Trojans rally past Otsego thanks to big second half
We’ve got nothing to lose.
That was the message Plainwell girls’ basketball coach Tim Rieman delivered to his team at halftime of its game with rival Otsego on Friday, Jan. 13.
Apparently, the message got through loud and clear.
The Trojans rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to post the 48-39 victory, handing Otsego its first divisional loss of the season.
The outcome left Plainwell and Otsego tied atop the Wolverine Conference South standings.
“When you go into halftime trailing by 10 points, you really don’t have anything to lose,” Rieman said. “Not many people expected us to win this game, anyway. So I told the girls to go out and take some chances. They really responded to that and we came away with a win because of it.”
Plainwell trailed 27-17 when they embarked on a 12-0 scoring run—including six points from Hayley Hawkes—that staked the Trojans to a 29-27 lead.
Jalyn Tran started the run by knocking down a jumper as part of a seven-point scoring effort.
“Jalyn came up big for us at big times,” Rieman said. “That’s how she’s capable of playing. As a sophomore, she led the JV team in scoring. We’ve been waiting to see that player at the varsity level the last year-and-a-half, and we saw it tonight.”
Jaycie Callaway stopped the bleeding for Otsego—at least temporarily—with a 3-pointer that put her team back on top 30-29 with 2:22 remaining in the third quarter. A pair of free throws from teammate Grace VerHage followed, upping Otsego’s lead to three points.
But back came Plainwell, ending the third stanza on a basket from Sara White before scoring the first seven points of the final frame to go up 38-32.
Four turnovers by the Bulldogs during the opening minutes of the fourth quarter aided that run by Plainwell. Otsego ended up with 26 turnovers for the game.
“Quite frankly, that’s been a problem for us in recent games,” Otsego coach Tony Koshar said. “We’re not taking care of the ball like we need to. We’re not valuing the ball and Plainwell made us pay for it.”
The Bulldogs narrowed the gap to 39-37 on a pair of free throws from Callaway and later trailed 42-39 after a basket by Callaway. But the Trojans scored the game’s final six points, including a 4-of-6 effort at the line, to seal the victory.
“We just didn’t play well enough to win,” Koshar said. “(Rieman) and Plainwell deserves a lot of credit for that. They came out in the second half and really took it to us. They had more energy and played with more intensity. It looked like they wanted it more.”
White paced Plainwell with 13 points, followed by Hawkes with 10 and Sophia Monroe with eight.
“Sara was huge for us tonight,” Rieman said of the 6-foot-2 White. “Yes, she led us in scoring, but it’s a lot more than that. She was very active on both ends of the floor. She was a difference maker out there.”
Callaway led Otsego with 13 points, while Cayla Koshar and Mattison Rayman added seven each.
“This is a tough loss, but it’s something we can learn from,” Koshar said. “We have to play with more energy and intensity. Hopefully the girls see that now. The good news is we still control our own destiny in terms of the divisional championship.”