By JIM METCALFE
OTTOVILLE — Ottoville and Kalida have been going at it a long time in the Putnam County League boys basketball wars and they renewed their archrivalry before an electric crowd at the L.W. Heckman Gymnasium Friday night.
The Big Green broke open a see-saw game in the fourth period, outscoring the Wildcats 18-8 to seal a 54-43 triumph.
“We had 30 hours of game film on Kalida that we looked at in practice. We knew everything we needed to know about what they were going to do,” Ottoville coach Todd Turnwald explained. “However, in the eight years I’ve been a head varsity coach, I don’t think I’ve had a group of kids execute the game plan like these guys did tonight. Outside of maybe one stretch where we got out of rhythm in the third period, from start to finish, we did what we were supposed to do.”
Kalida mentor Dick Kortokrax gave credit where credit is due.
“Ottoville has a losing record, so it’s obvious they wanted to do something about that. They made the plays they had to, especially down the stretch,” he explained. “I’m one to give my opponent their due when they beat us; they played better than we did and I congratulate them. You move on and try to come back better.”
The Big Green (6-10, 3-1 PCL) led 36-35 to start the fourth but Kalida (9-6, 2-1 PCL) junior Devin Kortokrax (10 markers, 5 boards) gave the Wildcats the lead at 7:42 on a 15-footer. Ottoville junior Tyler Roby (15 markers - 3 bombs) hit a pair of charity tosses at 7:25 before Kalida senior Joe Gerdeman (9 counters, 6 rebounds) scored in transition — after being shaken up the play before — to give the visitors their last lead at 39-38. Junior Colin Bendele (4 caroms) hit a second-chance basket at the 6:45 mark for a 40-39 edge as Ottoville would not trail again. Kalida went scoreless until the 1:09 mark when Kortokrax hit the 1st-of-2 free throws, missing nine shots and turning it over twice (7 for the game) in that span. Meantime, senior Luke Schimmoeller (13 points, 5 rebounds) hit four free throws and junior Brandt Landin (18 markers, 3 boards) dropped in a deuce as the Big Green led 46-39 with 1:43 to go. The Wildcats tried to get back in the game and forced four turnovers (11 for the night) but couldn’t heat up as they shot a chilly 3-of-16 in the fourth quarter, including 1-of-9 long range (17-of-54 for the night, 5-of-20 3-pointers, for 31.5 percent). Ottoville sealed the deal by hitting 12-of-14 free throws (Schimmoeller 5-of-6) in the fourth (17-of-20 overall for 85 percent).
Both teams seemed to have nerves in the early going, before a juiced-up crowd, struggling to find their shooting range. They combined for 8-of-25 in the stanza, with Schimmoeller leading all scorers with four. Senior Adam Langhals buried a 3-ball for Kalida to give them an 11-8 edge before Schimmoeller notched two singles for an 11-10 first period score on behalf of the Maroon and White.
There were three lead changes and two ties in the opener, setting a trend for the game as neither team held more than a 5-point lead until late.
The teams seemed to settle down in the nerves department in the second period but the shooting didn't.. Roby erupted with eight points, including a pair of rainbows, while senior Randy Zeller (9 points, 8 rebounds) countered with five for the guests. Kalida held its biggest spread of the first half — four — twice: at 14-10 (Zeller bomb) and 16-12 (Cole Miller putback); early on before the Big Green got rolling behind Roby and took a 21-18 edge on a Landin basket. With Kortokrax and Luke Langhals on the bench with two fouls each, Kalida junior Logan Roebke hit a basket with three minutes left to end first-half scoring at 21-20, Ottoville.
The Green and Gold seemed to have momentum early in the third quarter, moving out to leads of 25-20 (Austin Honigford deuce) and 27-22 (Landin second chance) but Kalida outscored their hosts 11-2 behind Gerdeman’s seven points to take a 33-29 edge on his two singles at 2:13. Ottoville netted the next seven — deuces by Schimmoeller and Landin and a triple by Roby — before a tip-in at the horn from Zeller accounted for a 36-35 Ottoville lead.
“We guarded them very well all night long. That might have been the most effective defense I have seen in a long time; I’m not sure we could have played any better,” Turnwald added. “We came up big down the stretch at the line: we’re excellent foul shooters and we’ve gotten through a stretch where we had to get used to playing at a higher tempo. The kids are used to it now.”
“Where we are hurting right now — in losses to Jefferson, Van Wert and now tonight — is the offensive end. We are just not confident enough there to follow through on our possessions; we seem to want to get them over too quickly with 3-pointers,” Coach Kortokrax added. “When we struggle there — because we can’t outscore teams — we’re not skilled enough defensively to shut teams down. I like the chemistry on this team and how these guys get along; we just have to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to get things turned around.”
Ottoville seized 39 rebounds (10 offensive) as Kyle Bendele led the way with six.
In junior varsity action, Kalida downed the undermanned Big Green 44-26.
Drew Hovest topped the victors with 10, while Ottoville was paced by 13 from Dustin Trenkamp.
Kalida visits Wayne Trace tonight, while the Big Green visits Fort Jennings on Tuesday.
Adam Langhals 2-0-6, Austin Swift 0-0-0, Luke Langhals 2-0-5, Devin Kortokrax 4-1-10, Randy Zeller 4-0-9, Logan Roebke 1-0-2, Cole Miller 1-0-2, Joe Gerdeman 3-3-9. Totals 12-5-4/5-43.
Colin Bendele 2-0-4, Tyler Roby 4-4-15, Austin Honigford 2-0-4, Brandt Landin 6-6-18, Luke Schimmoeller 3-7-13, Kyle Bendele 0-0-0. Totals 14-3-17/20-54.
Score by Quarters:
Kalida 11 9 15 8 - 43
Ottoville 10 11 15 18 - 54
Three-point goals: Kalida, A. Langhals 2, L. Langhals, Kortokrax, Zeller; Ottoville, Roby 3.
Grant Unverferth 3-0-8, Jordan Kortokrax 0-0-0, Drew Hovest 4-2-10, Trevor Maag 1-2-5, Nathan Vorst 1-0-2, Brady Laudick 1-0-2, Austin Klausing 0-1-1, Trent Gerding 4-0-8, Brandon Verhoff 2-0-4, Austin Swift 1-2-4. Totals 14-3-7/10-44.
Jordon Gudakunst 0-0-0, Brendon Schnipke 3-0-8, Dustin Trenkamp 5-3-13, Rudy Wenzlick 1-0-2, Emitt German 1-0-3, Eric Von Sossan 0-0-0. Totals 7-3-3/5-26.
Score By Quarters:
Kalida 11 13 3 17 - 44
Ottoville 7 5 5 9 - 26
Three-point goals: Kalida, Unverferth 2, Maag; Ottoville, Schnipke 2, German.