When the Holgate Tigers take the Schottenstein Center court on Thursday night it will be the first time in 11 years they have made the OHSAA Tournament State Semifinals.
The last two times that the 23-4 Tigers were on the floor in Columbus for a State Semifinals matchup they made it through and into the finals in exciting fashion.
On March 14th, 2003 a 35 foot shot by Senior Guard Vanessa Rothman banked in at the last second to give Holgate a 53-50 win over Shadyside. Unfortunately for the Tigers however they were dispatched by the Marion Local Flyers and star Maria Moeller 46-28. The 28 points is a record for lowest offensive output in D4 Finals history (a record Marion Local set with a 30 point output the year before against Berlin Hiland).
In only their second ever trip to Columbus in 2001 (and first since losing in the 1979 Class A Semifinals), Holgate guard Alissa Gill went the length of the floor and hit a 3 in just 3.8 seconds to send the game to OT against Worthington Christian before dispatching them and meeting up in the finals with Jackson Center (a game won by Jackson Center to claim the State Championship).
With the whole town of Holgate in attendance on Thursday night there is no doubt that the energy in the building at 6pm will look to help the Tigers forget history and get one step closer to their first state title date with either Reedsville Eastern or Fort Loramie.
Holgate is led by Senior Marissa Myles, a 6 foot Senior D4 2nd Team All-Ohio selection this season who is averaging 13.8 points per game, 10.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game (all team highs). Mattie Grim, a 5’8 Junior will be the fourth generation of her family to play or coach in a State Semifinal as she joins her Grandfather Roger who was on the 1953 boys State Semifinalist and was an assistant on the 2001/2003 girls teams, Dad David scored 1000 pts and was boys assistant coach in the 2007 Final Four run, Aunt Susan played on 1979 runner up team.
This season the Tigers are scoring 55.1 points per game while giving up 45.1 to opponents and are led by Jim Niese in his 11th year (172-81 record).
On the other side of the court will be the Bishop Rosecrans Bishops out of Zanesville, having a great season at 26-1. Rosecrans is making their 10th appearance in the State Semifinals, having won the State Championship in 1982, 1983 and 1992. The Bishops have also finished as the runners up in 93/94/96 and have a powerful offense that is averaging 62 points per game under Coach Gale Kirkbride.
Four of the five Bishops starters are averaging in double digits this season, led by 5’10 Senior Forward Molly Nash at 17.0 ppg. With a starting lineup comprised entirely of Seniors and a team that made it to the District Finals last season before being bumped off by eventual State Champion Berlin Hiland, they are an experienced team with a renewed focus on reaching the finals and will be tough to deal with for Holgate across the board.
You can listen live to the game on http://www.zsportslive.com at 6pm with Dave Boninsegna. Zsportslive.com will also be carrying every single girls game on their secondary channel WZOQRadio (available on their website and on tunein), through the OHSAA Network. If Holgate is victorious in the Semi’s, Zsportslive will carry the game itself on Saturday afternoon with Dave Boninsegna and possibly myself from the Schott.
Thank you for reading this article, I hope you continue to support great coverage of high school sports from companies like Zsportslive and especially here on Hall of Fame Huddle.
Photo Courtesy of Hannah Stevens, Crescent-News
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