Ottoville's Haley Landwehr (32) leads a break after coming up with a steal in the Division IV state semi-finals Friday afternoon.
Ottoville's Haley Landwehr (32) leads a break after coming up with a steal in the Division IV state semi-finals Friday afternoon.

By Charlie Warnimont
Sentinel Sports Editor
COLUMBUS - Ottoville had been able to fend off every Fort Loramie challenge in leading almost all of their Division IV state semi-final Friday afternoon at the Value Center Arena.

In overtime, and with the pressure mounting, the Big Green were unable to hold off the Redskins challenges any longer.
Fort Loramie outscored the Big Green 15-3 in the final seven plus minutes of the game to defeat the Big Green 49-42 in the second Division IV state semi-final before 6,580 fans. The win sends the Redskins (26-3) to the state finals Saturday evening against Berlin Hiland, a 54-51 winner over Reedsville Eastern in the first semi-final. The Big Green saw their season end at 27-1.
Ottoville scored the first basket of the game and had fended off every challenge Fort Loramie had mounted in an effort to take the lead. But as the game went on and the pressure started to mount, the Big Green found it harder and harder to find offense as the Redskins made one final run.
The Big Green had a 31-25 lead heading to the fourth quarter and were up 35-28 with 4:22 left to play after a basket by senior Rachel Beining and two free throws by junior Taylor Mangas. Fort Loramie used two free throws by Darian Rose and a Jessica Boerger basket to pull within 35-32.

Senior Rachel Turnwald halted the Redskin run with two free throws that was matched by Rose at the other end. After two free throws by senior Abby Siefker for the Big Green, Rose came up with a steal, basket and a three point play that had Fort Loramie within 39-37 with 2:21 left to play.

Twenty seconds later the Big Green suffered a big blow when Siefker was whistled for her fifth foul with 2:01 left. The Redskins were unable to take advantage of the situation as the only points scored in the final two minutes of regulation was a basket by the Redskins Meg Westerheide with 38 seconds left.

Both teams had their chances to get the lead late in the fourth quarter. Ottoville turned the ball over, while Fort Loramie played for the final shot. Beining saved the day for the Big Green as she blocked a layup attempt by Boerger with 1.8 seconds left. The Redskins had another opportunity to pull out the win, but were unable to get off a shot.

The overtime belonged to Rose and the Redskins. Rose, a 5-8 junior, scored nine of her teams 10 points in overtime as she opened the scoring with a basket with 2:39 left in the extra session, then added four free throws. Rose finished the contest with a game high 21 points, 16 of them coming after the third quarter. She was 10-of-13 at the free throw line in the game.

Two of Ottoville's points came on a basket by Mangas, while the other one came when Kendra Eickholt hit a late free throw.

"Darian had a couple of shots blocked the first half and was kind of timid," Fort Loramie coach Carla Siegel said. "I knew she would bounce back, because that is the type of player she is. Then we just had other people step up."

"I felt really bad, because my team always looks for me to lead them and the first half I wasn't able to do that," Rose said. I was pretty upset with myself. But then I came out in the third quarter and everybody on the team was hitting everything. When Siefker went out I knew I could drive a little more and not worry about getting my shots blocked."

"I think their (Fort Loramie's) depth took over a little bit," Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said. "Especially in overtime. The girls had to log a lot of minutes and it wasn't like a stroll in the park type minutes, it was more like slogging through the quicksand type minutes, trying to get through to win the game. If we had (Tonya) Kaufman in our lineup to help our depth, I really would have liked our chances."

Four of the five Ottoville starters logged over 30 minutes in the game, as the Big Green played only two subs in the game.

While the Big Green were not as deep, the Redskins played 12 players, they had trouble handling the Redskins fullcourt, and halfcourt, pressure as Ottoville turned the ball over 32 times in the game, compared to 22 for the Redskins.

"I liked our defensive pressure," Siegel said. "At halftime we forced 17 turnovers. That's one thing we told the girls we thought we could do is get them into turnover problems."

Despite problems holding onto the ball the Big Green never trailed in the first half as Siefker gave them a 4-2 lead after the first quarter with two baskets. The second quarter saw the Big Green lead by nine points twice, the second time at 15-6 before the Redskins went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 15-15. Hallie Benanzer hit two three-pointers for theRedskins and Boerger had a three point play. The Big Green had an 18-15 halftime lead as Rachel Turnwald hit a three point play to end the first half scoring.

Fort Loramie tied the game twice in the third quarter before the Big Green took a 29-22 lead and led going to the fourth quarter.

Benanzer added 12 points to the Fort Loramie win and Renae Meyer pulled down seven rebounds. Rose also dished out five assists for Fort Loramie.

Beining paced the Big Green attack with 18 points, 13 rebound and four blocked shots. Siefker had nine points, only two in the second half. She also grabbed 12 rebounds for the Big Green.

"It was a hard-fought ball game, that could have went either way at the end of the game," Kleman added. "We could have won it in regulation and they could have won it in regulation. The ball didn't bounce for us when we needed it to bounce for us. It wasn't for a lack of effort or preparation because we did all those things. In life things don't always fall the right way for you. I told the girls in the lockerroom, if this is the worst day of your life, then you are having a heck of a life."

* * * *

Fort Loramie 15-40 14-21 49: Meg Westerheide 1-1-3; Darian Rose 5-10-21; Jessica Boerger 2-1-5; Renae Meyer 2-1-5; Paige Ordean 0-1-1; Julie Hoying 0-0-0; Kelly Turner 2-0-4; Megan Imwalle 0-0-0; Hallie Benanzer 4-0-12; Janelle Hoying 0-0-0; Amanda Holdheide 0-0-0; Reggi Brandewie 1-0-2.

Ottoville 15-45 12-21 42; Rachel Turnwald 2-4-8; Taylor Mangas 1-2-4; Nicole Vorst 1-0-2; Rachel Beining 8-2-18; Abby Siefker 3-3-9; Monica Sarka 0-0-0; Kendra Eickholt 0-1-1; Courtney Von Sossan 0-0-0; Haley Landwehr 0-0-0; Annie Lindeman 0-0-0; Alexis Wannemacher 0-0-0; Lindsey Wannemacher 0-0-0.

FortLoramie 2 13 10 14 10 - 49

Ottoville 4 14 13 8 3 - 42

Three-point goals: Fort Loramie 5-13 (Boerger 1, Benanzer 4); Ottoville 0-8.

Rebounds: Fort Loramie 25 (Meyer 7); Ottoville 39 (Beining 13, Siefker 12).

Turnovers: Fort Loramie 22, Ottoville 32.

Assists: Fort Loramie 9 (Rose 5); Ottoville 6 (Vorst 3).