BLUFFTON — Bluffton head coach Eric Garmatter said before the game he was pleased to be 4-1 on the young season, but his squad hadn’t faced anyone of the caliber of visiting Ottoville.
The Big Green showed why they are undefeated yet again as they flashed a combination of size, shooting and defense on their way to a 69-36 win Saturday afternoon.
Ottoville got its first three baskets of the day on 3-pointers by Kasey Knippen, Quinley Schlagbaum and Haley Hoersten as the Big Green grabbed a 16-9 lead after one quarter of play.
At that point their 1-2-2 full court press began to cause major problems for the Pirates and seven turnovers led to a 21-4 scoring burst by the Big Green, who rode a 15-0 spurt to end the period, and took a 37-13 lead to the half.
“That first half was where we really played the way I envision us playing.” Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said. “I was pleased to see us get off to a really good start.”
Ottoville starts 6-foot-0 senior Bridget Landin (a University of Findlay commit), 5-10 senior Cassandra Kemper, plus brings in 6-0 junior Brynlee Hanneman while Bluffton’s tallest starter is 5-9 Libby Schaadt.
That size and length advantage for the Big Green caused fits for Bluffton on the offensive end of the floor as the Pirates only managed to hit 5-of-23 (23 percent) from the floor in the first half.
Ottoville quickly squelched any hopes of a Pirates comeback when it opened the third quarter with a 12-0 burst to take a 49-13 lead.
The Big Green ended the period with a 55-23 lead and despite Bluffton standout Alivia Koenig hitting three treys to start the fourth stanza the Big Green bench connected on six-of-six free throws to complete the convincing victory.
Ottoville placed four girls in double figures led by Kemper with a team-high 12 points. Landin and Abi Hilvers added 11 while Knippen finished with 10 points for the Big Green.
“They all know they have the green light to shoot it,” Kleman said. “We have good length and got some steals and scored and that is a back breaker for the other team.”
Koenig paced the Pirates with a game-high 13 points and teammate Avery Rumer chipped in with 10 points for Bluffton.
“We will find the positives and we can fix the negatives,” Garmatter said. “We got some easy shots early on but didn’t finish and their length is hard to defend. We have to learn from it and move on.”
Ottoville finished the game connecting on 25-of-53 from the field good for 47 percent shooting. Bluffton struggled to a 29 percent shooting afternoon as the Pirates connected on 13-of-44 from the field.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.