By Larry Heiing
DELPHOS — The Ottoville Big Green boys basketball team made to the short trip down State Route 66 to Delphos, this time to St. John’s Robert A. Arnzen Gymnasium, for the second time in five days Saturday night.
It’s been a rough week for the Big Green, falling to Jefferson 56-42 on Tuesday night and getting nipped by Tinora 59-50 Friday.
The Blue Jays on the other hand, were coming off the defeat of another Putnam County foe, Continental, 34-31 to earn their first victory of the season.
This night, they took down Ottoville 54-38 in non-league action.
Pacing the Blue Jays (2-1) were Ryan Koester with 15 and Andy Grothouse 11.
For the Big Green (2-5), Luke Schimmoeller dropped in 13 and Tyler Roby 11.
Ottoville scored first on a pass inside to Austin Honigford for the quick lead. Grothouse made a defensive stop on Ottoville’s next possession and Evan Hays grabbed the loose ball for a layup to tie the score. Roby and Grothouse traded three-pointers from the top of the key and St. John’s senior guard Eric Clark drove to bucket and dished the ball off to Tyler Conley for the easy layin. Ottoville took the lead at the break with a bucket inside by 6-5 junior Kyle Bendele for the 10-9 advantage.
Good thing Officer Clark was in the building because a lot of theft was going on at Arnzen Gymnasium. This time, a steal by Clark and a pass to Alex Odenweller for the bucket gave the lead back to Delphos. With the St. John’s man-to-man defense double-teaming on the inside, the Big Green heated up outside. Schimmoeller and Roby hit back-to-back triples, giving Ottoville a five-point advantage. Koester answered with a driving layup from the left side but Schimmoeller’s turnaround jumper put the Big Green lead back to five.
Blue Jay senior Aaron Hellman found his range with back-to-back treys and the lead went back to Delphos with 1:20 left in the half. Grothouse extended that with a steal at half court and layin. Ottoville worked the ball around the perimeter at its end of the court for the last shot. When the attempt fell short, the rebound went to Hellman, whose half-court heave at the buzzer was off but he was fouled. Luckily for the Big Green, all three attempts from the charity stripe were off and they headed to the locker room down 21-18.
The second half started with another steal by Clark when he stole an Ottoville in-bound pass and got the ball to Conley at the opposite end. The Blue Jay lead was at five and they never looked back, playing their best quarter of basketball in the young season.
Koester stepped up to keep the Blue Jay offense in high gear, scoring on another layup from the left and an 11-point lead. Ottoville cut into the lead when Bendele converted a pair of free throws and Schimmoeller scored in the paint. Koester stayed hot with a seven-footer and a driving bucket on the baseline to put the lead back to 11. Schimmoeller and Conley traded baskets to send the game into the final stanza with a score of 37-26, St. John’s.
Conley continued his scoring for the Jays with two free throws and a 13-point lead. After an Ottoville miss, Grothouse put the game away with a long three-pointer from out top.
After the game, a dejected coach Todd Turnwald was disappointed by the loss. “We played good in the first half but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. That foul at the end of the first half on a 40-foot shot at the buzzer was prime example of our mistakes.”
Blue Jay coach Aaron Elwer said he challenged his players at films Saturday morning and the game to step up. “Tonight, they responded, gaining confidence when the shots started falling.”
The Blue Jays will travel across the state to New Philadelphia for the Tuscarawas Shoot Out against Fremont St. Joe Friday morning.
The next action for Ottoville will be Saturday at Lincolnview.
The good news for Ottoville this year is that they have enough players to have both a varsity and junior varsity squads. The Ottoville JV went home with a 35-25 victory after pulling away in the final quarter. Eric Von Sossan led Ottoville with 12 points and Robby Saine had seven for the Blue Jays.
Score by quarters
Ottoville 10 8 8 12 - 38
St. John’s 9 12 16 17 - 54
C. Bendele 3, Roby 11, Honigford 4, Landin 3, Schimmoeller 13, K. Bendele 4
ST. JOHN’S (54)
Grothouse 11, Hays 7, Clark 3, Hellman 6, Koester 15, Odenweller 4, Conley 8