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AT A GLANCE Division III state semifinals


Published: Wed, March 15, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


Who: Ursuline vs. Sugarcreek GarawayGame time: 6 p.m. Thursday at Ohio State's Value City Arena. The other semifinal pits Plain City Jonathan Alder (24-2) against Castalia Margaretta (24-1).State final: The winners play at 2 p.m. Saturday.
URSULINE (21-4)
Starters: Tiffani Miller (5-9, Sr., F) 5.1 ppg; Danielle Crafter (5-10, Jr., F) 2.8 ppg; Tyra Grant (5-11, Sr., G) 30.4 ppg; Vannessa Dickson (5-8, Sr., G) 10.3 ppg; Mariah Snyder (5-6, Sr., G) 3.8 ppg.Notebook: The Irish are making their second state tournament appearance, having won the state title in 2004. Grant and Dickson were starters on that team. Grant had 22 points and Dickson eight in the 66-52 state final win over Oak Hill. The Penn State recruit is the Valley's all-time leading GIRLS scorer with 2,245 points and is the top scorer in the tournament regardless of division. She also leads the team in rebounds per game (11.0), blocks (3.6) and steals (2.5). "It's hard to find adjectives for her," said Ursuline coach Sean Durkin, who has a 161-38 record in eight years. "In my opinion, she's the best player in the state of Ohio. When the game starts, you kind of mark down 25 points for her. We can post her up, leave her on the perimeter, she can shoot the 3, get to the hole, she's an extremely good rebounder, she blocks shots, she leads the team in steals and, on top of that, she's a great student, a great kid and a team leader. It's been a blessing to have her and I'm sure she's going to do great at the next level." Dickson, who missed the first five games of the season with an ankle injury, leads the team in assists (5.7 per game). Miller, who is also a track and cross country standout, is the team's best defender and may get assigned to Garaway guard Laura Bardall. "Everyone is very willing to do [her] role," said Durkin, who also won state baseball titles with the Irish as a player (1988) and a coach (2000). "We have several kids who could probably do more in the way of scoring, if needed. The other girls have allowed Tyra to shine and you have to give them credit for that." The Irish started 1-3, falling to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit, New Castle and Oakland Catholic. Ursuline also lost to national power Wheeling (W. Va.) Mount de Chantal Jan. 14 and has won 14 straight since. Durkin expects Garaway to try and slow the tempo, something he's seen from several teams this year. "We've been pretty successful at getting teams to play the way we want," said Durkin. Juniors Mary Hendricks and Megan Saccomen and sophomore Brittany Armour are the Irish's main reserves, although senior Jenna Klempay and sophomore Tim'Aira Gandy could also see time.
Starters: Tiffani Miller (5-9, Sr., F) 5.1 ppg; Danielle Crafter (5-10, Jr., F) 2.8 ppg; Tyra Grant (5-11, Sr., G) 30.4 ppg; Vannessa Dickson (5-8, Sr., G) 10.3 ppg; Mariah Snyder (5-6, Sr., G) 3.8 ppg.Notebook: The Irish are making their second state tournament appearance, having won the state title in 2004. Grant and Dickson were starters on that team. Grant had 22 points and Dickson eight in the 66-52 state final win over Oak Hill. The Penn State recruit is the Valley's all-time leading GIRLS scorer with 2,245 points and is the top scorer in the tournament regardless of division. She also leads the team in rebounds per game (11.0), blocks (3.6) and steals (2.5). "It's hard to find adjectives for her," said Ursuline coach Sean Durkin, who has a 161-38 record in eight years. "In my opinion, she's the best player in the state of Ohio. When the game starts, you kind of mark down 25 points for her. We can post her up, leave her on the perimeter, she can shoot the 3, get to the hole, she's an extremely good rebounder, she blocks shots, she leads the team in steals and, on top of that, she's a great student, a great kid and a team leader. It's been a blessing to have her and I'm sure she's going to do great at the next level." Dickson, who missed the first five games of the season with an ankle injury, leads the team in assists (5.7 per game). Miller, who is also a track and cross country standout, is the team's best defender and may get assigned to Garaway guard Laura Bardall. "Everyone is very willing to do [her] role," said Durkin, who also won state baseball titles with the Irish as a player (1988) and a coach (2000). "We have several kids who could probably do more in the way of scoring, if needed. The other girls have allowed Tyra to shine and you have to give them credit for that." The Irish started 1-3, falling to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit, New Castle and Oakland Catholic. Ursuline also lost to national power Wheeling (W. Va.) Mount de Chantal Jan. 14 and has won 14 straight since. Durkin expects Garaway to try and slow the tempo, something he's seen from several teams this year. "We've been pretty successful at getting teams to play the way we want," said Durkin. Juniors Mary Hendricks and Megan Saccomen and sophomore Brittany Armour are the Irish's main reserves, although senior Jenna Klempay and sophomore Tim'Aira Gandy could also see time.
GARAWAY (24-2)
Starters: Carol Stingel (5-11, Sr., C) 10.0 ppg; Erica Hershberger (5-6, Soph., G) 6.0 ppg; Laura Bardall (5-10, Soph., G) 15.0 ppg; Bree Zehnder (5-9, Sr., G) 6.0 ppg; Molly Hershberger (5-7, Sr., G) 8.0 ppg.Notebook: The Pirates are making their third state tournament appearance, losing in the semifinals in 1996 and finishing second in 1994. Bardall, the daughter of coach Scott Bardall, is also a good defensive rebounder, while Stingel is a big threat on the offensive boards. Stingel averages between seven and eight rebounds per game. The Pirates can rotate as many as nine players, but Tessa Swartzentruber and Katie Hall are the main reserves. Garaway's only two losses came against Berlin Hiland (47-38 on Dec. 3 and 46-45 on Jan. 19). Hiland, which won a state championship last year, will play Fort Loramie in the Div. IV state semifinals. "I think [Hiland has] a hotel reservation in Columbus every March," said Scott Bardall.


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