OTTOVILLE — Ottoville (ranked seventh in Division IV) put in a solid all-around performance to seize a 62-26 Putnam County League victory against Continental in girls basketball Thursday night.
“We are starting to put it all together. We’re not peaking yet but we’re getting there,” Ottoville head coach Dave Kleman said. “We’re starting to see our offense catch up with our defense. The good thing is we are beginning to see a number of our girls starting to score on a consistent basis. One of the things you saw tonight was better ball movement. We are taking good, wide-open shots and starting to hit them more consistently.”
Ottoville had nine players score at least two points.
Continental head coach K.C. Knowles acknowledged his team has moments but is not consistent yet.
“We got off to a slow start and that put us behind from the get-go. Our performance has been too much of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Knowles said. “The other day against Miller City, we scored 13 points in the first half and 44 the second half. We have a lot of young girls that are trying to learn the game of basketball and unfortunately, we have to go through the growing pains.”
Ottoville (12-2, 3-1 PCL) shot 25-of-52 from the field for 48.1 percent, including 10-of-20 from 3-point land.
That was versus 9-of-30 for Continental (2-10, 1-2 PCL), 0-of-7 from beyond the arc, for 30 percent.
Ottoville got off quickly thanks to its defense. They forced eight of Continental’s 16 game turnovers in the first period and gave up 1-of-3 shots. With the defense taken care of, they led from the get-go and used 7-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-8 beyond the arc, led by 10 points from Kasey Knippen (15 for the game, along with four steals), to get off to a fast start. The Pirates’ only tally was a basket by Kate Keller and when Knippen buried a 3-ball with a minute left, that gave Ottoville an 18-2 advantage after eight minutes of action.
Ottoville continued hot into the second period, downing 9-of-17 shots. This time, they spread it around with good balance to help pave the way for the Big Green offense. On the other end, they forced five more miscues and held the Pirates to 3-of-7 shooting as Continental could not get any consistent offense going. When Alexis Turnwald, still coming back from injury game by game, scored a deuce with 45 seconds to go, that made the halftime score 38-10.
“It’s always good to get your younger girls in there. They work hard, too, during practice and it’s a reward,” Kleman said. “Those younger girls are in the same boat the seniors were in three years ago. They were sitting behind (CJ) Kemper, Bridget (Landin) and other then-seniors and other earlier players and they were learning. These younger girls are quite talented and them getting playing time will only benefit us in the long run.”
Knowles also knows his team is going through a steep learning curve.
“This is my first year being the head coach here and they have a lot to learn how I want to do things. For example, we are playing a lot more zone than they have in the past,” Knowles said. “There are times we show what we are capable of and play good basketball but it’s not close yet. We need to go through those growing pains and it’s tough for the girls when you are struggling so much.”
Continental took much better care of the basketball in the second half, adding only three more turnovers the rest of the way. Unfortunately for the Pirates, they couldn’t get hot from the field.
They shot 4-of-10 from the field in the third quarter, with Kerri Prowant (11 points) scoring eight points in the period. That allowed the Big Green to add one point to its lead by the end of the period, 49-20, on a 3-pointer by Knippen with four seconds left on the clock.
With mostly subs on the court, Ottoville committed eight of its 13 game turnovers in the fourth quarter. Still, the Ottoville defense closed strong, giving up one made field goal in the span and added to its lead, outscoring the Pirates 13-6 to close the game.
Haley Hoersten scored 11 as the only other Big Green player in twin digits. Hoersten led the rebounding effort with seven, while Alexis Honigford and Nicole Knippen added six each. Nicole Knippen led in assists with five.
Prowant was the top Pirate rebounder with four and added three steals.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.