By Jason Wesseldyk
OTSEGO—Three of the four quarters in the Wolverine Conference clash between the girls basketball teams from Otsego and Paw Paw on Friday, Jan. 20, were nip-and-tuck.
The teams each scored six points in the first quarter, while Otsego held a three-point edge in the second stanza and the Red Wolves had a one-point advantage in the final frame.
The third quarter, though, was a different story.
Paw Paw used a 22-10 scoring run in the third stanza to erase a three-point halftime deficit and maintained that lead on the way to the 48-38 victory at Otsego’s expense.
The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 7-7 overall and 4-3 in the conference.
“It was a tough night for us,” Otsego coach Tony Koshar said. “Some of the things that have plagued us all year came back to hurt us again.”
Those areas of struggle included free throws and turnovers.
The Bulldogs went 13-of-24 at the line for a 54-percent success rate. They also committed 24 turnovers.
Despite the nine-point deficit heading to the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs continued to battle, closing the gap to as few as three points. But they would get no closer.
Olivia Dennis was the lone Otsego player to score in double figures, going for 11 points. She also led the team in rebounding with eight.
Tessa Prough finished with seven points and five rebounds, while Hannah Fitzpatrick and Audrey Lingbeek went for five and four points, respectively. Aly Aldrich had a team-best four assists.
Otsego’s game against Sturgis on Tuesday, Jan. 17, went much better.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 24-11 lead after one quarter and were up 40-11 at halftime on the way to collecting the 59-23 win.
“It was a good night for us as I thought we played our most complete game of the year,” Koshar said. “We’ve been in a lot of tight games lately, so it was nice to get everyone involved.”
Prough and Aldrich each scored 12 points, with Fitzpatrick going for 10. Prough also had nine rebounds, which was two more than Haley Guerrant.
Fitzpatrick added seven assists and five steals.
“Sturgis really struggled with our pressure and pace all night, which led to our big halftime lead,” Koshar said.
Once the lead reached 40 points with about five minutes left in the third quarter, the running clock began and stayed in place the rest of the game.