It may have said February 28th on the calendar, but it March Madness was definitely in full effect last night at Lima Senior. The Northwest Conference champion Crestview Knights brought their 21-2 record into yesterday’s District Semi-Finals against the 15-8 Kalida Wildcats in hopes of returning on Saturday night to play for a chance at a District Championship and walked away with a 53-47 Double Overtime win, but it’s how they earned it that makes the story unique.
Lindsey Motycka, a 1st Team All-NWC selection led her Knights early as they jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter but were matched as a run by the Wildcats closed the gap to 12-10 after the first stanza. A 10-5 second quarter run gave Kalida a 20-17 lead at the break and set up what would be a fantastic second half. For the next two quarters Kylie Osterhage for Kalida and Emily Bauer of Crestview waged a war underneath that had both picking up buckets and fouls along the way. After 3 quarters had elapsed the scoreboard shows Kalida ahead by 1 at 29-28. Both teams were able to put a lot of points on the board in the fourth quarter from the field and especially the free throw line where the Knights were able to make a killing. In the final minute of the game it was Summer Holtkamp who put the Wildcats up 43-40 with her coast to coast layup that left only 5 seconds on the clock. During the ensuing timeout there is no doubt that Coach Adam Huber told his players in emphatic fashion DO NOT FOUL THE THREE, but that is exactly what happened as the Knights stepped to the line with 1.9 seconds remaining in the game needing Mackenzie Riggenbach to hit all three just to tie, which she did. Kalida got one final heave from halfcourt that came up short to send the game to overtime.
In the first overtime neither team was really able to do very much as they only hit one bucket each to send the exhausted players to a second overtime tied at 43. Overtime #2 was all Knights however as they outscored Kalida 8-2 to move on to face the winner of Ottoville and Lincolnview on Saturday night and improved to 22-2 on the season. With the loss Kalida’s season ended at a respectable 15-9 and will no doubt have them hungry next season for a return trip to Districts.
The second game of the night had a LOT to live up to as the #1 team in Division IV and top seeded Ottoville, sporting a 23-0 record laced up their sneakers against the 18-5 NWC representative Lincolnview Lancers. Prior to the game much had been made about the star studded matchup in PCL 1st Team and Player of the Year Abby Siefker, PCL Coach of the Year Dave Klemen and the Big Green’s matchup with 1st Team NWC selection Katie Dye and Coach Dan Williamson’s Lancers.
Lincolnview jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the game and seemingly had Ottoville staggered early, but as they have done all season Ottoville quickly responded and led 13-12 after one. Most teams who have a bad quarter are usually staring down the barrel of a blowout, those who have two like Lincolnview did in the middle two quarters and are outscored 36-5 during that stretch had better begin planning for next year. Ottoville led 33-14 at the half. At the break the Lancers had turned the ball over 16 times and only scored 14 points, a surefire recipe for disaster against an average team, let alone a team like the Big Green who thrive on others mistakes and can turn them into quick points behind Nicole Vorst, Taylor Mangas and Rachel Turnwald.
After three quarters Ottoville led 49-17, but Abby Siefker the future Bowling Green State University Falcon had outscored Lincolnview 19-17 herself. Coach Dave Klemen and his staff pulled their starters with about 7 minutes to go in the fourth for good, but even the reserves got into the act as Nicole Kramer buried two 3 pointers to extend the lead. Never a squad to throw in the towel however the Lancers never gave up as they continued to try to battle back by scoring 10 points in the stanza to make the final 62-27 Ottoville. Siefker was the games leading scorer with 19 while her teammate Taylor Mangas chipped in 11 after battling back from an apparent ankle injury in the first half. Claire Dye was the only player in double figures for Lincolnview with 10 in the loss.
The Big Green upped their record to 24-o on the season while ending the Lancers 2012-13 campaign at 18-6. Ottoville will meet Crestview on Saturday night at Lima Senior for a chance at another District Championship, but will need to shore up their ballhandling as they committed 25 turnovers in the contest, a number that undoubtedly can not happen against a very stout Crestview defense if the Big Green look to advance to Regionals at Elida’s Fieldhouse next week.
The audio from both games is posted at http://www.michaelhirn.com/media/audio/