OTTAWA — It took a while for Ottoville to find the range on offense.
But once the Big Green’s press took hold, everything seemed to go its way.
Ottoville pulled away with a 46-25 victory over Leipsic in the Division IV girls basketball district semifinals Thursday at Hermiller Gymnasium.
Ottoville (21-3) advances to the district finals to meet Arlington (22-3) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ottawa-Glandorf.
In the nightcap, Arlington knocked off North Baltimore 82-66.
Alicia Honigford and Bridget Landin led the charge in the second half for the Big Green. Honigford and Landin both had 12 points and four rebounds.
Alexis Thorbahn had five points and took several filling-rattling charges in the lane.
Leipsic (17-7) was led by Kierra Meyer’s six points.
Both teams got off to a slow start, as the Big Green led 9-6 after the first quarter.
Ottoville was getting quality shots, but they weren’t falling.
Leipsic’s zone defense led to Ottoville’s frustration. Also 6-foot-2 Leipsic center Brooke Gerdeman (four points, seven rebounds) was clogging the lane and forcing Ottoville’s inside players to shoot over her.
Ottoville led 16-11 at the half, but at that point, the Big Green was 4 of 23 from the field. Leipsic, which had 11 turnovers at the half, was 3 of 12 from the field.
“We just weren’t patient enough, offensively,” Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said. “We took good shots, but we didn’t get the ball reversed enough for my liking.
“We had to keep doing the same thing, except we were trying to shoot the ball a little quick. And when Alicia Honigford started the third quarter with a three and everyone relaxed after that.”
“That got us pumped up to start the half,” Honigford said of her third-quarter three.
The Big Green cranked up its 1-2-2 press in the third quarter and it helped it rip off an 18-2 run, including a 16-0 burst.
Ottoville had a 23-16 lead with 4:55 left in the third.
But after the key run, the Big Green had ballooned its lead to 41-18 with 5:59 to go.
“That’s what we do anyway,” Kleman said of his press. “We don’t want people to run their sets.’’
Sophomore Kasey Knippen and Landin both helped kick the run in high gear with back-to-back 3-pointers. Overall, Landin had nine points during the run.
“We had to reverse the ball more in the second half,” Landin said. “And when our offense isn’t there, we know that our defense is there. We knew we had come with our defense and our offense would come after that.”
The Big Green’s press produced 17 turnovers for the game, and in the third quarter, that helped Ottoville crank up its transition game.
Honigford was also finding seams and driving to the basket.
Ottoville shot only 32 percent from the field and was 6 of 20 on 3-pointers.
Leipsic shot 30 percent from the field and was 1 of 8 on 3-pointers.
Ottoville owned the boards, 31-22, including 17-4 at the offensive end.
“We didn’t have a lot of turnovers today (17), but they were live-ball turnovers, that they could turn into points,” Leipsic coach Gary Kreinbrink said. “That’s what hurt us. … But they are awfully good. I thought our defense was really, really good in the first half, but we had trouble rebounding the ball and gave up a lot of second-chance opportunities, which they converted. That’s too much to overcome.”
Ottoville defeated Arlington 53-47 during the season on Dec. 29.
Arlington knocked Ottoville out of the district tourney last year 45-44.
North Baltimore 66
Arlington’s long-ranger bomber Whitney Dodds scored 22 points, with six 3-pointers, to lead Arlington over North Baltimore in the second district semifinal of the night.
Sierra Nichols, a 6-foot center, had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Arlington.
Jenna Pepple added 12 points off the bench, while Jayme Webb scored 10.
Morgan Smith scored nine.
Besides the inside game of Nichols, Arlington shot 10 of 20 on 3-pointers.
Sophomore guard Alivia Light had 22 points for North Baltimore. She hit 14 of 14 at the foul line.
Bailey Boyer added 14 points for North Baltimore.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.