FORT JENNINGS, OH – Fort Jennings got a lead for good in the first thanks to the long ball and held on to the lead late thanks to free throws as they defeated PCL rival Ottoville 56-42 Friday night in front of a packed home gymnasium.
In the opening minutes of the contest the Musketeers blitzed out to a 12-4 lead when the trio of Erik Klausing, Brandon Wehri, and Ian Finn combined to knock down four shots from beyond the arc.
After being able to pull within 15-10 at the end of the first quarter break the visiting Big Green found themselves unable to find a scoring punch in the second outside of Logan Kemper and Ryan Suever and trailed at the break 31-20.
Fans in attendance might have loved the offensive explosion at times in the first half but were treated to a defensive clinic at times by both squads in the final two quarters. During the games penultimate period the two teams combined to score just 9 points, a 5-4 advantage by Ottoville pulled the lead down to ten at 35-25 heading to the final eight minutes of play.
Cole Horstman scored one of the two baskets from the field for Fort Jennings in the third quarter before adding a pair of free throws while classmate Eric Klausing connected from long range in the fourth for the only other make from the field for their team in the second half.
Ottoville’s second half was more productive from the field than the Musketeers, but less so from the free throw line. Nick Moorman who is closing in on 1,000 points for his career led the Big Green offensive unit in scoring in the contest with 14 and hit on three triples in the fourth stanza to attempt to keep his team within striking distance of Fort Jennings.
Brandon Wehri entering play on the evening had accumulated 980 points in his career and finished the ballgame with 15 for a new total of 995. In the fourth quarter alone Wehri hit 10 of 12 free throws and finished the night with a 10 of 13 performance to go alone with a three pointer and layup in the first half.
As a team in the fourth quarter Fort Jennings nailed 18 of 24 from the free throw line and finished 24 of 33 in the game to help them put a stop to a two game Ottoville winning streak in a series between the two schools that dates back to a 1940 first meeting.
Overall the Big Green have won 95 of the 170 meetings all-time while Fort Jennings has now nabbed 75 victories.
Fort Jennings with the win has now won 11 games this season, the most by a Musketeers squad in a single season since the 2009/10 season when they finished 11-12. The Musketeers will put their 7-0 home mark this year on the line Saturday night as they welcome 4-9 New Knoxville to the Fort for a 7:30pm non-conference tilt.
Ottoville sees their record fall to 13-4 and will be off until next Friday night when they play host to the Kalida Wildcats. Before this season the Big Green have to look back to the 2014/15 season for the last time they were able to win 12+ games, a year in which they finished 12-11.
Ft Jennings (56):
Erik Klausing 9
Ian Ricker 7
Ian Finn 9
Luke Trentman 7
Cole Horstman 9
Brandon Wehri 15
3PT: 8/18 (Finn 3, Klausing 2, Ricker 2, Wehri)
Ryan Bendele 6
Logan Kemper 13
Ryan Suever 5
Drew Fisher 2
Nick Moorman 14
Josh Thorbahn 2
Zane Martin 3
3PT: 5/34 (Moorman 3, Martin, Kemper)
JV: Ottoville 51-36