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Published: Friday, 2/29/2008

Regional basketball winner will be from MAL

ELIDA - One featured a rout; the other, a rally. They both mean a Midland Athletic League team is headed to the state semifinals.

Unbeaten Fostoria St. Wendelin steamrolled Mansfield St. Peter's 62-34 in the first girls Division IV regional semifinal last night at Elida Fieldhouse and MAL rival New Riegel dug itself out of a 17-2 hole from midway in second quarter to upend Continental 42-39.

That sets up a MAL celebration for either the fifth-ranked Mohawks, seeking their first trip to state, or a Blue Jacket squad whose only state appearance came in the 1996-97 season.

"We told the girls we were one game from the dance," St. Wendelin coach Aaron Smith said. "This has been a great ride."

St. Wendelin (25-0) scored the game's first nine points, forced 15 turnovers in the first half, 27 in the game, and totally disrupted the Spartans with a pesky press and up-tempo offense.

Lindsay Schiefer (12), Dani Papenfus (11) and Francena Tate (10) combined for 33 points for the Mohawks, with Jordan Geroski adding nine points and six rebounds and Lauren Geroski dishing out nine assist.

The Spartans (17-7) got a game-high 15 points from Kylie Sinclair.

Continental looked to mirror St. Wendelin's effort in the second game, grabbing a 14-2 lead by the end of the first quarter and leading 19-2 by the 5:38 mark of the second.

"Horrendous start. Exactly what I feared. We were extremely psyched. I think [Continental's Brooke] Tegenkamp hit her first 3 and they relaxed," New Riegel coach Steve Lucius said.

"We just kept pecking away, buying a basket here or there."

New Riegel took its first lead (35-34) on two Jackie Reinhart foul shots with 3:17 to play.

Rachelle Ford put the Pirates back up 36-35 with a jumper in the lane with 2:12 to go, but a

Reinhart three-point play gave the Blue Jackets the lead for good at the 1:41 mark.

New Riegel (21-3) went 4 of 6 at the line from there, surviving a late charge after Tegenkamp nailed a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 41-39 with 11.7 seconds to go.

Reinhart had 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists for New Riegel. Tegenkamp led Continental with 13.

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