By JIM METCALFE
OTTOVILLE — The Bath girls basketball program has built up quite a reputation over the past four decades of full-court pressure basketball.
Ottoville (7-7) found out first-hand what that was about Tuesday night as the Wildkittens (15-1) forced 21 turnovers in amassing a 51-29 girls cage victory at L.W. Heckman Gymnasium at Ottoville High School.
The game was originally schedule for Jan. 7 but was postponed due to weather.
“That is one heck of a team. They have a great program, a great school and a great coach that all exhibit class,” Ottoville mentor Dave Kleman explained. “That is why we scheduled them years ago; they are a measuring stick for you. They force you to grow up quickly. I have mental notes already and we’ll look at the film and talk about what we need to do to get better.”
However, Bath mentor Greg Mauk wasn’t too enamored of his unit the first half
“In all honesty, I thought they played harder than we did the first half, for whatever reason; I don’t blame us playing Sunday (at Pickerington Tournament) for that,” Mauk explained. “I credit Coach Kleman for having those girls ready to play. They didn’t come in thinking that they should roll over for us; they got every loose ball and rebound.”
Whether using full- and half-court man pressure or 2-2-1 full-court and 2-3 zone half-court defense — even some 1-3-1 half-court — the Wildkittens (15-1) made things tough on a young Lady Green (7-7) squad (starting two freshmen, two juniors and a senior, with plenty of other youth off the bench) from the get-go. When they weren’t forcing turnovers, they stymied the hosts into 11-of-34 shooting (2-of-12 triples) for 32.5 percent.
Still, despite forcing five turnovers in the first period, the ’Kittens weren’t exactly taking advantage, hitting a mere 3-of-16 shots in that span (18-of-46 for the night, 8-of-19 downtown, for 39.1%) as the Lady Green man scheme held its own. Ottoville scored a free throw at 6:21 by senior Taylor Mangas (5 markers, 2 assists) for its only lead of the night and Bath took the lead for good at 6:06 on a 3-ball by Jenna Hollar. The biggest lead was 7-1 when Alyssa Manley (4 dimes) scored a basket at 2:54. Mangas drove the middle for a deuce at 2:38 to close first-period scoring at 7-3.
The guests began to slowly pull away in the second period as their defense continued to harass the Green and Gold. They forced four more errors and a 3-of-9 shooting span, all seven points by junior Annie Lindeman (6 boards 3 assists). Bath had five girls score at least a point in the period and their biggest lead of the half was 21-7 on a deuce by Manley at 1:23. Lindeman banked in a trey from left of the key at 1:02 to complete the first half at 21-10, Bath.
Bath came out with a new sense of purpose in the third period and put the pedal to the metal, turning the hosts over eight more times and reaping more offensive rewards — 7-of-14. Bri Smith (10 counters on 3 triples, 6 boards) scored a pair of treys to lead the effort and 6-1 Danielle VanDyke (4 boards, 4 blocks) added five counters. When Cassie Best (9 points, 4 thefts) sliced to the basket for a layin at 1:35, Bath led 40-15 before Mangas hit a 10-footer with 4.1 ticks on the board to get the scoreboard to read 40-17, Bath, at the end of three.
With the only thing to be decided in the fourth period being the final score, the Lady Green outscored their foe 12-1, with junior Courtney Von Sossan (6 points) scoring five and freshman Brooke Mangas (6 points) adding four.
“The good thing for us the first half was we played hard and won a lot of the loose ball plays,” Kleman added. “They came out from halftime and played a lot harder. For us, we have the physical ability but with so many young and inexperienced players, it’s more a mental thing now. There’s no magic wand to wave and poof — you have experience. We’ll get there; we keep improving and this game will hasten that development.”
Overall, Bath finished with 7-of-14 shooting at the line (50%); with 23 boards (seven offensive); seven turnovers; and 13 fouls. Madison Dackin led all scorers with 14.
“The only adjustment we really made at the half — and I let them know about it at halftime — was we had to play smarter,” Mauk added. “We were fouling too much in our press the first half and disrupting our rhythm. Our press needs to be constant and in the flow to really work.”
Ottoville amassed 5-of-9 free-throw shooting (55.6%); 32 rebounds, 10 offensive, as junior Lexie Wannemacher had four; and 13 fouls.
In junior varsity action, Ottoville scored the only points in overtime to seize a 37-35 victory.
Freshman Alexis Thorbahn led the Lady Green (13-1) with 11.
For the Wildkittens (8-5), Brittanie Ulmer netted 11.
Both teams return to league action Thursday: Ottoville hosting Fort Jennings in the PCL and Bath visiting Van Wert in the WBL.
Bri Smith 3-1-10, Audrey Brandon 0-0-0, Tara Herr 0-0-0, Jenna Hollar 2-0-6, Danielle VanDyke 2-2-8, Alyssa Manley 2-0-4, Ellie Dackin 0-0-0, Madison Dackin 5-3-14, Courtny Johnson 0-0-0, Cassie Best 4-1-9. Totals 10-8-7/14-51.
Nicole Kramer 0-0-0, Taylor Mangas 2-1-5, Brooke Mangas 2-2-6, Monica Sarka 0-0-0, Alicia Honigford 1-1-3, Alexis Thorbahn 0-0-0, Courtney Von Sossan 2-1-6, Haley Landwehr 0-0-0, Annie Lindeman 3-0-7, Lexie Wannemacher 1-0-2, Lindsey Wannemacher 0-0-0. Totals 9-2-5/9-29.
Score by Quarters:
Bath 7 14 19 11 - 51
Ottoville 3 7 7 12 - 29
Three-point goals: Bath, Smith 3, Hollar 2, VanDyke 2, M. Dackin; Ottoville, Von Sossan, Lindeman.
Sami Mosley 2-0-5, Bailey Dackin 0-4-4, Kennedy Metcalf 1-1-3, McKenzie Perry 3-0-8, Tori Whitaker 0-0-0, Haley Garland 2-0-4, Brittanie Ulmer 3-3-11, Britlynn Faulder 0-0-0, Haylee Brenek 0-0-0. Totals 6-5-8/13-35.
Madison Knodell 1-0-2, Autumn Neer 1-0-2, Nicole Kramer 0-0-0, Chelsey Boecker 1-0-2, Alexis Thorbahn 5-1-11, Courtney Von Sossan 2-0-4, Haley Landwehr 1-0-3, Lexie Wannemacher 1-3-5. Totals 15-1-4/9-37.
Score By Quarters:
Bath 7 10 12 6 (0) - 35
Ottoville 7 14 6 8 (2) - 37
Three-point goals: Bath, Perry 2, Ulmer 2, Mosley; Ottoville, Landwehr.