ELIDA — No more coming up short.
Ottoville is headed to the state tournament.
Ottoville left little doubt with a convincing 52-37 victory over Arcadia to win the Division IV girls basketball regional championship Saturday at the Elida Fieldhouse.
“It’s just amazing,” Ottoville’s Rachel Beining said. “It’s nothing like I’ve ever felt.”
Seconds after the win, a few Ottoville players paraded out a huge sign with coach Dave Kleman’s picture and the number 400 on it. Kleman’s career record now stands at 400-95 in his 21 years.
“I’ve really tried to play that down because it’s not about how many wins I get, it’s about the girls playing,” Kleman said. “It was like having a no-hitter. Nobody was saying anything until after the fact.”
It marks Ottoville’s fifth trip to state after going in 1993, 1996, 2005 and 2007. It marks the first trip to state for the seniors after falling in the regionals two of the last three years.
Ottoville will meet the Fort Loramie (25-3) in the state semifinals at 3 p.m. Friday at Ohio State’s Value City Arena. Arcadia ends its year 23-4.
“We’re all best friends and to finally be able to get there, it’s amazing,” Ottoville’s Abby Siefker said. “I think everybody would have been crushed (if we didn’t make it to state). It would have been the fourth year of getting so close. It feels great.”
With Ottoville’s 6-foot-2 Siefker in foul trouble, guard Rachel Turnwald led the team with 16 points, including nine in the final quarter. She hit 9 of 10 at the foul line.
The Big Green’s 6-foot Beining added 11 points and three rebounds. She hit 5 of 6 from the field.
Siefker had nine points and eight rebounds. Nicole Vorst scored nine points.
Arcadia’s first team all-district guard Miranda Palmer (21.7 ppg) scored 19 points, but was held to seven in the second half. She shot 6 of 16 from the field and 3 of 9 on 3-pointers.
In the Ottoville man-to-man, Taylor Mangas and Turnwald followed Palmer closely.
“She’s a great player,” Kleman said. “I know we had a couple of blocks on her and that’s got to play on your mind a little. She’s got a great step-back three pointer and we just did a better job of corralling her.”
Added Turnwald, “We were trying to keep the ball from her (Palmer), if we could, because she’s a good shooter and a great all-around player.”
Ottoville used some hot outside shooting to bounce out to an 18-10 first-quarter lead. Nicole Vorst hit two threes, while Turnwald and Mangas both hit one. In the quarter, the Big Green hit 7 of 10 from the field and 4 of 6 on 3-pointers.
Palmer’s ability to drive to the basket, along with hit pull-up jumpers, kept Arcadia within 25-20.
Siefker went to the bench with 6:35 left in the third quarter after picking up her third foul. Beining scored five points in the quarter, including a three-point play.
The Big Green pulled out to a 38-29 lead after three quarters. Ottoville started the final quarter with a 7-2 run to pull out to a 45-31 lead. Turnwald scored five during that run.
Arcadia wasn’t able to get within 11 in the final three minutes.
Arcadia rolled out a 1-2-2 full-court press and it forced Ottoville into eight first-half turnovers. The Big Green did a better job with the pressure in the second half and finished with 13 turnovers. Arcadia also had 13 turnovers.
Ottoville won the boards, 22-21. Ottoville shot 59 percent from the field and was 4 of 8 on 3-pointers. Arcadia shot 31 percent and was 4 of 20 on 3-pointers.
Ottoville heads to state after losing to Arlington in the regional at Elida last year.
“This feels unreal,” Turnwald said. “We’re so really excited about it. We can hardly believe it happened. This is what we’ve been waiting for.”