OTTOVILLE — It’s all about finding ways to win for the Ottoville boys basketball team.
This season, when its shooting is not up to par, Ottoville has utilized its defensive pressure and rebounding prowess to pull away from the opposition.
In a key Putnam County League boys basketball matchup Friday against visiting Continental, Ottoville sped up the pace and controlled the boards, en route to a convincing 51-30 victory over the Pirates at L.W. Heckman Gymnasium.
With the win, Ottoville improves to 14-4 overall and 4-1 in the PCL. Continental slips to 7-10 in all games and 3-2 in league play.
Kellen Schlagbaum led Ottoville with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. Trey Landwehr came off the bench and scored six points on two 3-pointers. Carter Horstman was a force on the boards and at the defensive end for the Big Green, coming away with eight rebounds, four steals and five points.
After leading 12-8 by the end of the first quarter, Ottoville turned up its defensive pressure the rest of the game.
“We haven’t shot the ball very well, recently,” Ottoville head coach Keith Utendorf said. “Credit our guys – they have continued to battle, over and over again. I’m pretty proud of our guys on figuring out a way to win, when we don’t play as well (offensively).
“We know it’s a PCL game. … Credit those guys (Continental). They play us tough every year. Defensively, they’re really, really solid. They put great pressure on the basketball. They make us play physical. So, we had to fight through some of that adversity.”
Konner Knipp-Williams led Continental with 15 points, four boards and two blocks. Mason Rayle added seven points and five rebounds for the Pirates.
“They have a great player inside with Konner (Knipp-Williams). He had a great game, tonight,” Utendorf said. “We struggled a little bit with some of our coverages. It was 12-8 at the end of the first quarter, and I think 24-12 by the halftime break. So, I thought our guys responded, coming out of that (break). We had key contributions tonight. Trey (Landwehr) was one. Carter Horstman, obviously, was (contributing) almost every time. … He (Horstman) is kind of that glue guy for us. He does about everything. He’s our best defender. I think he’s one of the better defenders in the area. So, we had guys step up.”
Ottoville raced out to a 9-0 lead to start the contest. Schlagbaum and Michael Turnwald (five points) each nailed a 3-pointer in the early going.
However, the Pirates managed to cut the deficit to 4, 12-8, by the end of the first quarter.
Ottoville was 4 of 10 shooting from the field in the first stanza. Continental was 3 of 10 from the floor.
Schlagbaum led the Big Green with six first-quarter points.
Ottoville extended its lead to 12, 24-12, by the halftime break. The Pirates turned the ball over seven times in the second quarter.
Schlagbaum led the Big Green with 10 first-half points. Horstman came away with five points, seven rebounds and three steals in the first half.
“He (Schlagbaum) is one of the more explosive guys we’ve had,” Utendorf said. “When he goes downhill (driving into the lane), it’s really pretty – and he usually finishes.”
Ottoville controlled the boards in the first half, 19-11. For the game, Ottoville won the boards, 32-16.
Ottoville was 9 of 26 from the field in the first 16 minutes for 35-percent shooting. The Pirates were 5 of 18 for 28-percent shooting.
Ottoville led 34-19 at the third stop.
For the game, Ottoville shot 42 percent from the field. Continental connected on 35 percent of its field goal attempts.
On the night, Ottoville turned the ball over 14 times, while Continental committed 16 turnovers.
“Defensively, that’s what it has to be,” Utendorf said in reference to his team’s defensive effort. “That (defense) is our calling card. … It always has been and always will be.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0414.