DOYLESTOWN — Two veteran coaches will bring veteran teams to the big stage Thursday when Chippewa (25-1) takes on Waynesville (26-0) in a 3 p.m. Division III state semifinal girls basketball game at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.
Waynesville is one of only two unbeaten teams left in Ohio (with Columbus Africentric, who will play Berlin Hiland in the other semifinal), and Chippewa has won 22 in a row since its early-season loss to Buchtel.
Chippewa’s Denny Schrock and Waynesville’s Tim Gabbard both started coaching at their respective programs in 1979 — and although Schrock stepped down in 2003 before returning in 2011, he is still fifth on the state’s all-time wins list. He has more than 600 wins, and Gabbard is closing in on that mark.
Both are focused on getting their next win. Schrock has the Chipps at state for the third time, finishing second in 1994, and Waynesville lost a semifinal in its only other trip to Columbus in 2005.
“Personally, when you’re 69 years old and going to be 70 on Sunday, it means a lot,” Schrock said. “I know Waynesville’s coach is a veteran, too, so that’s kind of a neat thing.”
Although each team boasts an All-Ohioan — Chippewa’s 5-foot-11 Celina Koncz is a second-team selection and Waynesville’s 5-7 Rachel Murray is a first-teamer — the calling card for both squads has been defense. The Chipps allow just 34.5 points a game and Waynesville is yielding just 35.0.
Murray, the school’s all-time scoring leader with over 1,700 career points, is averaging 20 this year to go with 4.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
Floor leader Lynzie Hartshorn (5-6 senior) averages 8 points and 4.2 assists, and 6-0 senior Marcella Sizer, headed to Youngstown State on a soccer scholarship, averages a double-double (13.3 points, 10 rebounds).
“I think, obviously, they’re undefeated, so that tells you a lot about them,” Schrock said.
For Chippewa, the 5-11 Koncz averages 16.9 points and 8.2 rebounds, both tops on the team, and 6-0 senior Grace Lindquist is next with 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds.
Guards Bailey Clark, Kierra Amelung and Bailee Ferrell are keys to the Chipps’ trapping defense, and sophomore Taylor Thomas has come off the bench and make key 3-pointers throughout the season.
The Chipps’ most recent trip to state came in 2015, when this year’s seniors were in the eighth grade. Their first three seasons all ended in the regionals before getting over the hump this year.
“I’ve been there and for these girls, what they’ve meant to me, it’s truly incredible,” Schrock said. “They’re keeping me young, keeping my mind working, and I’m happy for them, for my family, and on top of that the community. You know how the Doylestown community is, they will follow you to the end. They played such a big impact on Saturday. When I look across the gym and see a sea of blue, it’s impressive.”
Schrock said the surroundings at Value City Arena can be intimidating, even though the Chipps played on the floor there while at a team camp last summer.
“That can help you to some degree,” he said. “But come Thursday, they’ve just got to go out there and play the game. I think we’re gonna be nervous, I’m hoping Waynesville will be, too, and sooner or later, we’ll settle in.”