OTTOVILLE, OH – Not only did their 60-20 win over Delphos St. Johns on Saturday night give the Ottoville Big Green their 3rd straight 20 win season, it also gave 26th year head coach Dave Kleman his 500th career victory.
Starting with his very first career win in 1993 against Wayne Trace coach Kleman teams have always had a mark of being strong defensive squads and that was never more true than tonight against DSJ where his current squad clamped down on the Jays and held them to just six makes from the field.
Big Green junior Bridget Landin scored the games first two points with 5:34 left in the opening period to put her team on top of the scoreboard for good, but it wouldn’t be her last basket of the night as the future Findlay Oiler collegian ended with a contest high 19 markers.
Delphos St. Johns only makes of the first half came on three pointers from the duo of Hannah Will and Taylor Zuber to help cut into the home teams advantage. Will’s triple with 1:37 not only represented the first of her teams points in the stanza but also one of their only two from deep and pulled the Jays within 23 points at 31-8.
Coming out of the break leading 37-11 the Ottoville defense went into overdrive as they forced a handful of turnovers and held the visiting Jays to just 1 point, a free throw from senior Ellie Csukker. Junior Quinley Schlagbaum and Landin accounted for all but two of the Big Green points in the third and pushed their teams lead to 50-12 heading into the final eight minutes of play with fast break baskets and free throws.
Paige Gaynier, a freshman who leads DSJ in scoring on the season with an 11.2 points per game average was held relatively in check on the night as she finished as her teams high scorer with 5. Gaynier and classmate Elly Wrasman dropped in the only two makes not to come from the line in the final eight minutes to help the Jays end the game with their biggest quarter of the game offensively with eight.
Offensively 10 different Big Green players scored baskets on the night in the victory. Abi Hilvers had the hot hand early for Ottoville as she connected on a pair of first quarter shots from deep and 9 markers in the game. Kasey Knippen added 8 points for the Big Green while Schlagbaum tossed in 7.
Ottoville (20-1, 7-0) who wrapped up their first PCL championship this season since their current senior class were just 8th graders is currently ranked #2 in the AP rankings for Division 4 and will finish off their regular season on Tuesday night at home when they welcome Liberty Benton to L.W. Heckman Gymnasium.
Thursday night will be the next time in action for DSJ (9-12, 2-6) as they end their regular campaign in New Bremen as part of MAC play.
With his 500th career win, Dave Kleman joins former Kalida/Fort Jennings and Ottoville mentor Dick Kortokrax as the only two coaches in Putnam County history to record 500 plus career victories.
CJ Kemper 4
Brynlee Hanneman 4
Bridget Landin 19
Haley Hoersten 2
Quinley Schlagbaum 7
Amber Miller 2
Kasey Knippen 8
Emily Landin 3
Kylee Hoersten 2
Abi Hilvers 9
3PT: 7 (Hilvers 3, K. Knippen 2, B. Landin)
Taylor Zuber 3
Hannah Will 3
Halle Hays 1
Paige Gaynier 5
Ellie Csukker 4
Elly Wrasman 2
3PT: 2 (Zuber, Will)
JV: Ottoville 50-29