Rams win first district title in 33 years

By John Bombatch Sports Editor jbombatch@coxohio.com

March 4, 2014

SPRINGFIELD — It’s been 33 years since a Greeneview High School girls basketball team has been able to say it. Ronald Reagan was in the first year of his first term in office as the nation’s President, and none of the Rams players had been born yet.

But they can say it now: “District Champions.”

Capped by a solid inside game from junior forward Sophie Sonneman, and Ashton Lovely eclipsing the 2,000-point mark, Greeneview defeated Hamilton Badin 55-40 to win the Division III District title, Saturday afternoon at Springfield High School.

Sonneman scored a game-high 21 points and snagged 14 rebounds in the win. Lovely finished with 19 points, and her final two came on free-throw attempts that notched her 2,000th and 2,001st career points as a Greeneview Ram.

There was a moment in Saturday’s game where it looked as if the Rams would be playing without their leader.

With 3:13 left in the second quarter and Greeneview (23-3) trailing 20-17, Lovely drove to her right and took a nose dive onto the hardwood floor just to the right of the foul line. She came up with a large floor burn on her right shoulder and, after a brief time on the floor, was helped to the Rams bench.

It was at that moment that the Greeneview team seemed to rally among themselves without their scoring leader.

First, Kristen Combs blocked a Badin scoring attempt. Then, the diminutive Natasha Siebenaler scrambled for a rebound. Seconds later, Sonneman grabbed a rebound and was fouled and sent to the free-throw line.

Sonneman hit the first of two free throws, missed the second, but equally small Alexandra Rice was there to snare an offensive rebound. After making a pass to Lovely, who had returned roughly a minute after she was sidelined, Rice got a pass and drained a 3-pointer from the left corner to put the Rams in front 21-20.

“We have to be ready for when something like that happens,” Sonneman said of Lovely’s injury. “We have to be able to keep going without her, if we have to. She’s a very important part of this team, but we know that we have the talent to be able to do it without her.”

Greeneview outscored Badin 9-2 to close out the half, and they never trailed again.

Sonneman finished with her game-high 21 points, and Lovely — sore shoulder and all — added 19.

Hamilton junior Annika Pater led the Rams (13-13) with 14 points.

“Sophie just took over tonight. She played such a great game. Her rebounding was crazy good, it was soooo good,” Rice, a senior, said. “We knew we had to play hard, we knew Badin was a good team. … This is something we’ve tried to do since I was a freshman, and it really means a lot to all of us. This feels so good to win the district championship like this.”

Greeneview advances to the Sweet 16 and will next play Columbus Bishop Ready. According to the OHSAA.org website, the game is scheduled for a 6:15 p.m. start at Springfield High School.