Girls Basketball: Miller City outlasts Ottoville in double OT

Feb. 29—OTTAWA — Ottoville's history of postseason success makes them a hard team to bet against at tournament time.

Miller City coach Ross Heuerman knew that coming to Thursday night, but his Wildcats showed no fear and did just enough to outlast Ottoville 61-55 in a double-overtime thriller.

"They're a fantastic program, one of the best in the state," he said. "We knew we would have to play an extremely good game against them to have a chance. They're one of the best offensive teams we play against all year and we knew we were going to have to be sharp defensively."

The Wildcats were more than sharp on the defensive end. They forced Ottoville into 20 turnovers and held them to 19 of 51 from the floor.

"This group hangs its hat on playing defense," Heuerman said. "We're not the biggest team, we're not the strongest team, but we're aggressive and we fight hard."

Ottoville coach Vaughn Horstman agreed with Heuerman's assessment of the defensive battle.

"Both teams did a great job of taking things away from each other," he said. "We had an 11-point lead in the second quarter, but they made a run and that just gave them the confidence they needed in the second half."

Horstman went on to say that Miller City's perimeter defense made it tough to get the looks they normally do from three. Brooklyn Koester had Ottoville's lone field goal from long-range in the third quarter.

"I think we shot two all night when usually we're up around 10. They took that away from us and that's a huge part of our offense, along with the fast-break."

Maddie Erford scored 14 points for Miller City. Chelsea Erford added 11, including four free throws in the second overtime.

Ottoville got 19 points from Carly Thorbahn and 17 from Brooklyn Koester.

Ottoville held a 26-15 lead with 3:29 left in the first half. Miller City's defense kicked it up a notch from there, and the Wildcats scored the final nine points of the second quarter, making it a 26-24 game at the break.

"Getting down double digits against a team like this is dangerous territory, but we got a couple of stops that led to baskets before the half which gave us some momentum," Heuerman said. "The girls played tough. They knew we needed to stack stops together and we got what we needed."

Miller City trailed 50-48 with 1:43 to go in regulation. Lou Michel scored, then split a pair of free throws to put the Wildcats up 51-50.

Carly Thorbahn then drew a foul with 22.2 seconds left and had a chance to put Ottoville ahead again, but she settled for one of two at the line to tie things up at 51.

Neither team scored in the first overtime.

Ottoville had two shots under the hoop with under 10 seconds left but misses from Erica Thorbahn and Paige Turnwald sent the game to a second overtime where Miller City finally broke through.

All 14 points in the final four minutes came from the free-throw line, where Miller City went 10 of 16 to finish the job.

"It's a tough situation to be in, but I thought the girls did a nice job of stepping up," Heuerman said of the late-game free throws. "Even when they didn't make as many shots as they wanted, they did a good job of getting stops on the other end after misses. We did what we had to do to get it done tonight."

The Wildcats shot 20 of 48 from the field, good for 41 percent.

Ottoville held the edge in rebounding 26-14.

Miller City's win sends them to Saturday's district final where they'll play Columbus Grove after the Bulldogs beat Kalida 45-38 in the late game.

Ottoville 61, Miller City 55

Score by quarters:

Ottoville 15 11 9 16 0 4 — 55

Miller City 11 13 11 16 0 10 — 61


Carly Thorbahn 19, Brooklyn Koester 17, Paige Turnwald 6, Erica Thorbahn 6, Jocelyn Langhals 4, Kendall Schnipke 2, Isabelle Furley 1, Totals: 20-14-55


Maddie Erford 13, Chelsea Erford 11, Lou Michel 9, Belle Reyna 9, Ava Ruck 7, Jordan Schnipke 6, Hailey Warnimont 4, Andrea Pfau 2, Totals: 20-18-61

Three-point goals: OV — Koester 1; MC — Ruck 2, C. Erford 1.

Records — Ottoville 18-6; Miller City 17-7

Reach Chris Howell at 567-242-0468 or on Twitter at @Lima_Howell