If the Marietta High girls basketball team defeats the Jackson Ironladies in an Ohio Division II district semifinal at Southeastern High at 8 p.m. tonight, it'll be win No. 21 on the season.
No other Lady Tiger team since the program's inception in 1972-73 has posted that many victories during a campaign. Right now, the orange and black cagers, owner of a 20-2 overall record, are tied with the 1985-86 MHS team for most wins in a single season.
"Twenty wins, who would've thought," smiled Marietta head coach Scott Cozzens after the Lady Tigers routed the Sheridan Lady Generals, 64-24, in a sectional championship game at Alexander High last Saturday.
Indeed, who would've thought, especially after graduating people like LeAnne Ross, Lauren Ross, Paige Lamb, and Mary Beth Schramm from last season's 19-4 squad.
"We're very fortunate," continued Cozzens. "We've had a lot of close games that we've come out on the plus side of."
Two of those close games were against Jackson, a fellow Southeastern Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) school. In the first meeting at Sutton Gym on December 29, 2010, Marietta won 54-50 and in the last one on the road Feb. 5, the Lady Tigers prevailed, 51-50.
"We're very familiar with Jackson," Cozzens said. "Those were two real tough games.
"I don't mind facing them again. I'm not one of those who doesn't want to play a team three times. We've beat them four times in a row since I've been here. It's nice knowing a little bit about your opponent. They have a quality program."
Speaking of a quality program, though, Marietta is second to none. The Lady Tigers know how to win - and not just on the hardwood, either. If you look at the starting five, Maegan Grosel was an All-Ohio soccer selection on a 16-3-2 squad, and Betsy Schramm was an All-Ohio volleyball honoree on a 25-1 team.
Amanda Brown and Ali Summers each was also a volleyball standout; and Erica Dawson, who scored a career-high 29 points and recorded seven steals in the win against Sheridan, was a regional qualifier on the girls cross country team.
"We've got a lot of kids who are very athletic," said Cozzens after the sectional final. "They can go long periods of time, but I'm not afraid to go to the bench if we ever have to."
"Credit all of these kids," the coach continued. "This is the most composed, relaxed team I've ever been around. We just play. Someday, we'll look back at a really fantastic year."
No question about that.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org