Boys basketball: Ottoville's fourth-quarter run downs Miller City

Jan. 19—OTTOVILLE — The game was there for either Ottoville or Miller City to control. It was just a question of who could find some offense to go with the stifling defenses, which had set the agenda for the first three quarters.

Those answers and the game belonged to Ottoville when it outscored the Wildcats 20-3 in the last six minutes of the game for a 48-38 boys basketball win at the L.W. Heckman Gymnasium on Friday night.

Michael Turnwald scored 15 points, eight of them in the fourth quarter, to lead Ottoville (11-3, 2-1 Putnam County League), and Landon Horstman had 12 points.

Silas Niese's 12 points led Miller City (9-4, 2-2 PCL).

With both teams going into the game with one league loss and Pandora-Gilboa already having a 4-0 PCL record, the loser of this game was probably going to face a very steep uphill climb to get a taste of the league championship.

While there was no desperation in the air, there also was no shortage of determination by either team.

"There were a lot of people here. Both teams brought a lot of people. Especially with losing our last game (to Pandora-Gilboa), we wanted this one bad. So we brought a lot of energy to this one," Turnwald said.

"Being a league game and both of us being in a position where we can't really lose another one played a big factor in it," he said.

The game was tied 16-16 at halftime, after Ottoville shot 31 percent (7 of 23) and Miller City shot 25 percent (6 of 24).

"Miller City wants to play fast. We want to play fast," Ottoville coach Keith Utendorf said. "We were playing fast, but there just weren't a lot of things going well (offensively) for either one of us early. We thought that pace we could play at could be a determining factor, and maybe it was a little bit toward the end."

Miller City led by as many as five points during the third quarter, but Keaton Schnipke's 3-pointer just before the buzzer put the game into a 28-28 tie heading into the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats built an even bigger lead when a bucket by Andon Ruhe put them up 35-28 with 6:25 left in the game. But the Big Green put 15 unanswered points on the scoreboard, and Miller City never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.

"We finally sat down on defense and got some stops. We got stops and scores, and that's kind of what led to us pulling away," Turnwald said.

Ottoville's Jace Langhals said, "Keaton hit a nice shot just before the fourth quarter. That gave us some momentum heading into the fourth, and we were able to come out and pull away a little.

"We got some big stops, and Garrett (Trentman) hit a really big three."

Langhals scored four points, but Utendorf said his work on defense played a big role in Ottoville's win.

"Jace Langhals was awesome in the second half. Defensively he was everywhere," Utendorf said. "We're really proud of our collective defensive effort. We needed it tonight. We were happy to get through it.

"Any time Ottoville and Miller City get together in a PCL game, it's a fun little event. I think the packed house that we got tonight got a little bit of a show. We're proud of our kids for putting that on."

Ottoville 48, Miller City 38

Miller City 7 9 12 10 — 38

Ottoville 4 12 12 20 — 48


Andon Ruhe 9, Owen Tobe 4, Silas Niese 12, Will Otto 3, Brendan Barlage 5, Jude Otto 4, Brayden Niese 1. Totals: 15-6-38.


Keaton Schnipke 7, Jace Langhals 4, Landon Horstman 12, Garrett Trentman 5, Michael Turnwald 15, Ashton Miller 2, Adam Brinkman 3. Totals: 16-12-48.

3-pointers: MC — S. Niese 2; O —Brinkman 1, Turnwald 1, Schnipke 1, Trentman 1.

Records: Ottoville 11-3, 2-1 PCL; Miller City 9-4, 2-2 PCL.