OTTOVILLE — Ottoville’s dynamic has changed since it lost to Minster in the state title game last year.
Ottoville’s entire athletic front line is gone, including all-state Bridget Landin (to Findlay).
Ottoville’s guard-heavy attack paved the way Saturday in a 53-41 girls basketball victory over Crestview.
Ottoville, which opened with a 52-34 win over Van Wert on Friday, is 2-0.
Ottoville coach Dave Kleman is still experimenting after losing Landin, C.J. Kemper and Amber Miller to graduation.
“Finding what fits, what works, what to run, what not to run, it’s all a puzzle,” Kleman said. “And we never quite figure it out until the end of the year. I probably have 30 percent in what I want in, defensively and offensively. As we get good at the few things that we do, then I can start adding more.’’
It was the opening night for Crestview, which is also putting new pieces together after the graduation of one of the best players in the area last year Paige Motycka.
“We have a lot of kids who don’t have a lot of experience at the varsity level and tonight they got some experience,” Crestview coach Mark Gregory said. “Tonight we struggled going too fast at times and when we would get past it (the press), it would be one pass and shoot it. … It was a great learning experience for us.’’
One of the Big Green’s two returning starters, senior guard, Kasey Knippen, led the way with 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.
“We lost most of our post players, so it’s more of a guard set now and we’re going to get up and down,” Knippen said. … Back in junior high, we ran teams off the floor and that’s (running) what we’re doing this year.’’
Sophomore guard Alexis Honigford had 10 points, all in the first half.
Haley Hoersten had eight points and five rebounds. Quinley Schlagbaum had eight points and three rebounds.
“That’s probably my biggest concern, is that everyone has to rebound on this team,” Kleman said. “Last year you had Bridget, C.J. and Amber Miller ripping them off and those other girls were taking off. Now they have to stay and rebound.’’
With the Ottoville guards flying to the glass, the Big Green outrebounded Crestview 33-25.
“With Bridget, C.J. and Amber gone, someone had to go get those rebounds,” Knippen said.
Lexi Gregory led the Knights with 17 points.
Lexi’s sister, Bailey Gregory, had 11 points with three 3-pointers.
The Knights’ Olivia Cunningham had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Crestview had 15 turnovers against the Ottoville 2-2-1 press. Ottoville had 12 turnovers.
The Big Green led 16-13 after the first quarter, then pulled out to a 41-23 lead at the half.
Ottoville started quickly with a 10-2 lead.
Knippen led the way early with nine of her team’s first 10 points.
Crestview came right back behind Cunningham to tie the game at 10.
Crestview was leading 13-12 with 1:07 left in the first quarter when the Big Green ripped off an 8-0 lead.
That gave the Big Green a 20-13 lead with 6:44 left in the second quarter.
Honingford had back-to-back fast-break layups during the spurt, including one off her steal.
When Ottoville’s Schlagbaum sank a 3-pointer, the Ottoville lead went to 27-13 to cap a 14-3 run.
Knippen was hitting shots from deep and also from the 12-to-15-foot range. She had 17 points at halftime.
Crestview did a good job flipping from a man-to-man to a 2-3 zone in the second half and the Big Green could only manage two field goals in the second half.
Ottoville led 47-30 after three quarters, but Crestview came back to get as close as 49-39.
That came with 2:23 left before Hoersten hit 3 of 4 at the foul line to put an end to the Knights’ late charge.
“Give them a lot of credit. They did a lot better job in the second half against us,” Kleman said.
Added Gregory, “We made it interesting, but they made their free throws down the stretch.’’
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