LIMA — As a freshman last year, Ottoville’s Josh Thorbahn showed flashes of brilliance and it appears the sophomore is ready to continue where he left off after scoring 22 points to help propel the Big Green past Temple Christian, 70-47, in the season opener for both squads Friday night.
It was Thorbahn’s trio of treys in the first half that helped the Big Green open up a 19-11 lead after one and then scored eight more in the second quarter to spearhead a second half surge that saw Ottoville outscore Temple Christian, 17-6 to open up a 35-19 advantage at halftime.
Despite repeated attempts by Pioneer Brody Bowman to help try and erase that deficit in the second half, the Big Green proved to be too much to handle for Temple Christian and the Pioneers would only get as close as 16 in the final two stanzas.
Ottoville head coach Keith Utendorf said Thorbahn’s scoring, along with teammates Ryan Suever’s 18 points, were instrumental in the win, but he was also pleased with how all the players contributed especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Bowman, who scored 27 of the Pioneers’ 47 points, was held to five in the first period, thanks to a stout defensive effort that began with Joesph Miller covering him and continued with a host of other Big Green players defending the senior sensation. Often Utendorf would double team Bowman to wear him down.
“Obviously Brody Bowman is a special player and there was a lot of special players on the court tonight,” Utendorf said. “We did a lot of things defensively to try and run at him and wear him down. I thought our kids did a lot of good things defensively especially with our versatility and the different looks and lengths we can bring.”
Utendorf added that Miller did a good job on Bowman and added that Kyle Manns also helped contain Bowman as well as clamping down on senior Dawson Draper who was held to four points. Also helping on Bowman was Thorbahn and Suever.
“We tried to throw five guys at him and it is nice that we have that ability to get different sizes and lengths on him,” Utendorf said. “We gave him some problems over the course of the game and made it hard for him to score.”
Another way the Big Green wore down the over-matched Pioneers was to speed up the tempo of the game to keep Temple Christian running and not resting.
Offensively, Utendorf added that Joseph Miller, Will Miller and Drew Fisher provided key buckets.
“Hopefully Josh (Thorbahn) is going to continue that shooting but if not we know we have some guys who can step up and are a little bit more confident now with a game under the belt and find out how they are going to contribute.”
Pioneer head coach Bruce Bowman was disappointed with the effort but proud of the team’s effort.
“We just played a really good basketball team and we knew that coming in,” Bowman said. “I thought we fought hard but we didn’t execute well all night long. They are a difficult team to guard and we gave up some runs that you don’t want to give up.”
Ottoville’s smothering defense also posed a number of problems.
Bowman added that he is not making excuses for his team and admitted the players need to step up their game this game was a good indicator of what the Pioneers are going to have to work on if they are going to be competitive throughout the rest of the season.
“I knew looking at our schedule that this would be one of the top teams and we happen to open with them and this a good measuring stick for what it is going to take,” Bowman said.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.