OTTOVILLE — The Ottoville girls basketball program is not looking ahead.
After making it to the Division IV state tournament last season, before getting knocked out in the state semifinals by Berlin Hiland, longtime Ottoville coach Dave Kleman is taking it one game at a time.
In Tuesday’s nonconference matchup with visiting Wayne Trace, Ottoville took the early lead and then staved off the pesky Raiders for a 53-42 victory at L.W. Heckman Gymnasium.
Ottoville brought its undefeated record in to Tuesday’s contest with Wayne Trace, while the Raiders came in, riding a five-game winning streak.
Ottoville (9-0) utilized not only its quickness, but its size advantage, to push the tempo Tuesday night.
Bridget Landin, a 6-foot post player, led Ottoville with 14 points, including 5-of-6 shooting from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Landin also pulled down four rebounds and had two blocks and two steals. Haley Hoersten added nine points (7 in second half) for the Big Green.
Claire Sinn led Wayne Trace (5-2) with a game-high 15 points and eight rebounds. Brooke Sinn scored 13 points and pulled down five boards for the Raiders.
“They (Wayne Trace) are a very nice team,” Kleman said. “I told our girls, ‘You better be ready to play.’ Wayne Trace has a really nice group of kids. They all can shoot the ball. They can handle the ball. You have to be ready to play defense against them.
“We knew they were going to be good. I told them (his team) that this is a trap game for us, because we just got a big win against O-G.”
The score was knotted three times, early in the first quarter Tuesday night.
Ottoville’s largest lead in the first frame was 12-5, on an inside move by C.J. Kemper at the 3:40 mark.
Claire Sinn kept the Raiders in the hunt, scoring eight points in the first eight minutes of action.
Wayne Trace knotted the game at 12 apiece, on a field goal by Sadie Sinn, with a minute left in the first stanza, which held up until the first stop.
Ottoville came out strong in the early moments of the second quarter, going on a 10-0 run, and pushing out to a 22-12 lead. Kasey Knippen (seven points) scored five points for the Big Green during that stretch. Abi Hilvers (5 points) had a 3-pointer to ignite Ottoville’s run.
The Raiders struggled, offensively, in the second quarter, making just 3-of-15 from the floor. Ottoville led 29-19 at the halftime break.
The Big Green could not quite get enough separation in the third quarter.
A 3-pointer by Hoersten at the 3:10 mark, gave the Big Green a 37-25 lead.
Ottoville led 41-30 by the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Wayne Trace cut the deficit to 7, 44-37, with 5:05 left in the game, on an inside basket by Gracie Gudakunst.
Moments later, Brooke Sinn’s 3-pointer, cut it to 44-40, with less than four minutes left to play.
However, Ottoville responded, outscoring Wayne Trace 9-2 down the stretch.
For the game, each team came away with 29 rebounds.
From the field, Ottoville shot 40 percent, while Wayne Trace connected on 34 percent of its field goal attempts.
“I don’t think we played extremely well, but good enough to win,” Kleman said. “I wasn’t overly pleased with our patience. We were trying to score 20 points in every possession, instead of just taking our time and looking for a good shot.
“I wasn’t pleased with the way we played. But give them a lot of credit, because a lot of problems we had were due to what they were doing.”
Ottoville turned the ball over 14 times, while Wayne Trace turned it over 16 times on the night.
“We were just a little too careless with the ball tonight,” Kleman said. “That’s one of my biggest pet peeves. We have too good of a group to turn the ball over that many times.”