Southview is 13-0 and is aiming for the Northern Lakes League title led by, from left, Mandi Lisk, Bahiyjaui Allen, Liz Tansey, Kelsey Navarre and Morgan Gatwood. The Cougars are ranked No. 2 in Division I in Ohio.
Southview girls basketball coach Todd Bostater anticipated good things this season, but maybe not this good.
Of course, it s hard to find many faults when your team is 13-0 and ranked No. 2 in Ohio in Division I, the highest ranking in school history.
If you would have said I d expect we would still be undefeated I d probably have said no, Bostater said. Our main goals were to win the league, stay undefeated at home and make a good run in the tournament.
No previous Southview team opened its season winning its first 13 games.
No other team has come close to such a high state ranking.
Times have changed.
It s pretty neat, Bostater said. It s a tribute to the kids. I think we also owe some of this ranking to Northview for being so strong over the past couple of years.
Southview knocked off its Sylvania rival 47-36 earlier this season. The Cougars had dropped 16 straight over the past eight seasons to Northview, which had reached the Division I state semifinals the past two seasons and has won the Northern Lakes League championship four straight years.
The Cougars (13-0, 8-0 NLL) haven t skipped a beat since that victory. They hope to extend the win streak when the two schools meet tomorrow at Southview, where the Cougars are 8-0 in home games.
It would get Southview a step closer to the NLL title.
It would give us a two-game lead over Northview, Bostater said. It would put us in a real good position.
The success is not a complete surprise. It s a group centered around eight letter winners, including four returning starters, from a team that finished 17-4 overall, 12-2 in the NLL a year ago.
It s a team that came close against Northview the two times they met last season. It s a team with a full year s worth of experience to mature under Bostater, who is in his second season as the varsity coach.
Everyone is out there for the benefit of the team, said Liz Tansey, Southview s 5-11 senior forward. We all have a common goal. We want to keep winning.
Southview returned with the most experience and perhaps the most all-around talented group of any team in the area.
Tansey, who averages a team-leading 13 points and 6.2 rebounds, has been the cornerstone. Mandi Lisk, a 5-10 senior, has also been a dependable force, averaging 10.1 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Bostater makes it clear the Cougars wouldn t be where they are without leaning on Tansey, a four-year varsity player, and Lisk, a three-year varsity player.
They re very, very important, Bostater said. We re not the same team if they re not on the floor. They bring so much to the table. They re all-around good.
Stat-wise they re probably about the same as last year, but they re more leaders this year. They ll take the big shots and make the big shots.
Tansey and Lisk have had plenty of help in elevating the program to new heights.
Morgan Gatwood, a 5-9 senior, who shares co-captain duties with Tansey and Lisk, has nearly doubled her scoring from a year ago to average 8.0 points.
Juniors Kelsey Navarre (5-11 center) and Jackie Freeson (5-9 guard) and senior Bahiyjaui Allen (5-8 forward/center) have also have provided steady play.
We re a very balanced team, Bostater said. Teams try to take away our two best players and others have stepped up. We have eight or nine players that can score in double figures on any given night.
Overall, there s a confidence factor.
We have good team chemistry because we re all really close, Lisk said.
Lisk said the team is not concerned about rankings as much as focusing on preparing for every opponent.
We ve played well. We re undefeated and that s all we can ask for, Lisk said.
The Cougars have won all but one game this season by double digits. The closest game was a 47-42 victory over Start. Southview has allowed a team to score 50 points only once, a 60-50 win over Anthony Wayne.
The emphasis has been on playing better defense this year, and the improvement is something Bostater credits to assistant coach Terry Shadle.
We went back to the basics to try and improve defensively, Bostater said. We spend at least 30 minutes of every practice working on defense.
Lisk, at least, believes she s a better all-around player as a result of more focus on playing good defense.
I wasn t a very good defensive player last year, Lisk said. That s what I ve tried to improve on for this year. I ve been more aggressive than I had been before.
Because it s a senior-led group, there s also a sense of urgency prevalent that perhaps wouldn t exist with a younger team.
[Winning the NLL] has been on the map since the beginning of the season and this is a key game [against Northview] for us to try and win league, so we have to take care of business, Lisk said.
So far, they ve done just that.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6302.
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