OTTOVILLE – Playing youth will at times bring about inconsistent play.
Both Ottoville and Kalida are experiencing these growing pains, so far this season.
However, the one thing that was consistent for these two programs in Thursday’s Putnam County League showdown at Ottoville was the relentless defensive play from both squads.
After getting down early in the game, Ottoville battled back and eventually slipped out with a hard-fought 47-42 victory over Kalida in girls basketball action.
Ottoville (7-5, 4-1 PCL) had three players score in double figures. Annie Lindeman and Brooke Mangas each scored 14. The 6-foot Lindeman pulled down seven rebounds and blocked three shots. Alicia Honigford scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers for the Big Green.
Jackie Gardner, who was seeing action in just her second game of the season because of a soccer injury, led Kalida (5-9, 1-2) with 10 points, including a 3-pointer.
In the first quarter, it was Kalida’s defensive pressure that won out, as Ottoville struggled at the offensive end. Kalida jumped out to a 15-10 lead by the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Ottoville’s pressure got the best of Kalida. The Big Green held the Wildcats to just 4-of-8 shooting and helped cause five Kalida turnovers. The Kalida lead was 26-22 at the break.
Ottoville came out in the second half and mounted a 13-2 run to pull out to a 35-28 lead with less than two minutes to play in the third quarter. At the third stop, the Big Green led 37-31. Mangas and Honigford, who are both freshmen, began to heat up in the third frame.
“We play a lot of young kids. …So, we’re up and down quite a bit,” Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said. “But, it’s not for a lack of effort. I think the kids give a lot of good effort, but when you’re young, you ride that roller-coaster. You have to take what you get on any given night. And we played really well in the second half. I thought our press was very good.”
In the fourth quarter, Ottoville went to the free throw line often, hitting 8-of-10 from the stripe. Kalida, on the other hand, was 1-for-1 at the free throw line in the final eight minutes. For the game, Kalida was just 2-for-2 at the charity stripe. Ottoville, with its aggressive takes to the basket, went 18-for-28 at the line.
On the night, Kalida committed 19 turnovers, while Ottoville had 13 miscues.
“We talked at the start of the game that we had to come out with better energy,” Kalida coach Adam Huber said. “We’ve been digging ourselves a hole early in the game. We played a good first half. …We came out with that energy. Then we said at halftime that we have to come out with the same energy again. They (Ottoville) picked their aggressiveness up, which we knew they would do. They weren’t going to let that happen on their home court. They picked it up and we weren’t able to respond right away. And credit to them. But, I’m so proud of my kids. We come back with the ball there in the end with a chance.”
For the game, Ottoville shot 40 percent from the field. Kalida made 41 percent of its shots from the floor.
“We’re just not a very confident group right now,” Kleman said. “Hopefully after tonight’s game, we’ll play with a little more confidence at the start of the game. Again it’s youth. Until you live through it, you can’t get the experience. Hopefully, we’re growing right now.”