OTTAWA — The exclamation point came early in Ottawa-Glandorf’s 59-50 girls basketball win over Ottoville on Thursday night in a match-up of unbeaten teams.
The Titans forced 13 first-half Ottoville turnovers – 10 of them in the game’s first 11 minutes – to build a 10-point halftime lead and never let that margin fall below six points the rest of the way.
Senior guard Erin Kaufman scored 23 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead Ottawa-Glandorf (7-0). Ashley Schroeder scored 13 points and Brianna Schimmoeller had 11 points.
Kasey Knippen’s 14 points led Ottoville (8-1) and Brynlee Hanneman scored 13 points.
“You can’t get behind an Ottawa-Glandorf team like that and expect to overcome it a lot of times. They have a lot of quickness, they have a lot of depth,” Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said about O-G jumping out to a 32-22 halftime lead.
“We don’t normally turn the ball over but we haven’t played a team like Ottawa-Glandorf with that kind of quickness. Turnovers haven’t been characteristic of us all year but when you play a team like Ottawa you have to expect a little bit of that,” he said.
Kaufman said the memory of a fast start followed by a bit of a lull in a win over Arlington helped keep the Titans’ defensive intensity at a high level.
“Last week at Arlington we got off to a really good start but by the second quarter we had many possessions where we didn’t score and we realized that when we come out we need to get hot on defense and keep that going the whole game. It’s not a one quarter thing, it’s a four-quarter thing,” she said.
Ottawa-Glandorf coach Troy Yant said, “We didn’t really trap or anything, we just wanted to get back to playing man-to-man. We’ve got some experience. We’ve got two or three girls who have played a lot of basketball so we were just hoping to play straight (man-to-man defense), play aggressive and see what we could do.”
The Titans’ defense also limited Knippen, the No. 1 scoring threat for Ottoville, to three shots in the first half before she got 10 of her 14 points in the second half.
“They were guarding her so they were close enough to know what kind of gum she’s chewing,” Kleman said. “There are things we do when people do that but we didn’t execute it tonight. And that’s probably because Ottawa is really good.”
Ottawa-Glandorf led 48-34 after three quarters. Ottoville cut the lead to six point, 56-50, on a 3-pointer by Brynlee Hanneman with 1:09 left in the game but that was as close as it could get.
O-G shot 47 percent on field goals (24 of 51) and Ottoville hit 48 percent of its shots (17 of 35). Ottoville had a 23-22 rebounding advantage. Ottawa-Glandorf forced 18 turnovers and had 13 of its own.