Southwest Ohio Huddle: Mount Notre Dame and Lakota West renew girls basketball rivalry

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Southwest Ohio Huddle

The Mount Notre Dame vs. West Chester Lakota West girls’ basketball
game is clearly the signature event to the start of the season in the
Cincinnati area. The game tonight (Tuesday) is certainly no different. It will be played at Lakota West starting at 7:30 p.m.
MND has won four consecutive Division I state titles, including one over West.


The Mount Notre Dame vs. West Chester Lakota West girls’ basketball game is clearly the signature event to the start of the season in the Cincinnati area.

The game tonight (Tuesday) is certainly no different. It will be played at Lakota West starting at 7:30 p.m.

MND has won four consecutive Division I state titles but lost three key players to graduation. The Cougars do return guards Kathryn Reynolds and Raeshaun Gaffney.

Lakota West, a Division I state semifinalist last season, lost Alexis Rogers (Duke) to graduation, but returns other key guards and post players.

There is a significant mutual respect between the two programs and the coaches – MND’s Dante Harlan and Lakota West’s Andy Fishman.

“I have to tip my hat to Dante and Andy for opening the season against each other (tonight),” Tom Jenkins, executive director of the Ohio Girls’ Basketball Report, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “This is a game they don’t have to play. It generates lots of interest in the city and statewide.”

Besides Reynolds and Gaffney, MND returns senior forward Shelby Kissel (Bellarmine University commit), senior center Bridget Williams and sophomores Briana Rucker and Jazmin Hayes are among others to watch, according to the Enquirer.

Lakota West will look to senior guard Kindsay Brandt, senior forward Taylor DeMaio, senior guard Rylee Fishman and junior guard Devyn Ciotti. Sophomore Olivia Wrencher and junior Tazzie Shaw should also contribute.

“We have a good amount of talent,” Fishman told the Pulse Journal. “It’s another good group that we have.”

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Dominique Brown, Winton Woods: The senior quarterback rushed for seven touchdowns in just three quarters in last week’s 69-35 win over Columbus Marion-Franklin in a Division II state semifinal in Centerville. Brown, who is orally committed to Cincinnati, had 25 carries for 251 yards and seven touchdowns. He has thrown for 695 yards and thrown for 1,813 yards this season. Winton Woods (12-2) plays Maple Heights (12-2) in the Division II state final at 7 p.m. Friday at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

Kettering Archbishop Alter football team: The Knights make their second consecutive state final appearance this weekend. Alter (14-0) plays Chagrin Falls (14-0) in a Division IV state final at 11 a.m. at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium. Alter defeated Coschocton 31-6 in a state semifinal last week. The Knights scored 31 consecutive points after it rallied, according to the Dayton Daily News. Alter running back Cody Taulbee and quarterback Zane Pitzer each had two rushing touchdowns, according to the Dayton Daily News.  “There have been character statements made by this team all year long,” Alter coach Ed Domsitz told the Dayton Daily News. “Unless you’re right in this, right in with the team, it’s hard to know the pressure that comes with being ranked No. 1 and being the defending state champion.”

NEWS, NOTES & NUGGETS

Fall signings: Colerain Girls’ basketball player Ashley Wanninger will sign with Xavier and Colerain swimmer Lauren Weaver will sign with Duke at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Colerain High School.

Hayes getting Division I offers:
Wisconsin offered Moeller junior defensive lineman Jesse Hayes (6-4, 230) last week. Hayes also has offers from Indiana, Cincinnati, Kentucky and North Carolina State. He was scheduled to attend the Tennessee at Kentucky football game last weekend on an unofficial visit.

National honors:
Ursuline’s Dani Reinert was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Under Armour All-America second-team. Ursuline’s Jade Henderson was named honorable mention. Both players helped the Lions win the Division I state title this fall.

Branhan steps down:
Cincinnati St. Ursula track and field/cross country coach Jeff Branhan stepped down recently to spend more time with his family. Branhan led the Bulldogs to several league titles in the GGCL. In cross country, the program qualified for state in seven of nine years, including a state title in 2006. In track, the program had at least one state qualifier since 2003.

Mancz receiving interest:
Air Force is the latest college football program to show interest in Anderson senior OL Greg Mancz, according to the Enquirer. Mancz, who was Division I second team all-district, has an offer from Toledo. He has also received interest from Wake Forest.

ON TAP

Xenia at Northmont girls’ basketball, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday: It’s the opener for Xenia and the third game for Northmont, which opened its season with Fairborn on Nov. 27. It is the third consecutive home game for the Thunderbolts. Xenia won the GWOC South division last year. Xenia is led by senior shooting guard Jessica Alexander, who has committed to play at Wright State.

La Salle at Fairfield, boys’ basketball, 7:30 p.m. Friday:
La Salle opens its season with a Greater Miami Conference opponent. La Salle won a share of the GCL-South last season. The Lancers are led by forward Brandon Neel. It is the first game for new Fairfield coach Tim Austing.

McNicholas at Ursuline girls’ basketball, 7:30 p.m. Saturday:
The two Girls’ Greater Cincinnati League teams play an interesting game the first full week of the season. McNicholas (16-8 last season) won the GGCL Grey Central division. Ursuline was 12-10 – tied for second with Mercy in the Scarlet division – and is expected to be a top team in the area. The Lions are led by Desirae Ball, who has committed to Saint Louis.

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