BLUFFTON — There is no such thing as a perfect basketball game.
But if one got a chance to watch Ottoville’s girls in action on Tuesday night, they would see a team that appeared to be close.
The Big Green defeated Perry 93-46 in the opening round of the Division IV sectional tournament at Bluffton. Ottoville is 22-0 and will face Columbus Grove at 6:15 p.m. Saturday in the sectional final.
Ottoville got a bit of a slow start, if one would dare call it that, early in the first quarter when the two teams seemed to mimic each other’s turnovers and missed shot opportunities. Still, Ottoville scored the first seven points of the game over the game’s first four minutes.
Then, the Big Green cut its turnovers down dramatically and began to roll. Ottoville’s defense started creating turnovers in bunches to create easy buckets in transition, a trend that lasted the entire game. When its offense got a chance to set up, it worked the ball in to its bigs to get even more points in the paint. Throw in a set of guards sho knocked down seven 3-pointers in the game, and on has an offense that got virtually everything to click for 32 minutes.
“We have five or six girls that could lead us in scoring any given night,” Ottoville coach David Kleman said. “It just depends on what the defense gives us. We have a nice smart group that will find open shots, and we get a lot of great looks.
“This game can take a lot of pressure off of us. I think there can be some pressure on the girls on the first night of tournaments, and I really think this game will help us relax more going forward.”
Rachel Beining was the Big Green’s leader on Tuesday night, scoring 18 points and grabbing six rebounds. Abby Siefker finished with a similar line, with 17 points and eight boards. Taylor Mangas scored 16 points, including two 3s, and Nicole Vorst finished with 13 points that included three 3s.
Abbie Patton led Perry with 16 points, including three 3-pointers. Lexie Davis finished with 13 points, while Kaitlyn Cox added 12 points.
Kalida 49 Fort Jennings 31
Kalida defeated Fort Jennings in the second game of the evening, cementing their spot in Saturday night’s sectional final round. Kalida will take on Continental at 8 p.m. at Bluffton.
For the Wildcats, they needed just one quarter to set themselves apart.
Kalida entered the halftime with a 24-22 lead, as its shot percentage suffered against Fort Jennings’ physical defense. The Wildcats got the boost they needed in the third quarter, when it outscored the Musketeers 20-4, including two separate 10-0 runs.
The key to the sudden explosion was the boost in shot production for Kalida, as its offense began to do a better job at hitting baskets from the field and setting up its press on defense.
“We knew we were getting chances, we just weren’t making our shots,” Kalida coach Adam Huber said. “I think we eventually wore them down in the second half, and got the long stretch where our defense allowed just four points. We had to score to get into our press and cause problems, but we just weren’t making shots in the first half to get into our press. Once we did that, we started to get stops we needed.”
Jackie Gardner led the Wildcats with 11 points, while Kristi Honigfort added two big 3-pointers to finish with eight points. Cassie Lindeman led Fort Jennings, hitting two 3s of her own and finishing with 11 points.