Elida, Fort Sumner part III

PNT Staff Writer

The District 3-1A top-seeded Elida Lady Tigers have been dormant for more than a week but they’ve got to be on their game tonight as they host Fort Sumner in the girls district championship.

The Elida girls (21-3, 7-1) last played on Feb. 15, their regular season district finale, beating Melrose on the road 37-31.

“I don’t like (the break),” Elida girls head coach Dan Howard said. “I hate the seven days of waiting, and letting everything build up. We’re not getting to play enough. The other teams are (getting to) play through.”

Meanwhile, the Vixens (16-8, 6-3) have clawed their way through the district tournament this week, eking out two wins in the process.

Howard’s chief concern seems to be the Fort Sumner physical style of basketball.
“We match up (with them) pretty good,” Howard said. “They’ve got the big girls, they’re very physical. We’re going to try to match up right with them. We’ve got some size, and hopefully we don’t get caught up too much in that physical battle inside.”

The Fort Sumner girls edged out Floyd Monday night in the district first-round 34-31. The Vixens kept their winning ways Wednesday night, beating Melrose 35-28.

“They’re playing very well,” Howard said. “I watched them play Floyd and they functioned offensively and defensively very well, and then I watched them play Melrose and they functioned when they had to, and did the things they needed to, to win the game.”

The two teams split their regular season matches. The Vixens handed Elida their only district loss in late January at Fort Sumner 37-26, before the Lady Tigers got even four games later at Elida, 52-41.

Howard plans to use their only district loss as a blueprint for improvement against Fort Sumner.

“We just got caught up in the half-court game. We couldn’t generate any offense. It was a long night for us. They got physical with us and we didn’t handle it well,” Howard said.

Both teams have clinched a state tournament appearance, but the winner of tonight’s contest will host a state first-round game.