Otsego's Jaycie Callaway (44) provides defensive pressure to Allegan's Anntonette Ware. Bulldog Katie Voisard (left) trails the play.

Otsego gets defensive in district win over Allegan

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

Defense has been the strength of the Otsego girls’ basketball team this season. As evidence of this, consider the following:

The Bulldogs held their opponent to fewer than 40 points in 13 of their 20 regular-season games and allowed an average of 36.5 points per game.

And never was that strength on greater display than during the first quarter of Otsego’s Class B district quarterfinal with Allegan on Monday, March 2.

The Bulldogs forced 11 turnovers and kept the Tigers scoreless during the opening frame, building a 13-0 lead and ultimately winning by a 46-29 margin.

The victory put Otsego (15-6) in the district semifinals against host Paw Paw on Wednesday, March 4, with the winner advancing to the title game against Plainwell or Hopkins at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 6.

Otsego coach Tony Koshar said he couldn’t have scripted a better start to the game.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the way the girls went out and played tonight,” Koshar said. “That was a A-plus effort. To jump out to a 13-0 lead like that was huge.”

The quick start was even more vital given the way the two regular-season games between the teams had gone.

Otsego led by a slim 21-17 margin the first matchup and trailed 21-16 the second time around.

And while the Bulldogs managed to win both of those games, Koshar didn’t want to let the Tigers hang around this time.

“Going into this game, we felt like we were the better team,” he said. “But when you have a team like Allegan that’s as well-coached as it is and with players who play as hard as their girls do, you never know what can happen.

“So we wanted to go out there and set the tone right away.”

Bulldog senior Allie Thiel certainly set the tone on the offensive end for her team, scoring eight first-quarter points and finishing with a game-best 20 points.

“Coming into the game, we talked about the importance of getting off to a strong start,” Thiel said. “Our first two games against (Allegan) were tough, and we wanted to get the lead early. We weren’t ready for our season to end.”

For full story, pick up a copy of the March 5 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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