Otsego’s Jacob Zartman (32) does his best to impede the efforts of Plainwell’s Levi Betz to inbound the ball. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

Strong third period lifts Bulldogs past archrival Plainwell

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

It’s been said that the third time’s the charm.
For the Otsego boys’ basketball team, the third quarter was the charm in the Wolverine Conference North contest against archrival Plainwell on Friday, Jan. 17.
After being limited to 24 points in the first half, the Bulldogs erupted for 26 points in the third period to pull away for the 67-49 victory.
“At halftime, I went in and told the guys I thought we were being outplayed and outworked,” said Otsego coach Matt Dennis, whose team held a slim 24-21 lead at the intermission. “They were beating us in transition, and that’s something we want to be known for. I just told them we needed to pick up the intensity level and they responded.”
The Bulldogs (8-1) didn’t waste any time setting the tone in the third quarter, opening the frame on an 11-0 run that included four points from Owen Watson and a triple from Jakson Dentler.
Watson finished with game highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds. That offensive production helped offset a rare off night for All-State candidate Charlie Woodhams, who failed to score double digits for the first time all season with four points.
“Owen’s had some big games for us, but this was easily his best performance of the season,” Dennis said. “This is the first time Charlie didn’t come out on fire and we needed someone to step up and pick up some of that slack. Owen did that.”
Following the 11-0 spurt that pushed Otsego’s lead to 35-21, the Trojans tried to fight back, scoring eight of the next 10 points to get the deficit back to single digits at 37-29.
But the Bulldogs simply had too much, ending the third quarter on a 13-2 run to blow open the game.
“Every time we walk onto the floor its our intention to win,” Plainwell coach Dan Klein said. “At the same time, the first score doesn’t always dictate success or failure. For the first half, we were right there with them. We held an All-State kid to four points. We did a lot of good things and met a lot of our goals.
“Otsego’s just so good and so deep. Every one of those kids can shoot the ball. They just wore us down a little bit. But we still met a lot of our goals for this game and I think it was a growing moment for us.”
To that end, the Trojans finished the game strong by holding an 18-17 scoring edge in the final frame.
Reece Comerford led the charge for Plainwell with 14 points, followed by Levi Betz with 11. Connor Buschini and Nate Faupel scored seven points each.
Jaxsen Callaway and Addison Atwater joined Watson in double figures for Otsego with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Woodhams tied Watson with 10 rebounds.
“We just want to keep improving with each game,” Dennis said. “We want to be aggressive and force the issue a little bit. I thought we did that much better in the second half.”

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