleon or Norton in a state semifinal at 11 a.m., Friday, March 12, at UD Arena.

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