OTTOVILLE — Ottoville came into Friday night’s nonconference matchup with visiting Wayne Trace, riding a 13-game winning streak.
After notching a 61-48 victory over Wayne Trace in boys basketball at L.W. Heckman Gymnasium, and running the winning streak to 14 games, Ottoville is now hoping to mount another winning streak when it begins play in the postseason tournament next weekend.
Friday night, Ottoville started the game with a 13-0 run, which seemed to set the tone for the rest of the night.
Josh Thorbahn led Ottoville (19-3) with 21 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Thorbahn missed several games this season with a shoulder injury.
“We played really good defense, and got out to a 13-0 lead,” Thorbahn said. “We were making shots, but it was our defense that led to our offense.
“We came out on fire, with a lot of excitement, because it was senior night. Those two guys (Joseph Miller and Drew Fisher) deserve anything. They’ve been through a lot. For them to get a win tonight was great. But now, it’s another season (postseason). So, we’ll just focus on that.”
Miller scored six points and pulled down eight rebounds. Fisher also had six points for Ottoville.
Kyle Manns scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers for Ottoville.
“I thought Drew Fisher and Joe Miller – our two seniors – were tremendous in spots,” Ottoville coach Keith Utendorf said. “It’s senior night. … It was time for those two to have a special game; and they really did. So, it’s a credit to those guys.”
Reid Miller led Wayne Trace (16-6) and all scorers with 24 points, including 9 of 10 shooting from the free throw line. Nate Gerber had 11 points and two blocks for the Raiders.
Ottoville opened the game with that 13-0 spurt. Fisher scored three times down low, and William Miller (six points, four rebounds) canned a 3-pointer to jump-start the Big Green.
Ottoville also started the contest with some full-court pressure, which gave Wayne Trace some issues.
Wayne Trace struggled early on, missing its first five field-goal attempts, while turning the ball over four times in the first four minutes of action.
Ottoville controlled the rest of the first quarter, and led 21-9 by the first stop.
The Big Green shot well in the first eight minutes, hitting 9 of 17 from the field.
Ottoville kept pushing the pace.
Ottoville pulled out to a 20-point lead, 37-17, with 2:39 left to play in the first half, on an inside move by Grant Kortokrax (two points).
The Big Green went into the halftime break with a 37-20 lead.
Thorbahn led the way with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists in the first half.
Ottoville was 16 of 29 shooting from the field in the first half for 55 percent. The Big Green connected five times behind the 3-point line.
Wayne Trace was 7 of 18 from the floor for 39 percent in the first half.
The Raiders outscored the Big Green in the third quarter, 13-8. Ottoville led 45-33 by the third stop.
Ottoville was just 2 of 11 from the floor in the third.
Just seconds into the fourth quarter, the Raiders cut it to 9, 45-36 on a 3-pointer by Miller.
Moments later, Trevor Speice (two points, four boards) scored down low for Wayne Trace to cut it to 7, 45-38.
The Big Green mounted a 10-0 run to pull out to a 55-38 advantage with 4:30 left to play in the game.
Ottoville was able to answer the Raiders down the stretch.
“We had so many guys step up tonight,” Utendorf said. “Jack Langhals hit a big three for us in the first half. So, for those things, I can’t commend our guys enough – for coming in, excepting roles and doing little parts to get us going.”
For the game, Ottoville shot 49 percent from the field. Wayne Trace connected on 38 percent of its field goal attempts.
Each team had nine turnovers on the night.
Ottoville won the boards, 28-22.
Ottoville, the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Division IV sectional tournament, has a bye in the first round of the sectional at Van Wert. The Big Green will play in a sectional final on Friday, Feb. 28 at Van Wert. Tip-off for that sectional final is set for 6:15 p.m. Ottoville will face the winner of the Pandora-Gilboa/Continental semifinal.
Utendorf realizes the winning streak does not give his team the automatic edge, as it heads into the postseason tournament.
“We talked about it. … We’re 0-0 right now. So, we get to start over. We will come back Monday for practice and get prepared for next week,” Utendorf said.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.