ELIDA — After the Ottoville's girls last state tournament appearance in
2013, Big Green coach Dave Kleman told assembled members of the media
Ottoville would make a return appearance.
Saturday evening his Big Green made good on his statement.
Behind some solid defensive play and an offense that hit some key shots throughout the game, Ottoville never trailed in defeating Old Fort 59-42 in the Division IV regional finals at the Elida Fieldhouse before a packed house of fans from both teams.
The Big Green (24-3) advance to the Division IV state semi-finals Thursday against Berlin Hiland (27-1) at 8 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. Old Fort finished the season at 24-4.
Ottoville's defense played a superb game Saturday as their pressure forced 20 Stockader turnovers and held them to a 33 percent shooting night (14-of-42). Old Fort had their moments in the game to keep things interesting for a while, but those moments were few and far between to keep pace with the Big Green.
Ottoville scored the first seven points of the contest and were up 11-3 before the Stockaders scored four straight points to trail 11-7. A Bidget Landin basket ended the first quarter scoring as the Big Green had a 13-7 lead.
The Big Green had an 18-11 lead in the second quarter before a 7-0 burst gave them a 25-11 lead with 2:56 left in the half. Kasey Knippen had five points in the run as she opened it with a three-pointer before Amber Miller closed it with a baseline jumper. The Stockaders used a 6-2 run to pull with 10 points and that would be the halftime margin as Ottoville was leading 29-19.
Old Fort's Allison Adelsperger scored the first basket of the third quarter before the Big Green went on a 7-2 run to take a 13 point lead at 36-23. Alicia Honigford started the run while Brooke Mangas had three points and Knippen a basket. Honigford and Mangas returned to the lineup to start the third quarter after missing playing time in the first half because of foul trouble.
Baskets by Landin and Miller ended the third quarter scoring as the Big Green had a 16 point lead (42-26) going to the fourth quarter.
A putback by Old Fort's Jordan Magers opened the fourth quarter scoring before Ottoville went on a 8-0 run for their biggest lead of the night at 50-28 two minutes into the final quarter. Knippen had a pair of putbacks in the run and CJ Kemper also had a stickback as the Big Green did a solid job of hitting the boards all night long. Ottoville finished the game with a 33-27 rebounding margin for the game.
Old Fort pulled within 16 points late in the game as that would be as close as they would come.
Knippen came off the bench to lead the Big Green with 15 points, while Landin had 10 points and six rebounds. Mangas added nine points and Haley Hoersten grabbed five rebounds.
Adelsperger led Old Fort with 15 points and eight rebounds.