Schmeltz taking ownership of Eastwood record book

J. Patrick Eaken

Eastwood 5-foot-10 senior guard Jamie Schmeltz knew this day was coming.
In a Saturday afternoon 67-56 non-league victory at Anthony Wayne, Schmeltz hit nothing but net on a three-point shot in the second half, and that made her the all-time leading girls basketball scorer in school history.
        “That means a lot. I’ve always had that in the back of my mind going into this season,” Schmeltz said. “I knew it was going to be achievable and it means a lot to finally be able to achieve that accomplishment.”
        Schmeltz scored 20 in the win over AW, and then added 19 more in a 75-50 victory at Northern Buckeye Conference foe Woodmore Tuesday.
        In 75 games played over three-plus years, she has scored 1,516 points, surpassing Teri Poggemeyer, who played at Eastwood from 1980-84.
        “That was really neat. Teri Poggemeyer was a really good ballplayer here, just from stories I’ve heard. That is cool that Jamie was able to get that record, but I’m really as proud of our team and the way they are playing,” said Eastwood coach Nick Schmeltz, Jamie’s older brother.
        Schmeltz also has 590 field goals and at Woodmore, with her second 3-point shot, she tied the school record for makes from behind the arc at 127. She also has made 205 free throws, 19 away from the school record. Heading into the Woodmore game, she had 542 career rebounds (80 away from school record), 286 assists and 339 steals, which is a school record. By the time she is done with her senior year, she will likely own the school’s record book.
        There is one record she is still chasing — the late Aaron Lawniczak owns the all-time basketball record at Eastwood, boys or girls, scoring 1,635 points from 1993-97. Lawniczak was heading on a full ride to NCAA Division I Bowling Green State University on a full scholarship, but he was killed in an automobile accident and his career never got started. Jamie needs 119 points to get to his record.
        Records aside, the Schmeltz siblings are mostly feeling good about the Eagles’ success. Eastwood is 12-3 overall and 9-0 in the NBC, tied for first place with Otsego, which is 13-0 and 9-0. The Eagles and Knights have not played yet, but will meet up in Tontogony on Thursday, Jan. 23, and in Pemberville on Thursday, Feb. 13.
        “I’m really proud of my team and where we are at. We still have a lot of room for improvement, but every game you can always rely on six or seven players to put some points up on the board,” Jamie said. “Our leadership throughout the team is tremendous, and not just myself, but everyone is a great leader on this team.”
        All three of Eastwood’s losses came during a trip to San Diego, California for a holiday tournament. The Eagles fell to Woodinville (Wash.), 64-58, San Leandro (Calif.), 71-61, and Union (Wash.), 81-53. In Ohio, the Eagles have yet to be beaten.
        “We’ve had a really good season here in Ohio,” Nick said. “(California) was a great experience for our girls, just being able to travel together, go out to the West Coast and see some stuff out there.
        “We played some really good schools. We played two of the top teams in Washington in their highest division and we played San Leandro from California, which is another big school. We lost all three games but I think as a team it made us better,” Nick continued.
        “It was almost better that we lost those three games than staying home and winning three games. We learned a lot about ourselves. We took 11 girls, and 11 girls got to play. Overall, sure, we would have liked to win one out there, but it was a great experience and we would go back and do it again in a heartbeat.”
        There was more to the trip than just basketball.
        “We did some sightseeing. People went to the zoo one day, the aquarium, visit the beach, of course, we went to The Coves (La Jolla) and saw the seals and stuff. It was a great experience. We were out there for six days, and got to experience some nicer weather than back home. That was a cool experience,” Nick said.
        Now the focus is back on the rest of the season, winning an NBC title and then advancing in the tournament. Jamie Schmeltz leads the team, averaging 21.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.8 steals, 4.9 assists and she is blocking one shot per game. Aubrey Haas, a 5-8 sophomore, is averaging 14.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 1.2 assists, plus she was the leading scorer in the win over AW, scoring 21.
        “Obviously, in our games back in Ohio, we’ve done a great job. Jamie and Aubrey have done a great job in leading us in scoring, but they are also doing some other stuff — rebounding the ball really well, getting steals.
        Haas leads a strong sophomore class that could see this program continuing its success even after Jamie Schmeltz graduates.
        “Our sophomore class all throughout, especially Aubrey Haas — you can definitely rely on her to have a great game and she does everything for us,” Jamie Schmeltz said.
        Twelve players have gotten into the scoring column for Eastwood. Brenna Moenter, a 6-2 sophomore, is averaging 8.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals. Veteran starter Sydnie Abke, a 5-8 senior, is averaging six points, five rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.6 assists. Kaitlyn Luidhardt, a 5-9 sophomore, is averaging 5.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.6 assists.
        The Eastwood-AW matchup showed off the athleticism from both teams because both rosters were half-filled with players coming over from soccer teams that had undefeated regular seasons. But the Eagles get up and down the floor every game, averaging 71.3 points, so coach Schmeltz has to rely on plenty of players to keep everyone fresh.
        Senior guard Hannah Limes is averaging 5.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.7 assists, sophomore guard Makenna Souder is contributing 4.8 points, four rebounds, 2.3 steals and 2.5 assists, junior Jaylee Souder is contributing 3.4 points, three rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.6 assists, and starting senior point guard Rory Farmer is averaging 2.4 points, two rebounds and 1.4 assists.
        “We have nine, 10, 11 girls contributing night in and night out,” Nick said. “We are a little banged up right now, but once we get some of those girls back we’ll get our depth back.
        “We’re flying around, we’re pressing, we’re shooting a lot of threes, so we are having a lot of fun, and that’s the biggest thing. We want to create a good experience. I feel like we are doing that right now with our girls. We’re enjoying the moment day by day.”

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