VAN WERT — It’s not often a team can shoot 29 percent, miss 20 consecutive three-point attempts in a game and come away with a victory. It’s even less often that victory will come by 33 points.
That’s just what happened at the Division IV sectional at Van Wert on Wednesday night, as Ottoville’s Lady Green raced past Fort Jennings, 55-22. The Lady Green (13-8) will play the 8 p.m. contest on Saturday night at Van Wert when they take on Kalida for the sectional championship.
Whether it was nerves, playing in an unfamiliar environment or the Lady Musketeer defense, Ottoville never found a rhythm on Wednesday, at least from the perimeter. Though senior Taylor Mangas drilled an early triple to put the Lady Green up 5-0, it would be until mid-way through the fourth quarter that Ottoville would connect from distance again.
Where Ottoville had a significant advantage over the Musketeers was on the interior, where sisters Lexie and Lyndsey Wannemacher turned in outstanding performances, both on offense and on the glass. Lexie got the scoring started with a put-back of a Lady Green miss before adding a pair of hoops from the low block later in the first quarter, the second of which she converted into an old-fashioned three point play.
The Lady Green managed just 4-for-12 shooting in the opening period, but held a 14-3 lead as the stanza came to a close. Fort Jennings (3-19) was held to 1-for-7 shooting, a Jenna Calvelage 3-pointer, from the field and committed nine turnovers. Ottoville’s high-pressure defense took the black-and-orange out of its comfort zone and forced rushed decisions and rushed shots.
Unfortunately for the Lady Musketeers, it was a trend that would continue throughout the contest.
“We were diving for every loose ball, we were working hard for everything we were getting, and that’s contagious. When they’re hustling, it forces everybody else to hustle,” noted Ottoville head coach Dave Kleman. “Defensively, I loved our effort tonight. If we play as hard as we did tonight, I’ll take whatever happens. You can take losing or winning as long as you’re busting your butt.”
Fort Jennings endured a scoreless drought of 7:26 between that Calvelage three and their next field goal, which came with 4:15 on the second quarter clock. Alyssa Schimmoeller made her way to the basket and drew contact, resulting in a three-point play. That effort only brought the Musketeers to within 18-6, however. a Brooke Mangas three point play and a hoop and free throw from Lyndsey Wannemacher closed out the half for the Lady Green, giving them a 24-6 cushion.
The Musketeers were just 2-for-17 shooting in the first half and coughed up 19 turnovers. Ottoville used its size advantage to out-rebound Fort Jennings, 19-14, with eight of those coming on the offensive glass.
Though the hole was far too deep for Fort Jennings to climb out of, the Lady Musketeers showed a lot of fight coming out of the locker room. Emily Kehres scored on an offensive rebound early in the third and fellow senior Cassie Lindeman drilled back-to-back 3-pointers moments later, forcing Klemen to burn a timeout.
“She’s been our go-to shooter this year,” Musketeer head coach Rhonda Liebrecht noted on Lindeman’s eight-point third quarter. “She’s knows the ball is coming her way.”
A baseline drive and score by Ottoville’s Alicia Honigford stemmed the tide and Lexie Wannemacher added a put-back to establish a 20-point margin on the scoreboard as the Lady Green took a 36-16 lead into the final period.
Kasidy Klausing grabbed an errant shot and scored the put-back for Fort Jennings to open the fourth, but Lexie Wannemacher’s hoop-and-harm immediately followed, capping a 14-point effort for the junior.
The Lady Green closed the game by scoring 16 of the final 20 points, with four of those coming on Lyndsey Wannemcher buckets from the low block. Lyndsey finished with nine points for the Lady Green.
“They (the Wannemacher sisters) work their butts off,” Kleman explained. “They’re in the gym all summer, trying to get better, and they’re starting to get rewarded from that right now. That’s great to see because they’re great kids.”
The loss caps a difficult first year for Liebrecht, but she sees the foundation of an improving program.
“Our girls work hard, and that’s my goal to get from them,” Liebrecht added. “We can’t make this program just do a complete 360 like that, but I keep telling them and reminding them to put the work in, to work hard, and they’re getting it. To get where we want to be, we have to work hard. It’s all baby steps, but we’re making them.”
For Klemen, the latest victory is the continuation of a young team that’s growing together.
“The kids really enjoy each other,” Kleman noted. “They’re a very tight-knit group. If I make one of them mad, I make them all mad, and if I make one happy, I make all of them happy, because they’re really tight. I just think that we’re coming together and understanding what we’re trying to do offensively.”
Score by quarters
Fort Jennings 3 3 10 6- 22
Ottoville 14 10 12 19- 55
Fort Jennings (22)
Calvelage 3, Schimmoeller 3, Lindeman 10, Clippinger 0, Kehres 4, Jettinghoff 0, Osting 0, K. Eickholt 0, Klausing 2, Metcalfe 0
T. Mangas 11, B. Mangas 6, Lindeman 5, Le. Wannemacher 14, Kramer 0, Landwehr 0, Ly. Wannemacher 9, Thorbahn 1, Sarka 2, Von Sossan 0, Boecker 3