VAN WERT — Bodies flew through the air for every loose ball.
And when bodies weren’t skidding across the floor, they were banging for a rebound.
Ottoville pulled out a defensive tug-of-war battle 34-31 in overtime over Wayne Trace in the Division IV girls basketball district finals Saturday at Van Wert.
Ottoville (22-3) advances to the regional semifinals against the Hopewell-Loudon/Arcadia winner at 8 p.m. Thursday at Elida.
Wayne Trace ends the season 21-4.
“They are very much like we are,” Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said. “I told the girls today, ‘You’re going to be playing against yourself because they do a lot of the same defenses and they take the ball to the bucket like we do.
“It was hard-nosed, battle royal boxing match and it was all clean stuff. It was going to be physical because that’s the way we play and that’s the way they play.’’
In overtime, Haley Hoersten hit a driving up to give the Big Green the lead to stay 33-31 with 1:58 left in overtime.
“She (Hoersten) is so strong, physically, that she can get to the basket and she has the green light. And she is determined and when she gets a head of steam going, it’s tough for somebody to stop her.’’
Nicole Knippen added a foul shot off the one-and-one with 27 seconds left in overtime to finish off the scoring 34-31.
Ottoville’s Kasey Knippen hit a pull-up, 7-footer in the lane with 9.8 seconds left to tie the game at 31 and send it into overtime.
“We did a good job of getting her the ball,” Kleman said. “She was having a tough night scorer, but when you’re a scorer, you score.’’
Knippen said, “I got it and it was the last shot and it was a matter of going on or going home. If I wanted to move on, that was what I had to do.’’
It was a physical, defensive battle both ways, with both teams clamping down on the other in the man defense.
Nicole Knippen led the Big Green with 10 points and six rebounds.
Kasey Knippen scored eight.
Brynlee Hanneman had five points and seven rebounds.
Wayne Trace was led by Kaylee Shepherd and Katrina Stoller, both nine points.
Claire Sinn, the Raiders’ 1000-point scorer as a junior, was held to six points by the defense of Quinley Schlagbaum.
“She’s a great shooter and she’s had a great season,” Schlagbaum said. “We wanted to make sure we locked down on defense and always made sure where she was and that’s what I tried to do the whole game.’’
With the game tied at 27, Wayne Trace’s Claire Sinn and Shepherd both hit two foul shots.
That gave the Raiders a 31-27 lead with 1:13 to go.
But Hoersten hit a driving layup to pull the Big Green within 31-29 with 1:04 left.
The Big Green put the ball in play on the side with 14.9 seconds left and fed Kasey Knippen 15-feet out on the left wing.
She dribbled into the lane, pumped and swished the game-tying shot with 9.8 seconds left.
Wayne Trace wasn’t able to get a final shot in regulation.
Ottoville shot 30 percent from the field and was 1 of 7 on 3-pointers.
Wayne Trace shot 27 percent from the field and was 1 of 4 on threes.
The Big Green won the boards, 32-26.
Ottoville had 15 turnovers, while Wayne Trace had 14.
On Nov. 29, Ottoville knocked off Wayne Trace 59-41.
This time around both teams struggled in the first half to get their offense in sync.
Wayne Trace led 6-4 after the first quarter.
It was an opening quarter which saw Ottoville hit only 1 of 11 from the field.
The game picked up only slightly in the second quarter.
When Ottoville’s Hanneman sank a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left before halftime, the Big Green went into halftime with an 18-16 lead.
“It was like playing ourselves,” Schlagbaum said. “It was good defense back and forth, so it made it tough, offensively, for us to do things. It was a tough matchup.’’
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