The road to the Division I girls basketball regional is one Northview has become quite familiar with in recent years.
Findlay, on the other hand, is making a long-awaited return down that trail.
Both will take part in semifinals tonight at Norwalk.
The Wildcats (23-1), who defeated Central Catholic in a district final on Saturday, take on Elyria (22-1) at 6 p.m. The two teams squared off a year ago in a regional final which Northview won 46-41.
It's the fourth straight regional appearance for the Wildcats.
"Who would've thought after losing all of those kids [to graduation] last year we'd be back," said Northview coach Jerry Sigler. "We played against a great team [Central Catholic] the other night.
"If we play the way we're capable of playing, we have a chance in the regionals."
Findlay (21-2) advanced to regional play for the first time since the 1995-96 season after knocking off Mansfield Madison 67-49 in a district final. The Trojans will meet North Royalton (17-6) at 8 p.m.
"We have a good group of veteran players and that experience has really helped us," said Findlay coach Connie Lyon, who is in her second season with the Trojans.
Northview started the season with only one returning starter back from last season s state semifi nal team that won a school-record 26 straight games before falling to Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame. Niki McCoy, who delivered a game-high 15 points in the win over Central Catholic, is that returning starter.
The Wildcats also won their third straight Northern Lakes
League championship and have won 42 straight NLL games.
Elyria is led by Kate Verhoff, sharp-shooting 5-10 guardforward
who is headed to Ohio University. Keeping her in check
a priority, according to Sigler.
We re bigger than they are, but they run a lot of stuff for [Verhoff] and she uses the screens really well, Sigler said.
Any open look and she s going to take it.
Findlay, which lost to Perrysburg in a district fi nal a year
ago, has exceeded Lyon s expectations.
They ve gone a step farther in the tournament than they
did during Lyon s fi rst season in charge.
We have ordinary studentathletes doing some extraordinary
things, Lyon said. We re pleased with our success this
year. We really don t take anything for granted because
they ve had to earn everything they ve gotten.
Carlee Roethlisberger, a 6-0 sophomore, leads the Trojans
by averaging 18.2 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 61 percent
from the fi eld. Kellyn Tisci, a senior point guard, has been
good for 13.2 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 57 percent
from the fi eld.
Allie Niekamp, a 6-1 senior, is the only other returning letterwinner
with previous starting experience. She s averaging 11.3
points and 5.5 rebounds.