By Jason Wesseldyk
PAW PAW—The Otsego girls basketball team got Aly Aldrich and Addi Milheim back for the game with Paw Paw on Friday, Feb. 24, after pair had missed time with injuries.
That was the good news for the Bulldogs.
The bad news was Otsego and coach Tony Koshar were still without the services of Hannah Fitzpatrick and Olivia Dennis as the Bulldogs dropped the 45-35 decision.
Otsego led 12-11 after the opening quarter, but were outscored in each subsequent quarter. The Bulldogs did cut the gap to four points in the fourth quarter, but would get no closer.
“To our kids’ credits we kept fighting and had a chance in the fourth quarter,” Koshar said. “We had some opportunities until we had to foul late and Paw Paw made their free throws.
“Ultimately, we gave up too many offensive rebounds that led to second-chance points for Paw Paw.”
Fitzpatrick and Dennis are expected to be back for district play. The Bulldogs and Paw Paw will have a rematch in a district semifinal on Wednesday, March 1. The winner of that game will play either Plainwell or Parchment for the district title.
“I’m excited as we get healthy for what March Madness might bring,” Koshar said.
In this game, Audrey Lingbeek scored 12 points, with Milheim and Jenna Ballman going for six each. Haley Guerrant had five points to go with 10 rebounds.
Otsego (11-10) also fell to Battle Creek Lakeview, dropping that game by a 41-30 score on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Similarly to the Paw Paw game, Otsego led after one quarter—9-4, in this case—but was outscored in each of the final three frames.
“I was proud of the girls as we really battled tonight as we were shorthanded again with no Aldrich, Dennis, or Milheim,” Koshar said. “Lakeview is a physically strong team and we were able to match that for most of the game. “
Lingbeek scored 12 points, while Fitzpatrick, Guerrant and Tessa Prough added five each. Ballman rounded out the scoring with three points. Fitzpatrick also had five assists.
Otsego failed to score in the fourth quarter.
“To Lakeview’s credit, they really picked up the defensive intensity in their man-to-man and although we got a few good looks that we missed, they were able to hold us scoreless for the quarter.
“The youth on our team—Audrey Lingbeek and Tessa Prough—have really grown this year and it has been fun to watch.”