By Jason Wesseldyk
PLAINWELL—With a large crowd on hand on Friday, Jan. 13, the girls basketball teams from Otsego and Plainwell decided to give the assembled masses their money’s worth … and then some.
After leading by nine points at halftime, the Bulldogs found themselves down by three points with less than two minutes to play in regulation. But a basket and a free throw from Hannah Fitzpatrick knotted the score at 39-39 to force overtime, with Otsego eventually securing the 44-42 win.
“That’s what high school basketball is all about,” Plainwell coach Mark Stephenson said. “You had a great crowd, a great atmosphere and two rivals going at it.
“Yeah, I wish we would have won. But I think both teams gave everything they had and our girls have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Otsego coach Tony Koshar echoed those sentiments.
“You can’t ask for much more than that,” he said. “It’s always fun when we match up with Plainwell and we were fortunate enough to come away with the win.”
The Bulldogs held a 24-15 halftime lead, but the Trojans scored the first seven points of the third quarter to narrow the gap to 24-22. Brooklyn Timpe scored four Plainwell’s points during that span, with a 3-pointer from Ellery Troff sandwiched in between.
Otsego collected its first point of the third stanza on a free throw from Olivia Dennis with 2:16 remaining, but Plainwell scored six of the quarter’s final nine points to make it a 28-28 game.
That set up a back-and-fourth fourth quarter that included three lead changes in the first 2:15.
“Something we’ve been working on all season is consistency,” Koshar said. “We’ll play really well for much of the game, but we still have some lapses like we did in the third quarter. We need to get to the point where we’re playing 32 minutes of basketball.”
Fitzpatrick led Otsego with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Dennis and Aly Aldrich had eight points each.
For Plainwell, Troff and Timpe finished with 13 and 11 respective points. Troff also matched Lauren Vos for team-high honors with six rebounds.