COLUMBUS - Hamilton Badin coach Dan Purcell spent last week making phone calls and tracking down information on Wauseon's girls basketball team, which had won 52 consecutive games and figured to be one of the teams in the Division II state final.
No. 6-ranked Badin (24-3) will instead face unranked Dover (20-6) at 2 p.m. today at St. John Arena with the state championship on the line after the Tornadoes knocked off No. 1 Wauseon on Thursday night.
Instead of being a decided underdog, Badin comes in favored to bring home the first girls title in school history.
''Now I don't think there's anyone out there who can beat us,'' Badin senior Katie Thieken said Friday.
Said Purcell: ''I think you go in a lot more confident, which is good from our standpoint. I think we can sense it, we can taste it. We just can't be overconfident.''
The state championship experience can be a tender balance of players enjoying the atmosphere and camaraderie and having a businesslike attitude at the same time.
Purcell's message to his team Friday: We're happy, but we haven't won anything yet.
''Our first job here was to come and win the state finals. And if we had fun while doing that, then we had fun,'' Thieken said. ''But our first priority was to take care of that.''
Badin advanced with a 45-35 victory over Poland Seminary, in which it held Poland scoreless the last 5:17.
Senior Aimee Hurst said a lot of players had trouble sleeping Thursday night because they were so excited.
At least six have competed in the soccer state championship game, losing it three times. But this is different. This is a first for the girls basketball program, which had never won a regional title.
The Badin players watched the final seconds of Dover's 42-40 victory, when senior Kate Fishley made two free throws with .3 seconds left to win it. ''If I was that girl, I would've had a heart attack,' Thieken said.
Purcell had made not one phone call about Dover and when he watched Thursday night's semifinal, he concentrate mostly on Wauseon.
''We'll prepare just like any other game, try to figure out who their shooters are and things like that,'' Purcell said. ''We match up real well. We're bigger than they are. We just have to do our job. Defense is going to win the game for us.''