BOWLING GREEN – Otsego blew things open in the fourth quarter on the way to a 52-33 victory over Swanton in a Division III girls basketball sectional final at Bowling Green High School Saturday evening.
In the regular season, Swanton posted a 52-43 victory over Otsego. In the tournament game, the Knights were able to overcome some horrible free throw attempts and a dismal third quarter to post the convincing victory.
On Saturday, Otsego scored just four points in the third quarter, but were able to take a 34-29 lead in the final eight minutes.
“I think what kills us the most is our energy coming out in the third quarter. We just need to pick it up and get us going a little bit,” Otsego junior Ellie Roberts said.
“We knew they (Swanton) would want to come back and get at us,” Roberts added. “They beat us on our Senior Night so they knew they had the potential to beat us again. We just had to fight back and get into it.”
The Knights put together an 18-4 surge in the final eight minutes to secure the victory. Brynne Limes scored six of her team-high 17 points to help spark things. Janelle Moser and Anna Greenhagen each knocked down a 3-pointer for the Knights.
After making only 5-of-15 free throws in the first three quarters, Otsego was 7-of-8 from the line in the final minutes. Limes was 3-of-4 while Kylie Brinkman and Moser were both 2-of-2.
The Knights were up 15-11 after eight minutes and they took a 30-19 lead into the halftime break.
However, Swanton came out of the break with the momentum.
The Bulldogs scored 10 straight points to start the second half to come to within 30-29. Roberts then made a free throw with 2:09 to stop Otsego’s drought. Roberts added another free throw and Hannah Smoyer made a basket to give the Knights a 34-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Aricka Lutz scored eight of her team-high 17 points in the third quarter.
On the Swanton side, their inability to hit from long range cost them, as it has in most of their losses.
“Really looking at the difference in the two games (against Otsego) really comes down to our outside shooting,” said Swanton coach Eric Oakes. “In the tournament game we only made two 3-pointers and Otsego made eight. I believe five of our six losses this year we had three or less 3-point field goals made. Make some outside shots really helps our girls to get some spacing for them to drive. Thought we came out a bit nervous and that led to us losing track defensively on some of their key players and allowed them to get off to a good start. Girls did a great job settling down after halftime and cut the lead. I thought if we could just take the lead there in the third we would be ok, but could not get a shot to go and Otsego was able to make a couple and once that happened it was just too much for us to climb back from.”
The Dogs’ next highest scorers were Morgan Pine and Frankie Nelson, each tallying six points. Roberts came off the bench to score 10 points for Otsego.
Swanton finishes the season at 17-6.
“Was very proud of our girls this year. Obviously they had a great record, but they came and gave it everything they had every game,” said Oakes of the season.
Max Householder contributed to this article