Saturday, March 13, 1999
Mason's opponent undefeated, too
A victory sends Comets to the state semifinals
BY DAVE SCHUTTE
Forget about about the NCAA Tournament for about two hours and make the 62 mile trip to Wright State University where Mason High School, the No. 1 ranked girls basketball team in the country, will be in action.
The Comets (24-0) meet undefeated Beavercreek (25-0) today (11 a.m.) for the Division I regional championship and a berth in the state semifinals next week at St. John Arena in Columbus.
A Mason victory would move the Comets to within two victories of claiming the national title, the first by a Cincinnati girls basketball team.
There's no doubt that we're the underdog for the first time in years, 24-year veteran Beavercreek coach Ed Zink said. Mason is the No. 1 team in Ohio and the country and deservedly so.
Although this will be the first regular season game between two of Ohio's most successful programs, it won't be the first encounter.
We scrimmaged Mason before the season, Zink said. But this was after only five days of practice and Mason was playing without Dallas Williams, one of their best players.
The combined record of Mason and Beavercreek since 1991 when Lackey took over, is 413-37.
Mason has won 196 games and lost 19 during the nine-year span while Zink's Beavercreek team is 217-18, including four appearances in the state tournament and the 1995 Division I state title.
Both Lackey and Zink agree that the outcome will be decided by defense with Mason going with the man-to-man while Beavercreek uses a 2-3 matchup zone.
We must move the ball and not attack off the dribble, Lackey said. They are aggressive, anticipate well and have quick hands. It's also hard to read their positions.
Zink explained that Beavercreek's zone, which forced 27 Mount Notre Dame turnovers in the semifinals, is designed not to stop an individual player but to cover an area on the court where the opponent is strong.
The matchup is a man-to-man in principle, Zink said. We always guard an area and take the player in that area. During the game, we often make little adjustments.
Both teams have five solid starters with Williams, Michelle Munoz and Beth Jones averaging in double figures for Mason. Jere' Issenmann and Racquel Ellis round out the starting lineup with Susan Lippert the first off the bench.
Beavercreek counteres with Stafanie Miller (10 points), a four-year starting point guard, who is the key to both the offense and defense.
Miller is their senior leader and runs the offense well, Lackey said. They are so balanced that we can't key on any one player.
Another standout is center Alison Skapin, a dominant rebounder (10 a game) who averages 16 points a game. Erin Hamilton (10 points), Amanda Williams and Shannon Gardner are the other starters.
Nicole Baptiste, a six-foot senior center, Tiffany Webb and Emily Williams, are Beavercreek's top substitutes who usually see between 10 and 20 minutes of action.
UC 72, GEORGE MASON 48
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