BLUFFTON — Ottoville coach David Kleman worried about his team being stale early in the tournament, the way he felt they were in years past.
Ottoville was a lot of things in sectional tournament, but “stale” wasn’t one of them.
The Big Green defeated Columbus Grove 69-33 on Saturday night, continuing its perfect 23-0 season and winning the Division IV sectional final at Bluffton high school. Ottoville will play Lincolnview at Lima Senior at 8 p.m. on Thursday night in the district semifinal.
Ottoville came out of the gate strong, as they so often do, with a 15-1 lead to start the game that included a barrage of 3-pointers from guards Rachel Turnwald and Taylor Mangas. Its defense was equally unstoppable early, typically taking the ball away from the Bulldogs’ offensive players before they could even attempt a shot.
Ottoville’s offensive pace gradually slowed as they game progressed, but it still didn’t struggle the slightest bit to generate points from everywhere on the court. Its balanced scoring led to a second straight game where four different Big Green players reached double figures in points.
“We’re just really unselfish,” Kleman said. “We share the ball and always look for the open shooter. That’s the way we play, and that’s what makes us tough to play against.”
Abby Siefker led all Big Green scorers with 17 points, 15 of which came in the first half. Rachel Turnwald finished with 14 points, while Rachel Beining scored 12 points. Taylor Mangas finished with 14 points that included four 3-pointers.
Kalida 46, Continental 36
When Kalida and Continental went to halftime with a 19-15 score, the prevailing thought was that whichever team had a shooter catch fire in the second half would immediately give themselves a huge advantage in the defensive struggle.
That was precisely the case when freshman Kylie Osterhage, who just happened to play like a veteran, scored 10 of her 17 total points in the fourth quarter to pace Kalida’s offense in a 46-36 victory that earned the Wildcats a spot in the district semifinals at Lima Senior on Thursday night. Kalida will take on Crestview at 6:15 p.m.
Kalida head coach Adam Huber said the aggressive shooting from Osterhage was just what his team had been looking for out of the talented freshman.
“We’ve been on (Osterhage) to be more aggressive because she’s our best shooter percentage-wise,” Huber said. “She just normally doesn’t look to shoot. For some reason, the last couple days of practice she’s just had a different look about her that she was going to try to be more aggressive and she certainly was tonight.”
Kalida took control of the game in the second quarter, starting on an 8-0 run and seeing its defense pitch a shutout for the period until the 35 second mark. Continental made a couple of small runs after that, but never regained the 13-9 lead they had at the end of the first quarter. Osterhage’s 14 second-half points accounted for just over half of the Wildcats’ offensive production for the half.
Behind Osterhage, Jackie Gardner scored 10 points for Kalida, while Elizabeth Turnwald finished with eight points. Leva Weller was key for Continental, scoring 14 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
With Kalida and Ottoville prevailing to the district semifinals, it sets up a possible rematch of last season’s district final game, a game that the Big Green won. Kalida is now 15-8 on the season.