COLUMBUS — Ottoville looked poised to make its second state final appearance in the program's history. The Lady Green had the lead for most of the second half, including a seven point advantage with 4:21 left in regulation.
But Fort Loramie got a big lift when Lady Green standout Abby Siefker committed her fifth foul. With the Bowling Green bound Siefker relegated to the bench, the Redskins forced overtime and pulled out a 49-42 victory in the second game of the Division IV state semifinal at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on Friday.
Fort Loramie (26-3) will now play Berlin Hiland (26-3) Saturday at 5:15 p.m. for the D-IV state title.
The Lady Green (27-1) fought through turnovers for much of the game but in the end they were unable to overcome 32 miscues against a high-pressure Redskin defense as they suffered defeat for the first team this season.
"Heck of ballgame,” remarked Ottoville coach Dave Kleman, whose team finishes the year at 27-1. “Overtime, thought it was really hard-fought, could go either way toward the end of the game, we could've won it in regulation, they could've won it in regulation. The ball didn't bounce for us when we needed it to bounce for us. But it wasn't for lack of effort and lack of preparation because we did all of those things.”
The Lady Green started the fourth quarter with a six point lead, 31-25 and built it to seven, 35-28, behind a pair of Taylor Mangas free throws with 4:21 left in the fourth quarter.
On the ensuing Fort Loramie possession, however, Darian Rose responded with a pair of free throw makes, for her first two of seven fourth-quarter points. More importantly, Rose got to the line with a driving, scooping shot that drew Siefker's fourth foul.
Rose grabbed a defensive rebound and quickly moved the ball down court to Jessica Boerger for an easy lay-in, cutting the deficit to 35-32 with 3:30 left
Rachel Turnwald and Siefker each drained a pair of free throws on either side of another Rose bucket, and despite holding a 39-34 lead with 2:42 left, momentum was about to change.
Rose came up with a steal and drove to the bucket for a score and a foul, hitting her free throw to cut the lead to 39-37 with 2:21 left in the fourth and 20 seconds later, following a Turnwald miss, Renae Meyer, who shouldered most of the load defensively against Siefker, came up with a game-changing rebound.
Meyer grabbed the Turnwald miss and was bumped by Siefker with 2:01 showing on the clock. The foul was Siefker's fifth, putting the senior to the bench, left only to cheer for her teammates.
“It was pretty tough for me,” Siefker said of having to watch. “I have a lot of confidence in my teammates though so I was hoping they could pull it out. But like coach said, the ball didn't bounce our way always. Sometimes the cards don't fall how you want them to.”
With Siefker on the bench having tallied nine points, 12 rebounds and a pair of blocks, it was time for Fort Loramie, in particular Rose, to attack the hole left open by the 6-2 senior's departure.
“Once Siefker was out I knew I could drive a little bit without getting my shot blocked so much,” admitted Rose. “So I wasn't so scared to do it any more.”
Ottoville failed to score in the fourth after Siefker fouled out and with 35 seconds left, after an Ottoville turnover, Meg Westerhide drove to the bucket with a quick cutting move to the right to tie the game for the Redskins, 39-39.
An errant pass at the other end gave Fort Loramie the ball and a chance to win in regulation but Beining came up with her fourth block of the game to keep the game knotted.
Overtime belonged to Fort Loramie as Rose, who was held scoreless in the first half and had just five points at the end of the third quarter, scored the first six points of the overtime session.
Her first bucket came on a reverse when she snagged a loose ball from going out of bounds with 2:35 on the clock and then she added four straight free throws to extend the lead to 45-39 over the next 46 seconds.
“We were setting screens and looking to attack that hole because we knew (Siefker) was out,” noted Fort Loramie coach Carla Siegel. “We had a couple misreads and didn't get in there right away but I thought the girls did a good job taking it to the rack and high percentage shots is what you want in the overtime game and I think that's what we got.
“When she fouled out I was like 'oh here we go, (Rose) can start taking it to the hole, she'll get fouled and she'll make her free throws.'"
Rose, who holds the school record for most points, most career free throws, and most free throws in a season, hit 7-for-10 of her fourth quarter free throws and scored nine of her team's 10 points in OT.
“That's what somebody like Rose will do,” said Kleman. “We really were shutting everyone else down and she had to take over for her team and that's what she did. She did a nice job of hitting the free throws at the end to put the game away for them. Give her credit, she did a good job.”
Mangas ended an 8 1/2 minute drought without a field goal for the Lady Green when she cut the score to 46-41 with 1:05 left in overtime but Rose hit three more free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
Beining led Ottoville with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds to go with four blocks and three steals but the rest of the team shot 7-for-35.
Ottoville won the battle on the boards 39-25, including a 20-to-9 edge on the offensive end, but the Redskins' pressure and the Lady Green turnovers minimized the potential positive effects on the glass.
“There was a definite height advantage, even with our guards, with so many people boxing out, it leaves an open spot,” said Beining. “I felt like it bounced my way quite a bit this game. I just did my best to go after it.”
Rose finished with a game-high 21 points and the seldom used Hallie Benanzer chipped in with 12 points, all from beyond the arc, to give Fort Loramie a boost after scoring just two points as a team in the first quarter. Benanzer hit three straight triples after the Redskins fell behind 12-3 in the second quarter and they went into the break down 18-15.
In the first game of Division IV basketball, Berlin Hiland trailed most of the game but pulled out a 54-51 victory against Reedsville Eastern, which failed to get a 3-point shot off in the waning seconds.
Regina Hochstetler led the Hawks (26-3) with 24 points.
Jenna Burdette scored 20 points and added 11 rebounds but committed 14 of the Eagles (23-5) 20 turnovers. Jordan Parker added 18 points for Eastern.
Hiland turned the ball over just seven times.
FORT LORAMIE (49) – Rose 21; Boerger 5; Westerhide 3; R. Meyer 1; Ordean 1; Benanzer 12; Turner 4; Brandewie 2; Ju. Hoying 0; Ja. Hoying 0; Holdheide 0. Totals 15-40 14-21 49.
OTTOVILLE (42) – Beining 18; Siefker 9; Turnwald 8; Mangas 4; Vorst 2; Eickholt 1; Landwehr 0; Lindeman 0; Sarka 0; Von Sossan 0; A. Wannemacher 0; L. Wannemacher 0. Totals 15-45 12-21 42.
Three-point goals: Ottoville (0-8). Fort Loramie (5-13) – Benanzer 4, Rose. Rebounds: Fort Loramie 25 (Meyer 7), Ottoville 39 (Beining 13, Siefker 12). Turnovers: Fort Loramie 22, Ottoville 32.
Fort Loramie 2 13 10 14 10 - 49
Ottoville 4 14 13 8 3 - 42
REEDSVILLE EASTERN (51) – Burdette 20; Parker 18; Hawley 5; Rigsby 4; Swatzel 2; Keller 2; Goble 0. Totals 21-45 5-6 51.
BERLIN HILAND (54) – Hochstetler 24; Schlabach 9; Goings 9; Schrock 4; S. Goings 3; Beachy 3; Nickol 2; Yoder 0; Horn 0. Totals 18-53 14-23 54.
Three-point goals: Eastern (4-17) – Parker 2, Hawley, Burdette. Hiland (4-13) – Schlabach, Hochstetler, Beachy, Schrock. Rebounds: Eastern 38 (Burdette 11, Rigsby 8), Hiland 27 (Hochstetler 7). Turnovers: Eastern 20, Hiland 7.
Eastern 13 6 18 14 - 51
Hiland 10 7 18 19 - 54