MINSTER — Much has changed since Minster knocked off Ottoville in last year’s Division IV girls basketball state title game.
But one thing has remained a constant: Minster still has two of the top guards in the state.
Minster’s guards Ivy Wolf and Janae Hoying led the way at both ends in the Wildcats 56-39 victory Saturday afternoon against Ottoville.
On offense, Wolf had 19 points with four 3-pointers. She also had six rebounds.
Hoying had nine points and seven rebounds.
Averi Wolf added 12 points and two threes for the Wildcats.
The Minster defense, led by Ivy Wolf and Hoying, forced Ottoville into 25 turnovers.
“I challenged our girls at halftime for the number of dive on the floors and deflections that we typically have that we didn’t have,” Minster coach Mike Wiss said. “Defensively, in the third quarter, I thought we had a pretty nice quarter of limiting what they wanted to do better than I thought we did in the first half.’’
Minster is 12-3. Ottoville is 9-6.
Ottoville coach Michelle Leach thought Minster’s man defense was the difference.
“Their defensive pressure I would call that swarming,” Leach said. “When we got the ball, they were there tying us up right away. They used that to their advantage.’’
Nicole Knippen paced the Big Green with 12 points and six rebounds. Alexa Honigford scored nine points with six rebounds.
Ottoville freshman Elise Kramer had eight points, with two 3-pointers, and seven rebounds. Jocelyn Geise had four points and seven rebounds.
Since Minster won the state title 53-37 over Ottoville last year, the Wildcats have graduated their entire inside game, including Courtney Prenger, who is playing at Xavier.
Ivy Wolf and Hoying are Minster’s only returning starters.
As for Ottoville, Knippen is the Big Green’s only returning starter.
Minster was coming off a 33-32 league loss to Marion Local on Thursday.
The Wildcats started in their pet man press and Ottoville struggled from the opening tip.
Minster went out to a 12-6 early lead and had turned the Big Green over eight times at that point.
Minster led 14-11 after the first quarter and 30-22 at the half.
Knippen was keeping the Big Green within firing range, as she had 10 points at the half, including eight in the first quarter.
Minster was leaning heavy on the driving and shooting of Wolf and Hoying.
Wolf started slow, but hit back-to-back 3-pointers late in the second quarter to pull the Wildcats out to a 30-22 lead.
Wolf had 13 points by halftime. Hoying had five points at the half, but was also grabbing rebounds and gobbling steals in the press.
Ottoville had 12 turnovers at the half.
“Their guard play is outstanding,” Leetch said. “When you want to go help on the post players, you can’t, because you can’t leave someone on the outside. They’re either going to drill a three or they’re going to take it to the hole. That’s a tough matchup for most teams.’’
Ivy Wolf and Hoying alternated on Knippen in the second half and held her to two points in the final two quarters.
“That’s having two guards who can rotate on one,” Wiss said.
Minster led 43-32 after three.
The Wildcats then pulled out to a 52-36 lead with under four minutes to go just after Ivy Wolf sank her fourth 3-pointer of the day.
Ottoville won the boards, 34-30.
Minster had 15 turnovers.
Ottoville shot 30 percent from the field and was 6 of 19 on 3-pointers.
Minster shot 41 percent from the field and was 8 of 17 on 3-pointers.
“Our shot chart looked pretty good, inside and outside,” Wiss said. “I was pleased with that.’’
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.