When Tom Jenkins and Dave Schlabach transformed Berlin into a winter wonderland of girls basketball over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, they knew that if they did it the right way, they could have a major impact both on the landscape of girls basketball and on the economy of Berlin during a time when tourism is usually struggling.

Over the past eight winters, Classic in the Country has achieved national recognition as one of the best high school basketball events in the nation, and it has injected millions of dollars into the local economy.

However, the two men realize that in those eight years, they have gone about as far as they can with the generous support of the local community. “The people and businesses of Holmes County have been amazing through their support and volunteering to help us make Classic in the Country a success,” said Schlabach. “We will be forever grateful to everyone who has helped us make our dream a reality.”

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Saturday Results

Minster 51, Minerva 47

BERLIN — Delanie Wolf scored 18 points and Kayla Wuebker added 12 as Minster defeated Minerva to kick off the Classic in the Country at the Perry Reese Center. Minster, who sank 19 of 35 shots for 54 percent, led 30-20 at the half and took a 42-34 lead into the final frame. Two other Minster players, Tara Clune and Kayla Albers, each added eight. Chelsie Butler paced Minerva with 18 points and Taylor Maurer added 13.

Canton McKinley 52, Brookhaven 24

BERLIN — Marquia Tuner scored 11 points and Ameryst Alston and Gabby Kendall each added 10 as Canton McKinley rolled past Columbus Brookhaven. Essence Bates-Hatch, Jasmine Johnson and Travecia Franklin had six points each for Brookhaven.

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It seemed appropriate to honor Reggie Lee during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Lee, the girls head basketball coach of the Brookhaven Bearcats for the past 30 years, steps down this year as one of the most successful coaches in the state of Ohio. Lee was honored in front of a packed house at the Perry Reese Community Center on Saturday, Jan. 15, and the honor was as much for what Lee has done off the court as what he has done on it, where he has fashioned a state power.

“I am truly humbled by this,” said Lee, having no idea it was coming. “For 30 years, this has always been about these girls. I feel like I am one of the most blessed men on the earth to coach girls basketball.”

In his tribute to Coach Lee, Tom Jenkins, executive director of Ohio Girls Basketball Report and one of the coordinators for Classic in the Country Challenge, one of the nation’s premier high school girls basketball events, praised Lee for his unyielding commitment to his players over the years. The Classic, which also makes a dedicated effort to honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Perry Reese and other African Americans whom have made great social impacts on the world. Jenkins spoke about the impact Lee has had in dissolving racial barriers through his time spent on and off the court. Jenkins said that Lee was instrumental in bringing many of Ohio’s top black basketball programs into the Classic.

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BERLIN — All the games on the final day of Classic in the Country VIII turned out to be one-sided affairs determined by double digits, even the lone overtime game of the 20 played at this year’s event.

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BERLIN — The second day of action at the Classic in the Country started off with a barn burner that came right down the end. Mount Notre Dame bounced back from a tough three-point loss on Saturday to eke out a 50-46 triumph over Toledo Central Catholic.

Kathryn Reynolds capped off a fantastic weekend of action with 23 points to lead the Cougars to victory. The future Iowa Hawkeye was 6-for-8 from 3-point range. She had an assist and five steals. Gabby West chipped in 13 for the winners. In her two games at Classic in the Country, Reynolds scored 50 points on 11-of-18 shooting from beyond the arc.

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BERLIN — The following are some random thoughts and observations from the Classic in the Country Challenge VIII.

After all these years of watching games and seeing hundreds of college coaches at the Classic in the Country, I just discovered on Saturday that the coaches have no contact with the players while visiting Berlin. They are here to observe, mostly and chart development and potential of players performing on a fairly large stage.

* Out-of state teams traditionally have not faired well at the Classic in the Country. Including the first day at this year’s event. The out-of-staters are 8-12 since the Classic began in 2004.

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BERLIN — There were a trio of down-to-the-wire games, one 10-point affair and one blowout in the five games not featuring area ties on Day 1 of the Classic in the Country. Myrtle Beach, coached by Triway alumni Brian Kiper and the hosting Hiland Hawks, were also in action.

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

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.

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Game 11 JAN 16 SUN 5:15 pm Hathaway Brown Blazers vs. Lakota East Thunderhawks

While it is usually the players on the floor who make the highlight reels, Lakota East’s coaching staff certainly could apply when you’re looking for star quality. Head coach Nikki Kremer-Drew left Xavier University after her senior year as an All-American who became the school’s all-time leading scorer. She also played professionally in France before settling into the coaching ranks. She is joined by assistant coach Brooke Wyckoff, an All-American at Florida State University, and a former WNBA all-star.

However, Kremer-Drew’s talented team will have its work cut out, trying to tame Paul Barlow’s Blazers. All Barlow’s teams have accomplished over the past four years is four straight Final Four appearances, including back-to-back championships.

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Game 17 JAN 17 MON 3:15 pm Cincinnati Sycamore Aviators vs. Wadsworth Grizzlies

Chalk this one up as the grizzled veterans who seem to take everything in stride against an upstart team that grew through addition.

The Cincinnati Sycamore Aviators finished last year 13-11, but it was a very good learning year for head coach Paula Hayden’s crew, plus they played in the meat grinder Greater Miami Conference, which boasts about as many State-hopefuls as any in the state. Sycamore returns a load of talent, and in addition was the recipient of some of the fallout at Mount Notre Dame.

Guard Courtney Tucker and point guard Kelly McDonald transferred in after playing for the Cougars, and will join 6 foot-1-inch junior post player Keri Kleist, who transferred in from Mason. That trio will cohort with returning senior wing player Ashley Schaefer, junior wing Alexis Newbolt, and 5-foot-10-inch sophomore Hannah Locke. They will all play supporting roles to Chloe Pavlech, a junior wing bound for the University of Maryland.

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