Saturday, March 18, 2000

Badin fans optimistic

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COLUMBUS — Hamilton Badin fans no doubt will wake up this morning with thoughts of another state basketball title on their minds.

        That's because the Rams put together a defensive masterpiece in beating the Philo Electrics 48-36 in a Division II state semifinal Friday at the Schottenstein Center.

        Badin, the 1998 state champion, advances to meet the Columbus Bishop Hartley Hawks at 5 p.m. today in the state championship game. Hartley beat the Rams 44-35 on Jan. 17.

        “It was a dandy of a game,” said Jerry Helmers, 78, of Hamilton. “You can't beat this team's defense. These girls really played their hearts out tonight.”

        Thousands of Badin fans were on their feet cheering the Rams from start to finish. Young Badin fans turned out in force with their faces painted and decked out in green and white Rams T-shirts.

        In honor of St.Patrick's Day, some Badin fans were wearing four-leaf clover pendants for luck.

        “We sure didn't need any of that luck tonight,” said Tom Vidourek, 54, of Hamilton.

        Dolores Kunkel, of Hamil ton, high-fived another Badin fan as she left the arena following the team's win. Kunkel had something extra to cheer about Friday as her granddaughter, Badin guard Kerri Fiehrer, led all scorers with 24 points.

        “That just makes the win all that more special for me,” Kunkel said. “This was by far Kerri's best game of the season. I'm really proud of her and the team.”

        The Electrics, who had averaged more than 61 points during the regular season, were held in check for the most part by a stifling Rams defense. Badin even held Philo's all-time leading scorer, Heather Harris, to 15 points.

        “I don't think Philo had ever seen a defense swarm on them the way our girls did tonight,” said Mark Von Hagen, 48, of Hamilton. “That's what our team is known for. Hopefully we can carry it over into tomorrow, because Hartley is going to be tough.”

        But despite a tougher opponent today, many Badin fans were optimistic.

        “We knew all year we were going to make it to the championship game,” said Badin sophomore Nichole Swink, 15. “I think we're definitely going to win it all.”


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