Waterford to See Jackson Center in State Semi-Finals

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For the third year in a row, the Schottenstein Center will host the Waterford Lady Wildcats in the State Tournament.

Waterford defeated Danville 50-35 on Saturday to clinch the Regional Championship.

The Lady Wildcats (23-3) have to hurdle Jackson Center for a chance to defend their title for another season.

The Lady Tigers (22-4) are no strangers to athletic success this season.  Jackson Center won the volleyball State Championship earlier in the year.  Nine of the 12 players on Jackson Center’s roster were on the championship volleyball squad.

When teams make it this far in the season, it is hard to call one team a favorite over another.  However, Waterford might have a slight edge in this one.

The Lady Wildcats have the experience on the big stage.  Jackson Center did it make it to the Schottenstein Center last season, but fell to Fostoria St. Wendelin in the Semi-Final.  Waterford won both games last season and made it to the State Championship the year before.  Junior Alli Kern will start her fifth game at the Schottenstein Center against Jackson Center.

The Associated Press State Polls gave Waterford the advantage as well.  The Lady ‘Cats finished up fourth in the poll and received a first place vote.  Jackson Center barely cracked the end of the full list.  Waterford had 10 times as many points (130-13) in the poll than Jackson Center.

Any player on Waterford’s starting five could control the game, but it can get fuzzy after that.  Kern and Megan Ball are the head of Waterford’s attack.  Both were named First Team All-Ohio and Kern was the Southeast District Player of the Year.  Both are a double-double threat every time they walk on the court and can dominate every facet of the game.

Waterford also has Hayley and Hannah Duff running the court.  Last season, it was a little surprising if one of the Duffs came off the bench and made buckets.  Now, it is expected.  Hayley Duff saved Waterford’s season in the District Final over South Webster.  The Lady Jeeps were seconds away from ending Waterford’s season when Hayley made a basket to send the game to overtime and grabbed a rebound at the end to seal the win.

Jackson Center’s Cassie Meyer is one to look out for.  The senior was placed on the All-State Honorable Mention list.  When Jackson Center defeated Tri-Village 42-29 to get to the Regional Finals, Meyer scored 23 of those points.

The winner of this game advances to the State Final and will take on the winner of Berlin Hiland and Ottoville.  If the Lady Wildcats can advance, they will be the first team to make three consecutive trips to the Division IV State Finals since Berlin Hiland did it in the 2008-10 seasons.