One-time fill-in game turns into Classic contest

Game 18  JAN 17 MON 5:00 pm  Princeton Vikings vs. Midpark Meteors

By Dave Mast

Talk about lucking your way into a crowning achievement.

That is how Tom Jenkins feels about this match-up of a pair of teams that were at one point a mid-level contest, but following a rash of transfers, became one of the marquee contests in the Classic.

“This game was actually sort of a last-minute fill-in game, that has become one of the best games on the schedule, thanks to a lot of transfers for both clubs,” said Jenkins. “With all the movement, we’ve got about as much talent between these two teams as in any this weekend.”

Two big names from Mount Notre Dame’s big break up bolstered Princeton. Junior Breanna Rucker, a 5-foot-10-inch big-body who can play inside or outside, and Neschelle Williams, who is headed for Ball State next season, give the Vikings a major presence in the middle. “Princeton already had the guard play it needed, but this really makes them formidable,” said Jenkins.

The aforementioned guards include juniors Shakeira Lang and Alexus Chinn and sophomore Emily Roper. They are joined by freshman twins Kelsey and Chelsea Mitchell. Kelsey Mitchell is a player Jenkins said is “the best freshman point guard in the state, and arguably the best in the nation.”

However, all that talent will have to go up against The Surgeon and The Beast if they want to leave Amish Country with a win.

The Surgeon is Rachel Theriot, who moved in after honing her skills at Walsh Jesuit. Dubbed The Surgeon because she carves up opponents at will, she will enjoy dishing out assists to The Beast, Therany Dunnigan, a big bruiser who will be heading to North Carolina State University next year. Dunnigan came over after Regina High closed last year.

“She gets her nickname honestly,” said Jenkins. “She plays like a runaway freight train. You take a charge from her, and it will be the only one you’ll be taking for the day.”

Throw in 6-foot-3-inch freshman Stasha Carey and Midpark has the makings of a real headache for teams.

This game has plenty of bang for the buck inside, where some of the state’s best post players will be knocking heads trying to stop each other, but what this contest could boil down to is, can Ohio’s best junior point guard serve notice to the state’s best freshman point guard that she has a thing or two to learn yet?

“This turned into a real classic game for us,” said Jenkins. “You’ve got these big kids just banging away inside… they are big, strong and physical, and then you have these two incredibly talented point guards outside trying to get them the ball. We’ll see if Theriot can teach the youngster anything, or maybe Mitchell is ready for prime time already.”

Jenkins sees Midpark as being the biggest challenger to Toledo Start in the Norwalk Regional this season, an oddity since Midpark has to go a ways to get there.