OTTOVILLE — For Ottoville girls basketball head coach Michelle Leach, getting her team out on the court Saturday was the first step.
For Ottoville — and for like other area teams — there wasn’t much of a preseason, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, Ottoville was unable to work a scrimmage in before the start of the regular season.
However, it didn’t take too long for Ottoville to shake off the rust in Saturday’s 54-42 season-opening nonconference victory against visiting Lincolnview at L.W. Heckman Gymnasium.
After Lincolnview took an early 2-0 lead, Ottoville roared back, claimed the lead and never looked back.
Ottoville’s defensive pressure did not miss a beat, as the Big Green helped force 30 Lincolnview turnovers on the day.
“It’s our first game, with absolutely no scrimmages,” Leach said. “So, this was a big one. I think, defensively, that’s where our efforts are — trying to make the other teams speed up. We want to speed up the game and get out into transition.”
Nicole Knippen led Ottoville (1-0) with 15 points and four steals. Shayla German came off the bench and scored 12 points, including two 3-pointers. Elise Kramer scored eight points, including two 3-pointers. Kramer also had three steals at the defensive end. Alexa Honigford had eight points and three steals. Tori Thomas had six points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Big Green.
Zadria King led Lincolnview (1-1) with 11 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Teammate Kendall Bollenbacher had 10 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Lancers.
Ottoville led 15-5 by the end of the first quarter. Lincolnview committed 10 turnovers in that first eight minutes of action.
Lincolnview attempted to climb back in.
The Lancers opened the second stanza with a 5-0 run, cutting the deficit to 5, 15-10.
However, Ottoville responded.
The Big Green, behind a 3-pointer by German, pushed back out to a 28-16 lead by the halftime break.
“I think today was a game of runs,” Leach said. “We went on a run. … They went on a run. It was like, which team could weather the run the best.”
Lincolnview’s defensive pressure stepped up in the second half.
In the third quarter, the Lancers limited the Big Green to 4 of 8 shooting from the floor. Lincolnview helped force eight Ottoville turnovers in the third quarter. For the game, the Big Green committed a total of 18 miscues. They had a total of five turnovers in the first half.
“That first four minutes of the second half is where we kind of got a little lackadaisical,” Leach said. “After that, I thought we stepped up our pressure and attacked the offensive glass a little better, which really helped us out. I thought we did a much better job of penetrating, getting their defensive person to commit, then we were able to kick out for an open shot. That put our players in a good position to make some big shots.”
For the game, Lincolnview held a slight edge on the boards, 34-28.
Ottoville shot 38 percent from the field. Lincolnview shot 44 percent.
“Ottoville is a great team,” Lincolnview head coach Kyle Williams said. “They are going to be very successful this year. But against any team, you can’t have 30 turnovers and compete.
“But our girls fought back and made some runs, and they (Ottoville) made their runs. Having 30 turnovers and losing by 12, shows we’re capable (of competing). If we handle the ball and are solid at the offensive end, then we can be where we want to be.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.