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Boys basketball: Defense fuels Pandora-Gilboa in topping Ottoville

Jan. 13—PANDORA — The points in a basketball game go to the player who shot the ball.

To Pandora-Gilboa coach Mike Lee, the defensive players who created the opportunities in a 23-1 run against Ottoville over a seven-minute stretch of the first and second quarters deserve the praise too in the Rockets' 63-40 victory Saturday night.

"A lot of the things we got offensively were because of what happened on defense," Lee said. "For the most part, we did a pretty job defensively."

The win leaves Pandora-Gilboa (12-0, 4-0 Putnam County League) alone atop the league standings.

Ottoville (10-3, 1-1 PCL) had pulled within two points, 10-8, midway through the first quarter on a 3-pointer by Adam Brinkman before the P-G run began.

Pandora-Gilboa held Ottoville to just 30% shooting for the game, including a mere 32% in two-point territory. The Rockets also held a 26-8 edge on defensive rebounds and a 31-21 overall advantage on the glass. The Rockets defenders effectively collapsed inside on Ottoville's post players, Big Green coach Keith Utendorf said.

"The defense is kind of the trigger," Utendorf said. "When you get out and get some buckets and get the next one, that momentum is pretty hard to shift. Credit to them and their pressure and active hands. That was kind of the difference in the second quarter."

Pandora-Gilboa's Aiden Harris made the most of it. Harris, honored before the game for scoring his 1,000th point as a Rocket, scored all 18 of his points during that pivotal stretch.

He was also at the center of a scary scene halfway into the third quarter, grimacing in pain beneath the basket. Lee said he suffered an ankle injury, but luckily the Rockets had a few days off before their next game for him to try to recover and receive treatment.

Aiden's twin brother, Colin Harris, stepped up in the void, scoring 14 points and ripping down 11 rebounds. Nate Maag added another 11 points for the Rockets.

Ottoville turned to Michael Turnwald for a team-high nine points, while Jace Langhals added eight points for the Big Green, who outscored Pandora-Gilboa by a point in the second half but couldn't battle back from that second-quarter deficit.

The game was marked with physical play and a combined 45 free-throw attempts, particularly in the second half as Ottoville tried to claw its way back into the game. Both teams had players in foul trouble, with the Big Green watching two starters foul out.

"Both teams want to play physical, and that's a good thing," Utendorf said. "From a schematic standpoint, on my end, I've got to be better as a coach. We have to make sure our guys are in the right positions to succeed the next time. Hopefully we get another time against them down the road."

Ultimately, though, the experienced Rockets remained undefeated by keeping calm under pressure.

"We've got experience, and hopefully some of that experience takes over in situations like that," Lee said.

Pandora-Gilboa 63, Ottoville 40

Ottoville 8 7 13 12 — 40

Pandora-Gilboa 15 24 14 10 — 63

OTTOVILLE

Jace Langhals 8, Garrett Trentman 3, Adam Brinkman 5, Landon Horstman 6, Andy Moorman 2, Michael Turnwald 9, Ashton Miller 3, Keaton Schnipke 4. Totals: 14-8 — 40.

PANDORA-GILBOA

Colin Harris 14, Aiden Harris 18, Camden Verhoff 2, Owen Huffman 5, Aidan Morris 2, Nate Walker 5, Zach Neuenschwander 6, Nate Maag 11. Totals: 22-15 — 63.

3-pointers: O—Turnwald 2, Brinkman 1, Trentman 1; P-G—A.Harris 2, C.Harris 1, Walker 1.

Records: Ottoville 10-3, 1-1 PCL; Pandora-Gilboa 12-0, 4-0 PCL.

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.