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Published: Tuesday, 2/20/2007

Blade poll crowns 4 new champions

Waite, Hopewell-Loudon lead all year;Ottawa-Glandorf, Swanton also prevail

The final Blade girls basketball poll for 2007 has a completely different look at the top from last year, with no repeat champions.

The Waite Indians of coach Manny May were one of two teams who led from wire-to-wire to claim the Division I title. Waite (18-1) capped an unbeaten run through the City League with a 56-50 victory over Central Catholic Saturday in the league s championship game.

The Indians, who finished third in the final state poll, claimed their first Blade poll crown and ended the Northern Lakes League s three-year stranglehold on the spot. Southview took top honors last year.

The other wire-to-wire leader was Hopewell-Loudon in Division IV. The Chieftains of coach Jeff Ritzler also are the only girls team in northwest Ohio to post an undefeated record in earning their third Blade poll title, and first since 1999.

Hopewell-Loudon (20-0), which was ranked second in the final state poll, just edged third-ranked Ottawa Hills in the final poll to unseat last year s champ, Patrick Henry.

The biggest surprise came in Division II, where Ottawa-Glandorf snuck past Defiance, another Western Buckeye League team, in the final ranking. The Titans of coach Lori Smith finished 18-2 overall and 7-2 in the WBL, tying Defiance for second behind league champ Wapakoneta.

The Bulldogs dropped to second after suffering their second loss this month, a 56-50 setback at Archbold. While Ottawa-Glandorf lost at Defiance Nov. 30, the Titans have won 15 straight since their last loss, which came by one point at Wapakoneta Dec. 14.

Ottawa-Glandorf replaces Eastwood as champ, claiming its second Blade crown in three seasons.

In Division III Swanton rose to the top thanks to its 17-2 overall record. The Bulldogs of coach Frank Onweller won the Northwest Ohio Athletic League title with a 58-52 victory at Bryan Feb. 9, giving them a 7-1 mark in league play this season.

Swanton s only setbacks this season were a league loss at Liberty Center and a nonleague loss at Anthony Wayne, the second-ranked team in Division I, last week.

While the poll title was the first for the Bulldogs, who unseated Carey at the top, the honor marked the seventh time an NWOAL team had won or shared the Division III crown in 11 years.

Now those four teams and the rest of the girls basketball teams in northwest Ohio will start their march toward a potential state title as sectional tournaments begin tonight.

The Blade poll boys champions will be crowned next week.

John Wagner

ANTHONY WAYNE 53, BOWLING GREEN 26

BOWLING GREEN Jordan Floyd scored 13 points and Ally Schmidt added 12 as Anthony Waynecompleted a 19-1 regular season and capped a 14-0Northern Lakes League girls basketball campaign.

Sam Studrawa led Bowling Green (1-19, 1-13) with seven points.



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