Otsego comes up short against Wildcats
Otsego girls’ basketball coach Tony Koshar holds the Three Rivers duo of Hadley Miller and Kali Havelin in high regard.
“They’re probably the best two players in the (Wolverine Conference),” Koshar said.
The Bulldogs got a first-hand view of just how good the duo is when Otsego traveled to Three Rivers on Thursday, Feb. 6.
Miller—who returned to the lineup after missing the previous six games with an injury—and Havelin combined for 38 points, 23 rebounds and 11 steals to lead the Wildcats to the 53-36 win over the Bulldogs.
Despite the final score, Koshar was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We were really engaged all game against a very good team,” he said. “I thought we matched their intensity and executed pretty well against their pressure. And we caused them to turn it over with our pressure.”
Koshar also liked the way his players were able to draw fouls. He just wished they had been more efficient with their free-throw chances.
“We were aggressive taking it to the basket and got to the line 20 times compared to their 10,” he said. “But we failed to convert, which has been a problem for us all year.”
The Bulldogs made five of their free throws, with Three Rivers making six of their attempts.
Otsego kept the game close early, trailing 12-9 at the end of the first quarter. But a 17-8 second-quarter advantage for Three Rivers increased the Bulldogs’ deficit to 29-17 at halftime.
The second half was much closer, with Three Rivers holding a 24-19 edge.
“I was proud of our competitiveness throughout the game,” Koshar said.
Kendra VanderLugt paced Otsego with 12 points and five steals. Olivia Stam added eight points and four steals, while Ashley Goodrich had six points and six rebounds.
The loss was the second in three days for Otsego following a 66-55 defeat to Bronson on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
A slow start doomed the Bulldogs in that game, as they fell behind 22-6 at the onset.
“We dug ourselves a big hole, which made for a difficult night,” Koshar said.
Otsego did outscore Bronson 51-44 the rest of the way and narrowed the deficit to four points early in the fourth quarter, but was unable to come all the way back.
“I was impressed with our fight to get back in the game, but we paid for our slow start and couldn’t quite get over the hump,” Koshar said. “Ultimately our slow start and lack of attention to detail on defense cost us.”
Cali Miller scored 12 points in the loss, followed by Stam with 11 , VanderLugt with nine, Sabrina Powers with eight and Kaitlyn Payseno with seven.