By LYLE KITTLE
Team totals for the OVISCO Classic championship game between
Ottawa-Glandorf and Celina were very even across the board.
Points, free throws, personal fouls, turnovers, shots taken,
shots made — each figure points to how close the match-up
The one item that may have made the difference was turnovers.
O-G committed just nine miscues to Celina’s 12, but those
three extra turnovers were the key to the Titans’ 53-50
“We’re not pleased with not winning, of course,”
Celina coach Jack Clouse said. “I’m pleased with
how hard both teams played, it was just a fun game. You want
to get better each game, and even though we lost, I thought
we played better than we did last night (a 72-52 win over Toledo
The Bulldogs committed turnovers on their first three possessions
and the Titans used each one to move out to a 7-0 lead. Although
Celina closed the gap to three points or less seven times, the
Bulldogs could never overtake the Titans.
Stacey Verhoff hit her first shot from the field, en route to
a game-high 18 points, putting home a three-pointer from the
top of the key. Kristen Gerding followed the second turnover
with an inside score, and Shelly Bellman scored off a steal
for a 7-0 lead.
Kelli Williams cashed a pair of free throws to get Celina on
the board and a basket by Andrea Bryan cut the deficit to three
points. Another Bryan basket cut the gap to 18-16 early in the
second period, and four points each from Bryan and freshman
Betsy Hone closed the Bulldogs to within two, 31-29, at halftime.
Hone came up big for the Bulldogs on a night when the Titans
managed to neutralize Allison Hoying, who led the Bulldogs with
24 points in the win over Whitmer.
“Betsy’s going to fit into the picture more and
more as she grows into varsity basketball,” said Clouse.
“There were a couple of times when she relaxed and it
was obvious she’s a freshman. There were a lot more times
when it was obvious she’s an athlete. She’s got
good instincts, and that’s going to take over.”
Williams scored inside to pull Celina to within three in the
third period and a rally sparked by a Kara Osterfeld three-pointer
closed the gap to 48-47 midway through the fourth quarter.
Verhoff hit four foul shots down the stretch to keep Ottawa-Glandorf
in front, and Celina closed to 53-50 when Williams hit a trey
with 1.5 seconds to go.
“It started with the first second and just kept going,”
Clouse said. “Nobody let up and they just went after each
other. It was a fun game to coach and a fun game to watch. This
was four quarters of pressure, every shot meant something.”
Toledo Whitmer got 29 points from Sara Shepherd in the consolation
game to take third place with a 64-57 win over Olentangy.
In one of the most competitive tournaments in several years,
Ottawa-Glandorf’s Bellman captured tournament Most Valuable
Player honors, an award that could easily have gone to several
other standouts given different outcomes of the games. Teammate
Verhoff joined her on the all-tourney team, along with Whitmer’s
Shepherd, and Celina’s Williams, Bryan and Hoying.
Celina begins Western Buckeye League play on Thursday with a
home game against St. Marys.