OTTOVILLE — Kalida knew it had to slow Ottoville down.
The game plan worked for nearly the entire game.
However, Ottoville reclaimed the lead late in the contest, and held on for a hard-fought 39-35 victory over Kalida Thursday night in a key Putnam County League girls basketball game at L.W. Heckman Gymnasium.
Despite shooting just 30 percent from the field, including an 0-for-6 shooting performance in the third quarter, Ottoville was able to pressure its way back into the hunt, and hit key free throws down the stretch to close out the win.
“They outplayed us for three-and-a-half quarters,” longtime Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said. “We were very lucky to come away with the victory. They (Kalida) put in a great effort. A lot of our problems were due to them. I was happy with the win, but not happy at how we played.”
Bridget Landin led Ottoville (11-0, 2-0 PCL) with nine points and eight rebounds.
Kalida’s McKayla Maag led all scorers with 12 points, including two 3-pointers. Taylor Lucke added nine points for the Wildcats.
For the game, Kalida (6-5, 2-1 PCL) shot 33 percent from the floor.
Kalida claimed its first lead, 2-0, on a pair of free throws by Sarah Klausing (six points, five rebounds), just seconds into the contest.
Both teams struggled from the field early on, missing their first five field-goal attempts.
However, a 3-pointer by Maag, midway through the first quarter, gave the Wildcats a 6-1 lead.
Ottoville knotted the game at 8 apiece on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Landin, with two minutes to play in the opening stanza.
Kalida held a slight 10-8 advantage by the end of the first quarter. Ottoville was just 2-of-11 shooting from the field.
Ottoville claimed its first lead of the game, 16-15, at the 1:20 mark of the second quarter, on two free throws by Kemper. The Big Green went into the halftime break with an 18-15 lead.
Ottoville’s defensive pressure helped cause seven second-quarter turnovers for Kalida. For the game, Kalida turned it over 21 times, while Ottoville turned the ball over 17 times. The Wildcats controlled the boards in the first half, 19-12.
Kalida stayed close in the third quarter as Ottoville committed seven turnovers. The Wildcats took a 21-20 lead with less than four minutes to play in the third
frame, on an inside move by Grace Klausing.
Kalida slipped out with a 23-20 lead by the third stop.
“I just don’t think we were patient enough on offense,” Kleman said. “I know that I sound like a broken record, but I just don’t think we’re there yet.”
At the 6-minute mark of the fourth quarter, Maag hit a three from the left corner, giving Kalida a 28-24 lead.
Ottoville responded, knotting the game, 28-28, with 3:20 to play in the contest on a free throw by Kemper.
Kasey Knippen (six points) tied the game at 30 apiece on a 12-footer in the lane with less than two minutes to play in regulation.
Then with 1:20 left in the game, Amber Miller scored inside, giving the Big Green a 32-30 lead.
Haley Hoersten nailed two free throws with 52 seconds left to give Ottoville a 34-32 lead, and the Big Green staved off the Wildcats in the waning moments to record the victory.
“I told them how proud I was of them,” Kalida coach Adam Huber said. “All year, we’ve only given up like 37 points per game. So, we know we’re going to be there, defensively. Our issue is that we have to hit enough shots. Tonight, we didn’t.”
Kalida had the edge on the boards, 29-22.
“It was just one of those nights we didn’t execute on what we were trying to get done,” Kleman said. “It was very frustrating for us on the bench, as well as on the floor. But, we persevered and came out with a win.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.