Who are some of the frontrunners to make a run at state?
Ottawa-Glandorf always comes to mind. Frequent visitors to Columbus the last several years and even though some might have thought that this was going to be a transition year, Ottawa-Glandorf produced another outstanding season. Another Putnam County team who could make a deep run is Columbus Grove. The Bulldogs won both the Putnam County League and the Northwest Conference. Bath is another team poised to make a run. The Wildkittens’ only Western Buckeye League loss was to O-G.
Who is coming out of the MAC?
Minster, the Division IV state champion the last two years, might have a chance, though it is perhaps not as formidable as last year’s squad. Marion Local and Fort Recovery are also up there among the MAC leaders.
Who are some of the dark horses that could make a postseason run?
Invariably there is a team that hits its stride in the playoffs. Ottoville, no strangers to the big games the last several years, put together a six-game winning streak late in the season. Spencerville has a lot of talent that could be dangerous in the postseason, along with Paulding.
What awaits Ottawa-Glandorf?
Ottawa-Glandorf begins the Division III tournament against the winner of Allen East vs. Hicksville Feb. 22. The Titans will have to watch for Liberty-Benton in the top half of that bracket with teams like Spenverville and Paulding in the lower half of the bracket. If they make it past districts things will get more difficult with teams like Berlin Hiland, Columbus Africentric and Elryia Catholic to name a few.
What does Columbus Grove need to do to advance?
The Bulldogs begin their postseason play when they face the winner of the Fort Jennings/Holgate contest Feb. 20 at 6:15 p.m. The Bulldogs will likely see some tough competition in the upper half of the bracket against Miller City or Leipsic and then could eventually face NWC rival in the district finals. The Bulldogs’ three losses have come to ranked opponents, Bath, Ottawa-Glandorf and Liberty Benton. Columbus Grove has played excellent defense but will need some additional scoring to make a serious run in the regionals.
What does Bath’s tournament trail look like?
Bath will have to beat WBL opponents including St. Marys who they squeezed by 45-44 in the regular season to make it to the district finals where they will probably have to face No. 2 Napoleon in the district finals. The Wildcats have won their last four out of five games and are still developing as a squad.
Can Lima Senior make a run?
The Spartans have a lot of talent but it hasn’t seem to translate into wins this season. Lima Senior has had a rollercoaster of a season with big wins coupled with some bad losses. The Spartans will face stiff competition early in the Division I bracket when they face Toledo Start in the first round on Feb. 22 in Genoa. The Spartans will have to be more consistent if they are going to be successful in the postseason.
Can Ottoville make it back to state?
New head coach Michelle Leach took over a program that was state runner-up two years in a row but a lot of that talent was lost to graduation including Brynlee Hanneman, Haley Horesten, Kasey Knippen and Quinley Schlagbaum. Ottoville will face a lot of talented teams in their sectional/district bracket including Wayne Trace. The Big Green have been close in a lot of the big games against Ottawa-Glandorf and will need to step up their game if they are going to advance in the postseason.
What are some key match ups in the early rounds?
In Division III, Ottawa-Glandorf will probably face Liberty-Benton in the district semifinals. The Titans beat Liberty Benton 36-21 on Feb. 1 but never underestimate the Eagles who are known to come through in big games. If things go according to the seeding Bath could face Napoleon in the district finals at Paulding Feb. 29. Napoleon sports a 19-0 mark overall. Other matchups of interest could be the Bluffton vs. Columbus Grove and Ottovlle against Wayne Trace for district titles. But there are no guarantees because as every coach, player and fan knows anything can happen in the postseason.
Who are some of the players to watch in the postseason?
Starting with Ottawa-Glandorf, the Titans feature a well balanced attack that starts with Kelsey Erford, Bri Schimoeller and Erin Kaufman. The same can be said about Columbus Grove who has Angel Schneider as inside presence and the versatile Kenzie King. Staying in the NWC. Libby Schaadt has been a force for the Priates this year. Other players include Ottoville’s Nicole Knippen, Lima Senior’s Nakiya Sigman and LCC’s Rosie Williams. Bath’s Chandler Clark, Ruby and Esther Bolon and Madelyn Renner.