BATH TOWNSHIP — Ottoville wasn’t copying its strategy from anyone else when it beat Bath 50-31 in girls basketball on Tuesday night, its coach Dave Kleman said.
But Bath has seen this script more times than it would have liked already this season.
After watching the Wildkittens take an early lead, the Big Green employed a zone defense and dared Bath to beat them from outside.
And the stark truth was that Bath couldn’t do it, at least not on Tuesday night.
“We just do what we do,” Kleman said. “They were running us ragged (in a man-to-man defense), so we tried something different.”
Something different, a 1-2-2 zone defense, turned out to be something really good for Ottoville.
Bath led 13-7 in the first minute of the second quarter, but from there Ottoville went on 29-6 run and held the Wildkittens to two field goals in the next 16 minutes.
Ottoville was up 21-16 at halftime, led 34-19 after three quarters, and the lead went as high as 20 points twice in the fourth quarter.
Bath made 2 of 11 field goal attempts in the second quarter, then followed that with 1 of 11 shooting in the third quarter.
Abby Siefker (15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocked shots), Taylor Mangas (12 points) and Rachel Beining (12 points, 5 rebounds) led Ottoville, ranked No. 1 in Division IV, to its 11th straight win.
“We played really hard defensively, but if we can’t find a way to score the basketball any more consistently than we are, we’re going to face this a lot,” Bath coach Greg Mauk said.
“It’s been a season-long problem. We just don’t score the ball like we need to. It’s a lot easier to play defense when your offense is efficient. But when your offense isn’t efficient, it seems like you’re playing defense all the time,” he said.
“We tried everything in the bag. We were 3 of 24 from the 3-point line and 13 of 49 overall. That’s not going to win games.”
Alyssa Manley led Bath (8-4) with eight points and Emily Ruhe scored seven. Ottoville has not allowed more than 32 points in a game this season.
Three of the Wildkittens’ four losses have been to state-ranked teams: Wadsworth, who is No. 5 in Division I; Versailles, who is No. 8 in Division III; and Ottoville. They also have a win over Anna, the No. 5 team in Division III.
“That was a very good game for us because they’re very quick and Bath has played a lot of quality teams. Their record is deceiving,” Kleman said.
Ottoville shot 58 percent on field goals and had a 23-14 rebounding edge. Both teams had 14 turnovers.