Otsego senior Jaxsen Callaway scored six of his eight points during the first quarter of the Bulldogs’ win over Paw Paw. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

Otsego continues winning ways with victory over Paw Paw

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

Otsego boys’ basketball coach Matt Dennis expects a lot out of his players during practice.
“We go hard at practice,” he said. “We try to make it as challenging as possible because we want to push the guys to grow and continue to improve. And when you do that, it makes the games seem easier since we go so hard at practice.”
It’s a strategy that seems to be working.
The Bulldogs ran their winning streak to 15 straight thanks to 83-58 Wolverine Conference North victory over visiting Paw Paw on Friday, Feb. 21.
Otsego’s record improved to 17-1 with two games remaining in the regular season: against Allegan on Friday, Feb. 28, and the conference crossover game on Thursday, March 6.
“I really like the way we’re playing right now,” Dennis said. “We’re really starting to peak on both ends of the floor, which is exactly what you want at this time of year. The guys are focused and want to finish strong.”
Given the margin of victory, Dennis was able to get all of his players some playing time.
“As a coach, you always like to get everyone in the game,” he said. “And as we’re starting to gear up for the postseason, this lets some guys get some rest an gives some of the other guys a chance to get in there and show what they can do.”
The victory was a total-team effort, with six players scoring at least eight points.
Charlie Woodhams led the way with 16 points to go with five rebounds and four assists. Jakson Dentler was close behind with 14 points, followed by Trae Knight with 12, Ashton Atwater with 10, Owen Watson with nine and Jaxsen Callaway with eight.
Atwater also had eight assists, six steals and four rebounds, while Watson and Callaway added four rebounds each.
“That’s the culture we’ve tried to build here,” Dennis said. “Guys are looking for the open man and giving up a good shot for an even better shot. This is a very unselfish group.”
Otsego led 6-5 before closing the first quarter on a 13-4 run to go up 19-9. Callaway had six first-quarter points, while Dentler had five.
The Bulldogs’ lead increased to 38-21 at halftime and swelled to 63-39 entering the fourth quarter.
Three days earlier, the Bulldogs held off Battle Creek Lakeview to post the 84-76 win.
Otsego led 58-55 after three quarters and used a 26-21 edge in the final frame to hold off the Spartans.
Woodhams finished with 27 points and seven rebounds, while Atwater had 18 points, four rebounds and four assists. Dentler, Watson and Callaway chipped in with 14, 10 and nine respective points.
 

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