COLUMBUS GROVE – So far this season, Ottoville has not tasted defeat.
However, longtime Ottoville girls basketball coach Dave Kleman is still looking for more consistency out of his team.
In Saturday’s Putnam County League matchup at Columbus Grove, Ottoville’s defensive pressure more than made up for any offensive deficiencies, as the Big Green helped cause 27 Grove turnovers, en route to a 44-30 victory over the Bulldogs.
With the win, Ottoville improves to 12-0 overall and 3-0 in the PCL. Columbus Grove slips to 5-6, 1-2.
Ottoville’s Bridget Landin led all scorers with 17 points, and had a game-high nine rebounds. Lauren Schroeder led Columbus Grove with 11 points and five boards.
“We pride ourselves on defense,” Kleman said. “But as a coach, I’m never satisfied. There are things we need to do. We’re in kind of a lull right now, offensively. We’re hoping to break out of that pretty soon. Every team goes through that, and your defense has to be good enough to keep you in those games.”
For the game, Ottoville recorded 14 steals at the defensive end. Grove was limited to just 27 shot attempts (12-of-27 for 44 percent).
Ottoville, on the other hand, shot 16-of-42 from the floor for 38 percent.
After three lead changes in the first quarter, Ottoville finally pulled out to a 12-7 lead by the first stop.
Grove came right back in the opening moments of the second quarter, eventually cutting it to 12-11 at the 4:30 mark on a steal and layup by Amy Vorst.
However, Ottoville responded.
A few possessions later, Quinley Schlagbaum hit a 3-pointer to push the Big Green lead to 15-11.
Columbus Grove turned the ball over nine times in the second stanza, as the Big Green capitalized on Grove’s miscues. Ottoville led 19-14 at the halftime break.
The Big Green controlled the boards in the first half, 14-9. Landin led the way with four rebounds and four points in the first two quarters of action.
“Bridget (Landin) was cleaning the boards pretty good, down there,” Kleman said. “She’s done that all year. I thought we did a good job on the boards.”
For the game, the Big Green won the battle on the boards, 26-17.
It was all Landin in the third quarter. The 6-foot senior post player muscled her way inside, scoring 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the floor. The Big Green led 25-16 at the 5:39 mark.
Ottoville’s lead ballooned to 36-21 by the end of the third quarter. Ottoville’s defensive pressure helped cause 12 Grove turnovers in the third frame.
“Ottoville is good enough, as it is. So, you don’t need to give them the basketball,” Columbus Grove coach Brian Schroeder said. “You can’t give them second-chance opportunities. So, the big points of emphasis for us, going into the game, was to
take care of the basketball and make sure we finish defensive possessions by rebounding. Those were the two things that hurt us, today.”
Kleman is not overly-concerned with his team’s lack of consistency at the offensive end.
“This is the time of the year, where you just try to survive,” he said. “We just recently got everybody back. Now, it’s about trying to find that rhythm again. We had a concussion here. We had an ankle (injury) there; and then you get sickness and all that stuff going on. It’s just that time of the year, where we just have to fight through it. And hopefully when we start making some shots, then we’ll be