BATH TOWNSHIP — Two of the best teams in the area squared off in an odd game Tuesday night with Lima Bath prevailing over Ottoville 46-43, when a would-be game-tying shot by Lady Green senior lefty Bridget Landin rattled in but was a second late.
The Wildkittens are now 8-3, while Ottoville falls to 9-3.
The oddest thing about this game was that neither team could handle the opponent's defense -- it was 27-16, Bath, after three quarters -- until the fourth quarter, which Ottoville won 27-19.
After the Lady Green had missed all nine of their 3-point attempts in the first three quarters, sophomore lefty Kasey Knippen hit three of them and scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to lead the comeback. Meanwhile, the Wildkittens were turning it over nine times, but Bath senior Bailey Dackin hit 9 of 10 free throws in the last three minutes to hold onto the lead.
Knippen rattled in a straightaway three to get Ottoville within 37-34 at 2:42, but two missed Lady Green free throws and a turnover resulted in four straight Bath free throws -- 41-34, Kittens, at 1:29. It wasn't over.
Knippen swished a jumper from the left elbow, was undercut by a defender, and her and-one cut it to 41-37 with 1:00 on the clock. Dackin hit two free throws, but Knippen hit a three from the right wing -- 43-40 with 39 seconds left. Dackin split a pair at the line, and Knippen swished a triple from the left wing -- 44-43, Bath, with 26 seconds left. Dackin hit two more free throws at 0:23 -- 46-43. Then came Knippen's only miss of the quarter, a 3-point try from the left wing, and Bath junior Bette Andrews was fouled on the rebound with four seconds left. She missed the first of a double bonus, and her second try was voided by a lane violation, setting up Landin's last-ditch effort to tie the game.
The first half was either total offensive frustration or a defensive clinic by both teams, depending upon your point of view. Bath led 8-2 after one and 17-8 after two. After those 16 minutes, Ottoville was 4 of 20 from the field, including 0 for 7 from three. Bath was 6 of 27 and 3 for 9.
"I told 'em at half time we set basketball back 20 years," said Ottoville coach Dave Kleman. "I said the bad news is we only have eight points; the good news is they only have 17. Defensively, it wasn't horrible, but offensively we couldn't throw it in the ocean standing on the beach."
The third quarter was more of the same, but the Wildkittens got off only five field goal attempts during those eight minutes while committing six turnovers. They were, however, 2 for 3 from beyond the arc, and the Lady Green stayed cold, allowing the home team to win that quarter 10-8.
For the game as a whole, both teams were cold from the field -- Bath 32 percent (12 of 37), including 38 percent (5 of 13) from long range; Ottoville 31 percent (14 of 45), 19 percent (3 of 16) from three. The Wildkittens were terrific from the line — 89 percent (17 of 19) — and Ottoville shot a solid 75 percent (12 of 16). Bath controlled the boards 30-17, but the Lady Green had fewer turnovers, 12-25.
Senior Heidi Craddock led Bath's scoring with 17. Dackin added 15, and junior point guard Jaidyn Hale had 10. Knippen and Landin had 16 and 12 for Ottoville.
Although Knippen's sensational fourth quarter was a surprise to many, it wasn't to the coach. "She's shown signs," said Kleman. "She's a very talented player. She can do a lot of things, and I'm hoping this is the game that gives her the confidence to play on the varsity level. She's a really good passer, and she's always looking to pass first, but she's a good shooter, too."
CJ Kemper 5, Bridget Landin 12, Brooke Mangas 6, Alicia Honigford 2, Alexis Thorbahn 0, Madison Knodell 2, Haley Hoersten 0, Amber Miller 0, Kasey Knippen 16, Abi Hilvers 0.
Lima Bath (46)
Jaidyn Hale 10, Lindsey Singhaus 0, Heidi Craddock 17, Bette Andrews 2, Haley Garland 0, Bailey Dackin 15, Kaleigh Ketchum 2.
Ottoville 2 6 8 27 - 43
Lima Bath 8 9 10 19 - 46
3-point shooting: OV - 3/16 (Knippen 3), LB - 5/13 (Craddock 3, Hale 2). Rebounds: OV - 17, LB - 30. Fouls: OV - 16, LB - 17. Turnovers: OV - 12, LB - 25. Jayvee score: OV 27-17 (2 quarters).