Rockets win fourth straight sectional crown

Oak Harbor is headed back to districts.

The Rockets defeated Wauseon, 62-34, in the Division II sectional finals to win their ninth consecutive game. It is the fourth straight sectional title for Oak Harbor, which advanced to the district semifinals last year and the district finals in the two previous years.

The game was never really in doubt as the Rockets led, 16-9, after the first quarter and 34-14, at halftime. Oak Harbor dominated the third, outscoring the Indians, 23-5, to push the lead to 57-19.

Sophie Eli had 14 points to lead all scorers as three Rockets finished in double figures. Emma Bergman hit three 3-pointers and scored 12 points, Ashley Riley scored 11 points and Logan Harris chipped in with nine. Oak Harbor had nine players who scored.

Wauseon's Breanna Castellano finished with a team-high 11 points and Karli Penrod and Aliza Dauterman scored six points apiece.

The Rockets are now 20-3 while the Indians finish the season with a 2-21 record.

"Winning any championship is always exciting. We take nothing for granted and always want our players to celebrate their successes," said Oak Harbor coach Tom Kontak. "This senior class has won four sectional titles, one district title, one league title and has an overall record of 80-18."

The team appears to be hitting its stride following a loss to Clyde on Jan. 21. After beginning the year without Abby Dornbusch and Emma Barney, the Rockets have worked both players back into the lineup and are playing well. On top of that, the club had to replace four seniors, including Andrea Cecil.

"This was an extremely inexperienced group to start the season. While they have competed at a high level night in and night out, there still was a lot of learning that needed to take place," said Kontak. "This only comes with game experience, so a full season of games has helped. Also, the return of Abby and Emma (Barney) has helped tremendously. While they are both far from being at full strength, their experience and talent has been a plus down the stretch."

Oak Harbor, seeded second in the Whitehouse District, will face No. 3 Rogers on Thursday at 6:15 p.m. at Anthony Wayne High School in the district semifinals. The Rams, a perennial power, have advanced as far as the regional semifinals in each of the last for years, including the Final Four twice, highlighted by a trip to the state championship game in 2015.

"The main challenge is for us to continue to play our game and play our way -- to not be intimidated in any way they play. We are preparing for our opponent like we normally do, addressing their talent and tendencies," said Kontak. "Overall, we pay most attention to doing what we do and doing that well. We will have to take their best 'punch' and respond with the competitiveness we have shown all season long. This will be a special night for sure."

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