OTTOVILLE — The 25-0 record says it’s been a perfect season so far for Ottoville’s girls basketball team. But even perfect seasons can include dealing with adversity.
Fourteen games into the season, Ottoville lost starting guard Tonya Kaufman when she suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in a game against Pandora-Gilboa.
The next game, Ottoville had to come from behind in the final minute to beat Minster 45-43, but since then it has won its last 11 games by an average of 30 points a game.
Kaufman, a 5-foot-7 junior, scored 5.3 points a game, averaged three assists a game and was one of the top players against pressing defenses.
“I think after that (Minster) game we realized how we had to start stepping it up,” Ottoville post player Abby Siefker said after a 54-23 win over Crestview in the Division IV district championship game at Lima Senior on Saturday night.
“Tonya really was a big part of our team and I think everyone has done a great job of upping their game and getting better at what they do well. She did a good job of bringing the ball down for us and I think the other guards started taking more responsibility for doing that.”
Senior guard Rachel Turnwald said, “Dave (coach Dave Kleman) just got us all together and we knew we had to just get together and do it. She was a big part of our team but we knew we could move on from there. We just had to snap out of it. We didn’t change as much as people just stepped up their game.”
Since the Minster game, junior Taylor Mangas has moved into the starting lineup to join Nicole Vorst and Turnwald as Ottoville’s perimeter players.
She averages 7.3 points a game and is shooting 51 percent on 3-pointers.
“It really forced Taylor Mangas to step up and embrace her role as a starter. She’s been lights out since then,” Kleman said. “And our bench has been decent for us. They’re young but we’re getting there. They do a nice job of plugging the holes for us. They come in and give us a little bit of time here and there.”
Ottoville and Leipsic will play in a Division IV regional semifinal game at 8 p.m. Thursday at Elida.
The Vikings (17-8) got to the regional by upsetting Patrick Henry 43-38 in overtime on Saturday night in the district at Liberty-Benton. It is the first district championship in girls basketball for Leipsic and came after a district runner-up finish in 2012.
Ottoville won the Putnam County League game between the two teams 67-45 on Feb. 2 at Ottoville.