Bulldogs struggle to find rhythm in loss to Marshall

Jason Wesseldyk

Billy Joel released his hit single “I Go to Extremes” in 1989.
If the Otsego girls’ basketball team were to select a theme song for its performance through the first eight games of the season, that just might be it.
Because when the Bulldogs win, they tend to win big. And when they lose, they tend to lose big.
That included Otsego’s non-conference contest with perennial power Marshall on Thursday, Dec. 28, which the Bulldogs dropped by a 54-24 final score.
The loss was the second straight for Otsego and dropped its record to 5-3. The average margin of victory in those five wins is 30.6 points, while the average margin of defeat in those three losses is 22.33 points.
“It was obviously a rough night for us,” Otsego coach Tony Koshar said. “We’re still trying to find ourselves both offensively and defensively right now. We’re looking for that consistency and haven’t had that yet.”
The Bulldogs have now suffered five losses to Marshall in the past three seasons, including season-ending defeats to the Red Hawks in the regional finals the past two seasons.
“Marshall is a tough team,” Koshar said.
The Red Hawks made matters difficult for Otsego on both ends of the floor throughout the game. Marshall scored at least 10 points in each quarter and allowed the Bulldogs to score no more than seven points in any quarter.
That strong performance on both the offensive and defensive side of things allowed Marshall to jump out to a quick 17-7 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
By halftime, Otsego found itself facing a 27-12 deficit, with Marshall upping its lead to 39-17 entering the final stanza.
Koshar said one aspect of his team’s game was lacking in particular.
“One of the missing elements in our last few games is the lack of tempo,” Koshar said. “We are not fast breaking effectively, which is limiting our easy baskets we typically get.”
Mattison Rayman finished with a team-best six points, followed by five points from Kaelyn Arlington and four points each from Jaycie Callaway and Lauren Nieboer. Callaway also collected seven rebounds and blocked three shots to lead the team in both of those categories, while Arlington added five rebounds.
And while Koshar is obviously not pleased with the fact his team has dropped two straight games by at least 20 points, he is far from ready to hit the panic button.
To the contrary, he has no doubt that the Bulldogs can, and will, get back to its winning ways that saw them win five of their first six games.
“Although we have hit a rough spot, I am still confident we will find our way and turn this around,” he said.


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