OTTOVILLE — There was a feeling in the air that something was going to eventually happen.
For more than three quarters of action, Minster was able to slow down the potentially explosive Ottoville girls basketball team and maintain a lead from the opening tip-off.
However, in the final stanza, Abby Siefker scored eight points, all down low, and the Big Green’s defensive pressure helped pave the way for a thrilling 45-43 non-conference win over Minster in girls basketball at Ottoville.
Siefker ended the game with 18 points and seven rebounds to lead Ottoville (15-0).
Claire Fischer led Minster (10-6) with 12 points, including two 3-pointers. Bridget Geiger added nine points and had six rebounds and five steals for the Wildcats.
“That was a great game by Minster and a great comeback by us,” Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said. “It’s a good game to get you ready for whatever is coming up.”
Ottoville was playing without one of its starters, junior guard Tonya Kaufman.
“We got a girl hurt. …Tonya Kaufman is out with a torn ACL,” Kleman said. “So we were trying to figure out a different rotation. We did a little bit of growing today. We probably grew a little as a team. We just refused to lose, I guess.”
Minster opened the game with a flurry, jumping out to an 11-2 lead, midway through the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Wildcats extended its lead to 25-12 on a 3-pointer by Taylor Trego at the 4:20 mark. Trego came off the bench for Minster and scored six points on the day, both 3-pointers.
Minster went into the break with a 25-18 lead.
The Big Green came out in the second half and cut the deficit to 31-28 with 1:30 left in the third quarter, on an inside move by Siefker. Minster led 34-30 at the end of three.
In the fourth quarter, Minster pushed its lead to 43-34, midway through the period, on a 3-pointer by Fischer.
That was when the momentum started to change.
After Fischer’s 3-pointer, Ottoville’s defensive pressure helped ignite the offense. The Big Green went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 43-43. In the fourth quarter, Minster committed eight turnovers after turning it over just nine times in the previous three periods.
Ottoville finally claimed its first lead of the game with 10 seconds remaining in regulation on a put-back by Siefker. That lead would stand as the final score because Minster was unable to get a shot off before the buzzer to end the game.
Kleman said his team seemed a little out of sync in the first half.
“I think we were a little numb without Tonya (Kaufman) in the first half. I don’t think we were very sure of ourselves. Then, we did a much better job in the second half.”
After shooting 38 percent in the first half, Ottoville shot 55 percent in the final two quarters. For the game, Minster shot 44 percent from the floor.
Minster went 0-for-3 from the free throw line down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
“We were trying to mix it up,” Minster coach Nann Stechschulte said. “We were running some man and some zone. I just didn’t want them to get comfortable with one particular thing.”
The Minster zone stymied Ottoville’s outside shooting. For the game, the Big Green made just two 3-pointers.
“I’m proud of the way they played,” Stechschulte said. “At the end, we needed to take care of the ball better and knock down some free throws and then the end result wouldn’t have been the same.”