The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

Cougars fall to Ottoville 57-38

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

Ottoville’s size and experience was too much for Van Wert, as the Big Green raced out to a 9-0 first quarter lead and never looked back on the way to a 57-38 win over the Cougars on Friday.

Joseph Miller opened the game with back-to-back treys and Josh Thorbahn drained a basket and free throw, before Owen Treece put the Cougars on the board. By the time the first quarter ended, Van Wert had two starters in foul trouble and the visitors enjoyed a 19-6 lead.

Keaton Brown (10) finds himself in a tough spot during Friday night’s game against Ottoville. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

“When we’ve gotten off to good starts we’ve been able to use that momentum and energy to sustain us throughout the game,” Ottoville head coach Keith Utendorf said. “We talked about shooting with confidence and just letting it go – we aren’t shooting real well percentage wise yet this year but I think eventually it will come.”

“To dig out of a 9-0 hole is difficult,” Van Wert head coach Ben Laudick said. “We fight and we claw but a good team like that is going to respond and they did multiple times, anytime we’d try to make a run.”

The first quarter also marked the return of 6-7 junior Ottoville forward Ryan Suever, who missed the first eight games of the season with an injury. He scored four points in the quarter and nine in the game.

“I root for that kid more than anybody just given what he’s had to deal with and come back from for the last two years,” Utendorf said.

“With Suever, Thorbahn and (Drew) Fisher and some others, they present some length problems,” Laudick said of Ottoville. “They’re going to be a tough out. It doesn’t matter if it’s tournament game or a regular season game they’re going to be really good.”

Treece scored 10 of his 21 points in the second quarter, but the Cougars trailed 34-23 at the break. The third period was a low scoring one, with Ottoville (6-3) holding a 9-2 edge and a 43-25 advantage entering the fourth quarter.

Van Wert (2-6) opened the final period with a 10-2 scoring run, including five points by Treece, two each by Jake Hilleary and Keaton Brown and one by Nate Jackson, enough to trim the deficit to 10, 45-35. However, Ottoville answered with a 10-0 run to seal the victory.

“Give credit to them, they came back, especially in the second half and made us continue to work,” Utendorf said.

Ottoville will play at Lincolnview today, with the junior varsity game tipping off at 4:30. Van Wert will host Columbus Grove, starting with the JV game at 4 p.m.

Scoring summary

Van Wert 6 17 2 15 – 38
Ottoville 19 15 9 14 – 57

Van Wert: Clayton Proffitt 0-2-2; Owen Treece 9-2-21; Keaton Brown 2-0-4; Nate Jackson 0-3-3; Parker Conrad 0-2-2; Colin Place 1-0-2; Ethan Brown 1-0-2; Jake Hilleary 1-0-2

Ottoville: Joseph Miller 5-0-13; Trae Schlagbaum 1-0-2; Kyle Manns 2-4-8; Ryan Suever 1-7-9; Grant Kortokrax 2-0-4; William Miller 1-0-2; Josh Thorbahn 4-2-11; Drew Fisher 1-1-3; Kaiden Trentman 1-0-2; Jack Langhals 1-0-3

JV: Van Wert 56-51

POSTED: 12/27/19 at 11:13 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports