Otsego struggles offensively in suffering first loss of season
The Otsego girls’ basketball team entered its post-Christmas contest against Marshall on Friday, Dec. 28, unbeaten after winning its first four games.
The Redhawks made sure the Bulldogs didn’t leave the game with that unblemished record intact.
With its offense never able to find its rhythm, Otsego managed no more that seven points in any quarter and suffered the 43-24 loss.
While obviously not pleased with the outcome, Otsego coach Tony Koshar also wanted to make sure he kept the loss in proper perspective.
“The truth is, this loss doesn’t hurt us that much,” Koshar said. “It’s not a conference game, so it doesn’t cost us anything in the standings. Plus, we haven’t had a lot of practice time because we took some time off for Christmas.
“We’ve been playing some pretty good basketball prior to this game, and I’m hoping we get back to that. Hopefully this is just a blip on the radar and we’re able to get back to playing good basketball and continue what we had going before.”
Mattison Rayman turned in the top performance during the losing cause. In addition to scoring a game-best nine points, she also had four rebounds, two blocks and two steals to lead Otsego in those categories as well.
“Matti’s our leader out there,” Koshar said.
Neither team shot particularly well in the early stages of the game, with Marshall holding a 6-3 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Otsego’s deficit increased by five points in the second quarter, although the Bulldogs remained in the game at 19-11.
“We clearly weren’t performing the way we wanted to on the offensive end,” Koshar said. “Defensively, I was pleased. To hold a team to less than 20 points in the first half is always good. We just couldn’t do much offensively.”
Those offensive struggles continued in the third quarter, as the Bulldogs finished the stanza with seven points.
Marshall, meanwhile, scored 15 points during the quarter to push its lead to 16 points at 34-18 entering the final eight minutes of play.
“To be frank, this isn’t one of the vintage Marshall teams we’ve played in recent seasons,” Koshar said. “They’re a little bit younger and not quite as experienced as some of those teams.
“But that is a great program with a lot of tradition and they’re always going to be well coached. They came out and were the aggressor, which kind of got us back on our heels a little bit and we never quite made the adjustments we needed to make.”
The fourth quarter was more of the same, as the Bulldogs were limited to six points, with Lauren Nieboer accounting for four of those. Jaylynn Knight had the other two points.
Nieboer finished with six points to place second on the team behind Rayman in the scoring department. Ambreanna Powell added four points for the Bulldogs.
“This clearly wasn’t our best performance, but I don’t fault the girls’ effort,” Koshar said. “I felt they played hard and I’m proud of them for that.”