Carlee Young scans the court during Van Wert's win over Ottoville on Friday night. (DHI Media/Chris Howell)
Carlee Young scans the court during Van Wert's win over Ottoville on Friday night. (DHI Media/Chris Howell)

OTTOVILLE — The Lady Cougars overcame a slow first half to shock the Ottoville Lady Green 45-40, and get Head Coach Hannah Phlipot her first win.

“This win felt great,” said Phlipot following the contest. “The best thing about it is that you saw tonight what we’ve been instilling in these girls.”

The appearance of the first half of the game wouldn’t have won any beauty contests, but early season chemistry issues are no stranger to high school sports.

“There were times where we worried we wouldn’t click as a team, but it finally happened over the course of the game,” Phlipot said. “To beat a team like Ottoville after being down and fighting back, it made me so proud of those girls.

The Cougars held a slim 7-5 lead after the first quarter, but the rest of the first half belonged to Ottoville.

Threes by Tori Thomas and Nicole Knippen helped open up a 20-9 lead that appeared to open up the possibility of a blowout, but no such event would occur.

Van Wert fought back to cut the lead to 22-15 at halftime thanks to a layup by Emilee Phillips.

Early in the third quarter, Knippen struck again as her 12th and final point of the night opened up a 30-15 Ottoville lead on a long three pointer. Knippen was forced to leave the game late in the third quarter after taking a hard fall.

With Ottovillle’s top scorer on the night exiting the court, the Lady Cougars continued to chip away, as sophomore Carlee Young and Freshman Kyra Welch would lead Van Wert on a 20-0 run that left the Lady Green wondering how they went from up 15 points, to down five.

Finally, a layup by Alexa Honigford ended the run when she slashed through the lane for a layup.

Freshman Elise Kramer hit a three on the following possession, and all of a sudden the game was knotted up at 35.

Following a Cougar timeout, Van Wert would go on a run that would essentially put the game away.

Carlee Young stole the ball and took it coast to coast to put the Lady Cougars up 39-35 after a Jamison Clouse put back layup broke the tie on the previous possession.

Kyra Welch drew two fouls in the final minutes on made baskets to make the score 45-40 when the final buzzer sounded.

“Kyra and Carlee stepped up huge for us tonight as underclassmen who took on huge roles,” said Phlipot. “We’re going to enjoy this one tonight, and then we’re going to re group and get ready for Coldwater.”

The Lady Cougars will face off against the Cavaliers tomorrow night in Coldwater.

Box Score

                   1     2     3     4     T

Ottoville      5    17    8    10   40

Van Wert    7     8    12   18   45

Van Wert

4 Carlee Young 13 points

5 Kyra Welch 13 points

10 Carly Smith 2 points

11 Jamison Clouse 6 points

22 Jaylyn Rickard 4 points

30 Sofia Houg 4 points

34 Emilee Phillips 3 points

Free throws - 10/19

Field goals - 1-3 pointer made, 16 - 2 pointers made

Ottoville

2 Jocelyn Grace 3 points

3 Tori Thomas 6 points

4 Alexa Honigford 8 points

20 Elise Krance 5 points

21 Nicole Knippen 12 points

32 Kylee Hoersten 6 points

Free throws 2/2

Field goals 8 - 3 pointers made, 7 - 2 pointers made

JV Box Score

                 1    2    3    4   T

Ottoville   10  11   7    4  32

Van Wert   5   19   5    8  37