Ottoville defeats Arcadia

Elida – Is the 5th time the charm?

Ottoville will head to the OHSAA State Semi-Finals on Friday afternoon following a thrilling 52-37 win over the Arcadia Red Devils Saturday night at the Elida Fieldhouse in front of a sell out crowd.

Sell out crowd

For Big Green coach Dave Klemen this was also a huge night. Not only will he take his 27-0 squad to Columbus to face Fort Loramie after they dispatched Tri-Village 69-43, but he also picked up his 400th career win “I felt like I was a pitcher throwing a no hitter towards the end as nobody would talk to me” he quipped during his postgame interview.

After Arcadia took an early 3-0 lead behind Senior guard and 1st team all Northwest District selection Miranda Palmer it was all Ottoville as they promptly responded with an 8-0 run over the next three minutes to build an 18-10 first quarter lead. The challenge for most teams who face  Ottoville is the same, which players do you key on and try to stop? Arcadia attempted to answer that question with Abby Siefker (9 points 8 rebounds) and Rachel Beining (11 points 3 rebounds). While the Redskins were successful at times flustering the aforementioned duo in goading them into 7 total fouls in the game and relegating them to the bench for long stretches of time they were not near as successful in stopping Rachel Turnwald. Turnwald, a Senior guard was the Big Green leading scorer on the night with 16 including big shots from the free throw line where she went 9 of 10 in the fourth quarter alone.

Palmer was able to hit some big shots in the game keep her team close as she finished with 19 on 6-16 shooting, but couldn’t get enough help from her teammates as the man to man defensive pressure from Nicole Vorst and Taylor Mangas proved to be too much for the Redskins to handle.

All of Putnam County will surely be in attendance as the #1 seeded Big Green will play 25-3 Fort Loramie on Friday afternoon at 3pm just as they have been throughout this entire historic post season run. Last season’s pursuit of a state title ended with a loss in the same building as Saturday night’s win at the hands of eventual state champion Arlington, something that Ottoville remembered and used as motivation for this season, “I think everybody would have been crushed (if we didn’t make it to state). It would have been the fourth year of getting so close. It feels great” said Siefker after the game.

After they got done cutting the nets down I was lucky enough to get to talk to Nicole Vorst, Taylor Mangas and Coach Klemen, take a listen to that interview here: http://chirb.it/Own9ah

Coach Klemen cutting down the nets and flashing a rare smile on the court

If you can’t make it to Columbus on Friday afternoon to the Schott grab your cellphone and download the TuneIn ap or head over to www.zsportslive.com z1 to hear the broadcast with myself and Dave Boninsegna to hear Ottoville and Fort Loramie do battle for a chance to play for a state championship on Saturday night.

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Columbus Grove, Leipsic, Ottoville advance

Tournament season is one of my favorite times of the year and this season has been one of the wildest in recent memory. I’ve been fortunate enough to call some absolutely fantastic games the past week next to Steve Wiener and here’s a recap of them for you to enjoy.

Liberty Benton High School, the home of Ohio State Buckeye point guard Aaron Craft provided a backdrop Tuesday night for a pair of Putnam County League boys teams trying to advance to play each other for a District Championship this weekend. Leipsic’s Vikings led by high scoring guard Devin Mangas came out for Game 1 against Arlington which took control early. Led by Blanchard Valley Conference 1st teamer Michael Blunk it was the Red Devils who jumped all over the high octane Vikings offense and led 7-4 about six minutes in. That is where things changed as Leipsic ended the quarter on a quick nine point run to make it 13-7 after the first stanza. Caleb Barrera, Austin Brown and Mangas took control of the game in the second quarter as the trio helped Leipsic jump out to a 37-15 halftime lead on the strength of a 10 of 12 shooting output. Despite their own hot shooting in the third quarter, the Red Devils had no answer for Mangas who proceeded to blow by Arlington defenders on his was to 11 third quarter points. Just how good was Mangas in the game with the ball in his hands? 9 of his 12 points came on layups, many in which the closest defender to him was left rubbing his sore ankles at the three point line as his layup went through the net. While Michael Blunk finished with 24 for the Red Devils it was not enough to overcome the deficit that was built early as the Vikings advanced with a 71-50 win behind the Mangas, an easy selection for player of the game who finished with 32 and needs just 8 points to break the 1,000 point barrier for his career tonight in his contest.

Leipsic during the National Anthem

Columbus Grove rolled up north looking to meet their PCL mates Leipsic in the District Finals, but first they would need to defeat the Vanlue Wildcats and University of Toledo commit Zach Garber. Garber, the BVC leading scorer and player of the year stands at 6ft10 and is joined on the front lines for the Wildcats by 6ft5 Josh Clymer. Beating Vanlue would be no small task for Derek Rieman(6 foot 3), Will Vorhees(6 foot 6), and Brady Shafer(6 foot 3) as they were given the task of slowing down and bottling up the aforementioned duo. Garber put his team up early in the first quarter as he hit two three pointers and finished the quarter with 8. Vanlue got a questionable putback at the end of the quarter to put them on top 16-13 after one. In the second quarter the Bulldogs showed flashes of brilliance themselves when at times it was the Collin Grothaus show as he dazzled the capacity crowd with his fantastic dribbling skills and jump shots that put his team ahead 23-20 at the break. In the third the stifling Wildcat defense held the Bulldogs to only 5 points while going into the final stanza leading 36-31. Vanlue shot 1-5 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter but got the lead with 51 seconds remaining off a perfect backdoor cut by Nick Hagerty with an assist over the top of the defense from Garber. Columbus Grove found themselves with the ball and a chance to win as the clock ticked down to around 12 seconds, but Grothaus couldn’t get a shot to go as he was fouled. 6.5 seconds remained on the clock as Grove coming out of a timeout inbounded underneath their own basket to their point guard Grothaus who proceeded to slice through the Wildcat defenders and hit the game winner as time expired to give his team a 47-45 win and a shot at a District Title on Friday night against Leipsic. Grothaus finished with 22 but none bigger than the last shot of the game, Garber finished with 15 in the last game he will ever play for Vanlue.

Listen to the end of the game with myself and Steve Wiener here: http://chirb.it/bxp2vG

Final score after Grothaus game winner

Listen to the game between Leipsic (21-4) taking on Columbus Grove (17-7) on www.zsportslive.com with Dave Boninsegna and Rudy Lomeli from Liberty Benton with coverage starting at 7pm. Leipsic won the matchup between the two teams earlier this season 64-52.

 

Switching gears from boys to girls action it was the Ottoville Lady Big Green (25-0) and the Leipsic Lady Vikings (17-8) taking center stage last night at Elida’s Fieldhouse. Could the Vikings get even with the Big Green for defeating them earlier in the season or would this be just another notch in the belt of the #1 team in the state on their way to another Regional Finals appearance? Leipsic and coach Gary Krienbrink were making their first ever appearance in the Regionals while the Big Green were making stop #12 with the matchup.

Ottoville got on the scoreboard first as Taylor Mangas continued her white hot shooting as of late by burying a three on their first possession, and they never looked back. After the first quarter the Big Green led 19-6 and Leipsic never got any closer as Ottoville used a handful of big runs including a 12-1 run in the second to lead at the half 30-20. One of the adjustments that Leipsic made in attempting to close the gap in the second stanza was to switch from a zone defense that had been giving up three pointers by the bushel to a man defense that forced 6 quick turnovers. Ottoville came out determined in the second half of the game, looking to avoid a second straight year in which their season ended in the Regional Semi-Finals by making their foul shots and just about every other shot they put up to run their lead to 42-24 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the Big Green got three of their starters into double figures as before being taken out for good Turnwald dropped in 12, Beining 10, and Mangas 10. Abby Siefker and Nicole Vorst both just missed double digits as they each scored 9 to go along with Vorst’s 6 steals in the 52-29 win. All 5 of Leipsic’s points in the fourth quarter came from the free throw line as they were held scoreless for most of the second half at the hands of the stifling Ottoville defense which not only doesn’t allow you to score at times but doesn’t let you even attempt a shot when they don’t want to it seems.

Ottoville improves to 26-0 on the season and now has 2 more wins than the previous single season record for wins that was set in 1995-96. Leipsic finishes a fine season with their first Regional Semi-Finals appearance at 17-9 behind 7 points from Shaylyn Moorman.

Ottoville moves on

Saturday night’s Regional Finals will feature the Big Green taking on Arcadia (23-2) who got a big night from Senior guard Miranda Palmer who finished with 18 to dismiss the Pettisville Blackbirds in Game 1 of the night. Arcadia did not hit a shot until almost 2 minutes left in the 1st quarter but used a 14-0 run in the second quarter to take control for good and cruise to a 46-36 win in which they hit 6 deep balls and only committed 10 turnovers.

Panorama inside the fieldhouse during Arcadia’s win

Ottoville and Arcadia can be heard live as it happens from the Fieldhouse in Elida on www.zsportslive.com channel z1 with myself and Steve Wiener with the winner playing either Tri-Village or Fort Loramie in Columbus next week.

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Crestview survives, Big Green roll to District Finals matchup

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.

Crestview defeats Kalida in 2OT

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.

Ottoville advances

The audio from both games is posted at http://www.michaelhirn.com/media/audio/

 

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Leipsic throttles North Baltimore

OTTAWA – The old adage about a game being close until tip-off was never proven more true than at Robert J Hermiller Gymnasium on Wednesday night. After Leipsic won the opening tipoff Devin Mangas went to work for the Vikings, hitting a three pointer to give his team a 3-0 lead just seven seconds in that they would never relinquish.

Leipsic utilized a tenacious press in the first quarter to steal any pass North Baltimore attempted and vaulted out to a 29-8 lead as the first stanza buzzer sounded. If you were one of the handful of Tiger fans it did not get any easier to stomach what happened next as the much bigger and faster Viking lineup put up 31 second quarter points to lead at the half 60-23. As the teams headed into the locker-room for a ten minute break the scoreboard showed the fans in attendance that Leipsic had four players in double figures.

Third quarter action was not very kind to the Tigers either as the only offense they were able to muster on a consistent basis came from Jacob Frost who chipped in a team high 14 once the smoke cleared. Heading into the final 8:00 there were only two questions remaining, could the Vikings hit 100 points for the third time this season and would every Viking get into the scorebook? Both of those questions were answered in the affirmative as a jumper by Oscar Lopez put the Vikings over the century mark with about two minutes to go. Derrick Bennett for the Vikings was the last player on his team to get points into the scoring column when he hit a runner to give Leipsic a 107-39 lead.

Leipsic with the win upped their record to 19-4 and will be back at Ottawa Glandorf on Friday night to play Cory Rawson at 8pm. North Baltimore with the loss saw their season end for the second consecutive year at OG, the site of a 71-12 loss last season and will finish 3-20. In the win Austin Brown led the way with 20 for the Vikings, Devin Mangas hit a trio of 3’s to finish with 19, and Zach Kuhlman with 16, very balanced scoring led the way for Leipsic in the win as Coach Scott Maag talked about after the game: http://chirb.it/ELN0qw

 

A look at the scoreboard after the game:

Leipsic wins big

Thursday night please tune in to hear myself and Steve Wiener as we will have two fantastic girls matchups as the 15-8 Kalida Wildcats will take on the 21-2 and top seeded Crestview Knights at 6:15pm from Lima Senior High School. Game #2 of the night will follow approximately 30 minutes after the first as the 23-0 Ottoville Big Green led by Abby Siefker will do battle with the 18-5 Lincolnview Lancers. All of the action from both games can be found on www.zsportslive.com channel z1 with pregame for the first contest starting at 5:50pm.

 

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Game Recap/Previews for this week

Tuesday night I had a chance to see Ottoville absolutely dismantle Perry and Kalida come back from a close first half to end the Fort Jennings Musketeers season.

Ottoville and Perry tipoff
Ottoville and Perry tipoff

Ottoville jumped out to a 25-1 lead during the first quarter and ended the stanza 28-5 after Perry hit a 22 foot three pointer with 9.8 seconds left in the first for their only bucket from the field in the quarter. The second quarter went a little better for the Commodores as they shot far better from the field, Ottoville still outscored them for the quarter however 27-20 to lead 52-25 at the half. 15 more Perry points in the third quarter including some NBA range three pointers propelled them to a decent quarter, but it was still all Ottoville at the end of three, 74-35. With their season on the line the Commodores never gave up on both ends of the floor, but in the end the Big Green were too much for Perry as they rolled to a 93-46 win to pick up their 22nd win on the season.

Going forward, Ottoville will next take on 5-18 Columbus Grove on Saturday night at 6:15 pm. You can hear the game live as it happens with myself and Steve Wiener on www.zsportslive.com channel z1 as the first of our two tournament games we will be covering that night. When these two programs hooked up on January 5th of this year it was a going away win for Ottoville as they prevailed 57-14. Will Saturday be a chance at redemption for the Bulldogs or more of the same for the Big Green?

Ottoville has relied most of the season on their Senior duo of future Bowling Green Falcon Abby Siefker and Rachel Beining. Those two along with superb shooting from Nicole Vorst, Rachel Turnwald and the injured Tonya Kaufman has propelled Coach Dave Klemen’s squad to a perfect regular season, a 22-0 record and a fourth consecutive Putnam County League title. Can they keep up the pressure not only on their opponents but also themselves as teams start doubling down low and scouting them harder in an attempt to dethrone them in what could be their last run at a state title? Well I guess time will tell, but right now I honestly can’t see anyone being able to hang with them for the foreseeable future. One of the key matchups that probably won’t get enough attention in my opinion beforehand is Ottoville’s Rachel Turnwald and Taylor Mangas defending speedy Grove guard Sidney McCluer, however if Beining and Siefker are dominating in the post like they did in game one between the two this year it might be a moot point.

Ottoville blows out Perry
Ottoville blows out Perry

Kalida’s Wildcats came into Tuesday night’s matchup with Fort Jennings having already have beaten the Musketeers handily at their place in December by a 50-27 score. Both teams didn’t have their best offensive nights early, but it was Kalida who got a spark near the end of the first half when Julia Vandemark hit a 3 near the buzzer to put the Wildcats ahead 24-22 at the break. Whatever the speech Kalida coach Adam Huber gave his team at the half must have been one for the ages as his Wildcats came storming out of the locker room in the third and took over with a 20-4 quarter that included two separate 10-0 runs to blow the game open. Kristi Honigfort added a pair of treys as well as a steal and a bucket during the second run to finish off her personal 8-0 run to end the third stanza and put Kalida ahead for good as they rolled to a  49-31 win for their 15th victory of the season.

Kalida ends Ft Jennings season
Kalida ends Ft Jennings season

With the victory the Wildcats will come back to Bluffton to play Continental on Saturday night at 8pm. Taylor Williamson and her Pirate teammates were not very good Valentines Day dates for Kalida as they came into the palace and brutalized the Cats and survived late while giving themselves the gift of a 32-26 PCL victory. Just as it was during their first meeting, the key matchup in this game will likely be in the point guard matchup as Taylor Williamson of Continental will once again lock horns with the speed and tenacious defense of Wildcat leader Summer Holtkamp.

Tournament season is one of my absolute favorite times of the year and with just two games under our belt already, I can see that this season is shaping up to be something special as we inch closer and closer to Columbus.

Please be sure to check out the audio page as you can hear these games on demand whenever you would like to.

Have a great day and an even better tomorrow.

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