ELIDA — One Knippen was more than a handful for Arlington.
But two Knippens caused the Red Devils to completely unravel.
The Knippen sisters, Kasey and Nicole, powered Ottoville to a 62-28 victory over Arlington to win the Division IV girls basketball regional championship Saturday at the Elida Fieldhouse.
Ottoville (24-3) advances to the state semifinals to meet Shadyside (24-4), which defeated Peebles (19-8) 55-45, at 3 p.m. Friday at Ohio State’s Value City Arena.
It marks Ottoville’s eighth trip to state, including 2018 and 2017.
“This is wonderful that I get a different group each time to experience this,” Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said.
Sophomore Nicole Knippen led the Big Green with 26 points, three 3-pointers, and nine rebounds.
Senior Kasey Knippen, who is headed to Urbana, had 23 points, with two 3-pointers, and seven rebounds.
“It was wonderful. We all played well,” Nicole Knippen said. “When Kasey and I jell together, it’s like I’m speechless. If we get together and we get the team on the same page, and we just keep going, we’re just unstoppable.’
Ottoville’s Alexis Honigford had eight points and four rebounds.
Lindsay Dodds and Jenna Pepple both had seven points for Arlington.
Ottoville led 34-13 at the half and wasn’t challenged in the second half.
Often it was one Knippen driving and finding the other Knippen for a basket.
“When we’re on, we know where to find each other,” Nicole Knippen said.
On Dec. 27, Ottoville knocked of Arlington 61-58.
But this time, it was all Big Green.
Ottoville played without starter Brynlee Hanneman, who was out with the flu.
So with inside player Hanneman out and the Big Green down to a seven-man rotation, Ottoville switched up from its usual press and man defenses.
Instead, the Big Green went almost exclusively with a 2-3 zone.
“Brynlee was a trooper, she came today, but she tried to warm up and she was light-headed and wasn’t able to play,” Kleman said. “So we had to change. We had to keep them from getting the ball inside too much and be able to cover their shooters and we did a pretty good job of that.
“We probably would have played a lot of man with Brynlee in there and he (Arlington coach Seth Newlove) was probably prepared for that and we threw a monkey wrench at him, so now we’re playing zone.’’
The zone seemed to baffle Arlington early, as the Big Green went out to an 8-4 lead.
Ottoville led 14-4 after the first quarter.
At 8-4, the Big Green ran off a 12-0 run behind both Kasey Knippen and Nicole Knippen.
That gave Ottoville a 20-4 lead.
Arlington rallied and got within 20-11 until Kasey Knippen took over.
Kasey Knippen scored 14 points in the second quarter. She closed the quarter with a 15-footer, an 8-footer, a 12-footer, a 3-pointer and another 8-footer.
With Kasey Knippen getting 19 at the half, the Big Green went into halftime with a 34-13 lead.
Nicole Knippen had 12 at the half and went on to score five in the third quarter and tacked on nine points in the final quarter.
“We always say when those two (the Knippen sisters) are on the same page, we’re pretty tough,” Kleman said.
Ottoville led 50-25 after three quarters.
Ottoville outrebounded Arlington 31-25.
The Big Green shot 50 percent from the field and was 6 of 16 on 3-pointers.
Arlington shot 24 percent from the field and was 1 of 11 on threes.
Ottoville team returns to state after the graduation of the entire front line, all-state Bridget Landin, C.J. Kemper and Amber Miller.
“Honestly, no one thought this was coming,” Nicole Knippen said. “We kept grinding it out and doing everything we could to get there and now we’re here.’’
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.