Classic match-up of two of state’s best

Game 10  JAN 16 SUN 3:30 pm   Wadsworth Grizzlies vs. Lakota West Firebirds

By Dave Mast

One point for a free throw; two points for a lay-up; three points for a long-range bomb. Indeed, basketball is a game of numbers. But the biggest numbers in this contest will be five and 10.

Five is for Wadsworth’s starting combo, a talented and athletic group that plays with great intelligence, while 10 stands for Lakota West’s depth, where Andy Fishman runs players in and out, wearing down opponents.

Ashland-bound seniors, power forward Robyn Rotterschmidt and guard Taylor Woods, hope to make their senior year a memorable one. Wadsworth coach Andy Booth said of his two leaders, “Rotterschmidt is so smart, and Woods can do everything from the point guard spot. Add in the fact that they are truly quality people, and they make up the heart of this team.”

Adding some much-needed athleticism to the team is classmate Sharlee Bailey, who returns after missing last season with a knee injury. They are joined in the starting five by junior guard Kara Long and sophomore Ally Malkowski. Christy Cingel serves as Booth’s calming influence, and is a player Booth said he wants out there at the end of the game. Jessie Gearhart, the team’s best defender, is
long and quick, and often times will take on the task of guarding the opposition’s point guard.

How do the Grizzlies match up with Lakota West’s depth and athletic play? That is what is going to play out in this game of opposites.

“Getting Sharlee back is a big key for us,” said Booth. “Christy is nothing flashy, but she just gets the job done. At 5 (feet) 10 (inches), Kara is a big wing who can really shoot the three. We know that stopping Pavlech is going to be a chore. She is one of the top point guards out there, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.

“You can’t go to sleep on this Grizzlies team,” said OGBR’s Tom Jenkins. “This is a team that is certainly capable of stinging Canton McKinley in that Regional.

Lakota West is a lot deeper than most teams, and talented too, but this will be their second game in the Classic weekend, and Andy Booth’s team is very disciplined. It’s going to be a game of contrasting styles of play.”

Wadsworth will be left to deal with 6-foot-3-inch Olivia Wrencher, who, is one of the top post players in the nation, should be a handful for the Grizzlies. The Firebirds also have the athletic defenders to shut down Wadsworth on offense, including Adrianna McNeal and Ronni Grandison at the wing positions.

“Lakota West is a fine, athletic team that can get out and run,” said Jenkins. “This ought to be a very good game. Wrencher may cause some real problems for the Grizzlies inside.”