By JAMIE BAKER
BLUFFTON — If there was any rust for the state’s Division IV No. 1-ranked team it sure didn’t show Tuesday night.
Unbeaten Ottoville got on a roll early and was never challenged in taking care of Lima Perry 93-46 in a sectional girls basketball semifinal at Bluffton.
Things were tight in the other sectional final in the first half before Kalida pulled away for a 49-31 win over Fort Jennings.
It will be an all Putnam County League sectional final at Bluffton Saturday night.
The Big Green (22-0) will be gunning for its fourth straight sectional crown against Columbus Grove (5-17) at 6:15 p.m. Kalida (15-7) will take on Continental (15-7) in the other championship tilt at 8 p.m.
Ottoville seniors Abby Siefker and Rachel Beining dominated play inside while seniors Rachel Turnwald and Nicole Vorst and junior Taylor Mangas applied plenty of pressure on the defensive end as the Big Green roared to a commanding 28-5 lead after the first quarter.
“I was a little worried. We had 10 days off and that is a long time at this time of year. You want to be playing games,” said Ottoville coach Dave Kleman. “We asked the girls if this was better than practice, and they all said ‘yes.’ ”
Lima Perry senior Abby Patton, who went to the bench midway through the first quarter with three fouls, hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter. But the Commodores (8-15) didn’t have nearly enough firepower to stay in the game with Ottoville.
Beining led four Ottoville players in double figures with 18 points and nine rebounds while Siefker, a Bowling Green State University signee, also just missed a double-double with 17 points and nine boards.
Taylor Mangas tossed in 16 points and Nicole Vorst added 13 for Ottoville.
Patton scored 16 points and Lexie Davis 13 for the Commodores.
In the second game, the Musketeers let the Wildcats know they’d be in for a battle.
Fort Jennings contested every shot and scrapped for every loose ball against a Kalida team that beat them 50-27 during the regular season.
The Musketeers (8-15) would have gone into the lockerroom at halftime with the lead if Kalida’s Julia Vandemark wouldn’t have connected on a hurried 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer to give Kalida a 24-22 edge at intermission.
The Wildcats got on a roll in the third quarter while Fort Jennings, which got a combined 15 points in the first half from Cassie Lindeman and Erin Osting, struggled to put the ball in the basket.
Kalida’s Kristi Honigfort came off the bench and delivered the knock-out blow by draining a pair of 3-pointers and adding a lay-up in the final 30 seconds of the third to cap a 20-2 run.
“I’m so proud of Kristi because she worked her butt off in the summertime shooting tons and tons of shots,” said Kalida coach Adam Huber.
“During one of the time outs, I told them to find Kristin. She had eight big points going into the fourth quarter.
“We had more than 20 turnovers and that’s way too many, but we’ll keep working on it. We just needed to relax, hit shots and play and I think we finally did that.”
The hectic pace of the third quarter may have finally caught up with the Musketeers, who were held scoreless during a 10-minute stretch of the third and fourth quarters.
“We know we aren’t a strong offensive team and when we get down by five, six or seven to our girls it looks like 15 or 16 points,” said Fort Jennings coach Kevin Horstman.
“We were running out of gas. But that’s the way we have to play. We have had times this year where we have a stretch in a game where we lose our focus and get out of our game. That kind of happened for us tonight in the third quarter.”
Jackie Gardner led Kalida with 11 points.
Lindeman finished with 11 points for Fort Jennings.
Turnwald 2-0—4, Mangas 7-0—16, Vorst 5-0—13, Eickholt 2-3—7, VonSossan 1-0—3, Lindeman 1-2—4, Beining 7-4—18, Siefker 6-5—17, Kramer 0-0—0, Landwehr 1-0—3, Lex. Wannemacher 4-0—8. Boecker 0-0—0. Ly. Wannemacher 0-0—0. TOTALS: 36-70 14-17—93.
LIMA PERRY (8-15)
Davis 4-5—13, King 0-1—1, Patton 6-1—16, Fowler 4-1—12, Cox 1-0—2, Young 0-0—0, Trent 1-0—2. TOTALS: 16-36 8-11—46.
Ottoville 28 24 22 19 — 93
Lima Perry 5 20 10 11 — 46
3-Point GOALS: Ottoville 7-19 (Vorst 3, Mangas 2, VonSossan & Landwehr); Lima Perry 6-10 (Patton & Fowler 3).
rebounds: Ottoville 42 (Beining & Siefker 9); Lima Perry 20.
turnovers: Lima Perry 32, Ottoville 10.
Gardner 3-5—11, Recker 1-0—3, Holtkamp 1-0—2, Vandemark 1-0—3, Smith 1-0—2, Turnwald 2-0—4, Ostrerhage 2-3—7, Kahle 2-3—7, Honigfort 3-0—8, Hoffman 0-2—2. TOTALS: 16-41 13-17—49.
FORT JENNINGS (8-15)
Calvelage 1-0—2, Gable 2-1—6, Schimmoeller 0-0—0, Schroeder 2-0—4, Lindeman 4-0—11, German 0-0—0, Osting 3-1—7, Stechschulte 0-1—1. TOTALS: 12-33 3-7—31.
Kalida 8 16 20 5 — 49
Fort Jennings 7 15 4 5 — 31
3-Point GOALS: Fort Jennings 4-13 (Lindeman 3, Gable); Kalida 4-11 (Honigfort 2, Recker & Vandemark).
rebounds: Kalida 29 (Osterhage 7, Gardner 6); Fort Jennings 21 (Schroeder & Gable 4).
turnovers: Kalida 24, Fort Jennings 23.