By MICHAEL BURWELL
CONTINENTAL — Ottoville boys basketball coach Keith Utendorf has had an interesting “problem” this season.
He has a deep mixture of solid seniors and talented underclassmen, and they put together another strong performance on Friday.
Ottoville’s depth, length, defensive pressure and pace wore on Continental as the Big Green overcame a first-quarter deficit to knock off the Pirates 65-44 in a Putnam County League boys basketball game.
“We’ve gotten that really all year, it’s been a great mix and we’ve had to sort of infuse some guys and then kind of figure out how we’re going to rotate and get those different scenarios,” Utendorf said. “It’s still a work in progress trying to fit everybody in, especially when they’re playing well so it’s a good problem to have, we’ll take it. But they really came out and played well tonight.”
Senior guard Nick Moorman scored 12 of his game-high 16 points in the second half for Ottoville (14-5, 3-3 PCL), which ended a two-game losing skid that included losses to PCL teams Fort Jennings and Kalida. Senior guard Ryan Bendele drained four 3-pointers and scored 14 points.
Six-foot-6 freshman forward Ryan Suever came off the bench to add 13 points, including a two-handed dunk in the first quarter off his steal. He had game-highs of nine rebounds and two blocks as well.
Continental (1-17, 0-5 PCL) shot a blistering 9 of 12 from the floor in the first quarter in grabbing a 22-20 lead. Senior Caleb Olds scored all of his team-high 12 points in the quarter, which included a pair of 3-pointers and three buckets in the paint, the last coming with four seconds left to give the Pirates the two-point lead.
“That first quarter just shows the kind of kids that we have here. They battle, they play extremely hard,” Continental coach Eric Maag said. “Unfortunately, our bench isn’t very deep, we don’t have a lot of guys on the bench that we can rotate in and out and Ottoville has nine, 10 guys that they can rotate in and out. So obviously, that’s a factor.”
From there, Ottoville had its way.
The Big Green went on a 10-0 run in the second quarter to grab a 30-24 lead and finished the half with a 37-30 lead. Josh Thorbahn, a 6-3 freshman who added six points and several assists, drained a deep 3-pointer off Zane Martin’s pass to start the run.
Late in the quarter, Thorbahn fired a pass from the 3-point line to Logan Kemper under the basket for an easy two, and the freshman hit Bendele for a 3-pointer as well.
The Pirates only had one field goal and six free throws in the quarter.
“We made a couple fundamental mistakes in the first quarter, really gave space to some of their shooters,” Utendorf said. “” Obviously, we made some adjustments and did some different things with it. It also came down to pace and I think overall, that’s really kind of what separated us toward the end.”
The Big Green extended its lead to 50-35 after three quarters. Martin converted a Continental turnover into a transition bucket, was fouled and completed the 3-point play.
Moorman and Suever added easy transition baskets in the fourth quarter as well.
“Our kids got tired. When they got down, they got out of what they did to get a lead,” Maag said. “It’s kind of uncharacteristic, we talk every day in practice about being disciplined and playing to our strengths rather than trying to play the style of our opponents.”
Ottoville shot 53 percent (26 of 49) from the floor, including 43 percent (9 of 21) from 3-point range. The Big Green dominated the boards, 34-21, with Kemper (6-3 senior) grabbing eight boards to go with eight points.
“They’ve done a great job of just being relentless on the rim,” Utendorf said. “That’s what we talked about, relentless at the rim, so it was a good showing tonight in that aspect.”
Continental made just six field goals in the final three quarters and finished 38 percent (15 of 39) from the floor overall. Freshman Mitchell Coleman hit three 3-pointers for 11 points and junior Nick States chipped in seven points.
OTTOVILLE (14-5, 3-3 PCL)
Moorman 6-2–16, Bendele 5-0–14, Suever 6-1–13, Kemper 4-0–8, Martin 2-1-6, Thorbahn 2-0–6, Leis 1-0–2, Schimmoeller 0-0–0, Davis 0-0–0, Fisher 0-0–0, Schnipke 0-0–0. TOTALS: 26-49 4-10 “” 65.
CONTINENTAL (1-17, 0-5 PCL)
Olds 5-0–12, Coleman 4-0–11, States 2-3–7, Keck 1-2–4, Potts 1-2–4, Hale 1-0–2, Keller 1-0–2, Butler 0-2–2, Warnement 0-0–0, Mason 0-0–0. TOTALS: 15-39 9-13 “” 44.
Ottoville 20 17 13 15 — 65
Continental 22 8 5 9 — 44
3-POINT GOALS: Ottoville 9-21 (Bendele 4, Moorman & Thorbahn 2, Martin 1); Continental 5-16 (Coleman 3, Olds 2).
REBOUNDS: Ottoville 34 (Suever 9); Continental 21 (Olds, Coleman & Keck 3).
TURNOVERS: Ottoville 9, Continental 9.
JUNIOR VARSITY: Continental, 42-40 OT.
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