Crestview’s Kirstin Hicks fires a pass to a teammate while being guarded by multiple Ottoville defenders in a district final game at Lima Senior High School Saturday. The Lady Knights fell to the Big Green 54-23. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
Crestview’s Kirstin Hicks fires a pass to a teammate while being guarded by multiple Ottoville defenders in a district final game at Lima Senior High School Saturday. The Lady Knights fell to the Big Green 54-23. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)

Times Bulletin Correspondent

LIMA - After Crestview gave Ottoville all it could handle before losing 34-30 on November 24, fans were expecting a barnburner of a rematch in Saturday night's Division IV district final.

It was not to be.

The Lady Green busted out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, winning 54-23. Top-ranked Ottoville (25-0) advances to the Elida regional where it will play Leipsic (17-8) in Thursday night's second game at approximately 8 p.m. The Lady Knights' season ends at 22-3.

Rachel Turnwald sparked that opening 14-0 run with three treys, while Ottoville's full-court pressure was wreaking havoc on the Knights' ability to get the ball across mid-court. Crestview's Lindsey Motycka broke the string with a 15-foot baseliner, but the Green answered with a 7-0 run to lead 21-2. Knight sharpshooter Mackenzie Riggenbach landed a triple from out front to make it 21-5 after one. The story of that quarter was nine Lady Knight turnovers and four Lady Green three-pointers- three by Turnwald and one by Nicole Vorst.

There was no Ottoville let-up in the second quarter, starting with an 11-0 run, which came via an Annie Lindeman three-pointer (the fifth and last Lady Green trey of the game), an Abby Siefker three-point play, Siefker layup, and another Siefker three-point play.

That made it 32-5 with 2:01 left in the half. Crestview freshman Emily Bauer stopped the run with a breakaway layup, but Rachel Beining countered with a short buzzer-beating bank shot from in front. That made it 34-7 at the half. That first half could hardly have gone better for the Lady Green offense, as they hit 12 of 24 field goal tries - or the defense, which forced 14 Crestview turnovers and held the Knights to 3-of-13 field goal shooting.

"In probably five or six games this year we've really come out hitting on all cylinders," said Ottoville coach Dave Kleman. "Obviously, we didn't do that the first time we played Crestview. Our guards were role players the year before, so they had to grow into their roles as being the leaders on the team. Nicole Vorst, Rachel Turnwald, and Taylor Mangas have grown into that role. That's where we've made our improvement."

They were hitting everything they were shooting," said Crestview coach Greg Rickard. "We started out man. They were taking it inside, which we were afraid of. Then we went some zone, and we didn't do a very good job of covering the perimeter. They hit some threes to the point we had to go back man, and take our chances. On defense, they have a really nice press. It was both - a good press and our lack of execution."

Although there was no doubt about the eventual outcome, the second half was a totally different story, Ottoville winning both the third and fourth quarters, but barely, 10-8 and 10-8. Crestview actually won the second-half rebounding battle 11-7, but continued its field goal shooting struggles (5 of 17) while the Lady Green stayed hot (7 of 10). Crestview sub Terra Crowle had all eight of the Knights' fourth quarter points, including two three-pointers.

For the game as a whole, Ottoville out-shot Crestview from the field by a wide margin - 56 percent (19 of 34) to 27 percent (8 of 30). The Lady Green had fewer turnovers, 15 to 23. Rebounds were even at 18 apiece. Ottoville hit only 11 of 19 free throws (58 percent), while Crestview was a solid 4 of 5 (80 percent).

Siefker, Turnwald, and Beining led Ottoville scoring with 15, 15, and 9. Crowle led Crestview with 8.

Although the Lady Knights appeared to be devastated afterwards, Rickard was not. "We just talked in the locker room," he said. "I told them 'You don't appreciate it now, but you're gonna look back and know what a great season you had.' Especially as young as we are - to win 22 games, win the league undefeated, get to the district final, which is hard to do in Northwest Ohio. It's just unfortunate we had to play the number one team in the state. It was a fantastic year that we had, and for the younger kids, this is a great experience for the future."

It was the final game for Cresview's lone senior, Mariah Henry. With everybody else returning next season - and most of them the year after that - the future looks bright for the Lady Knights.

Score by quarters:

Crestview 5 2 8 8 - 23 Ottoville 21 13 10 10 - 54

Crestview (23)

Motycka 3 0-0 6, Riggenbach 1 0-0 3, Bauer 1 2-2 4, Mercer 0 0-0 0, Henry 0 0-0 0, Hicks 1 0-0 2, Crowle 2 2-3 8, Zaleski 0 0-0 0, Grote 0 0-0 0, Hartman 0 0-0 0, Guest 0 0-0 0. Totals 8 4-5 23.

Ottoville (54)

Siefker 6 3-7 15, Turnwald 5 2-2 15, Mangas 1 4-4 6, Beining 4 1-2 9, Vorst 2 0-0 5, Annie Lindeman 1 0-0 3, Haley Lindeman 0 1-2 1, Lyndsey Wannemacher 0 0-2 0, Kramer 0 0-0 0, Boecker 0 0-0 0, Sarka 0 0-0 0, Eickholt 0 0-0 0, Von Sossan 0 0-0 0, Lexie Wannemacher 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 11-19 54.

Three-point field goals: Crestview 3 (Crowle 2, Riggenbach), Ottoville 5 (Turnwald 3, Vorst, Annie Lindeman).