Otsego stuns Apaches, 60-53, behind late rally


TONTOGANY — Otsego went on a 12-1 run to close the final five minutes of play to defeat Fairview, 60-53, in overtime during a Division III sectional semifinal on the Knights’ floor Tuesday.

Otsego, 12-11, will travel to face Archbold (20-2) Friday for the right to advance to the district tournament. Fairview sees its season end at 10-13.

Fairview led 52-48 with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation, but the Knights got a 15-foot jumper from junior Kaidyn Hutton and sophomore Devin Silva drove to the rim, scoring with 3.9 seconds remaining to tie the game 52-52 and send it into overtime.

In OT, Otsego forced five turnovers, including three steals, and the Apaches went 0-for-3 from the field and only got two rebounds.

“Our kids play so hard,” Otsego coach Steve Carroll said. “I give a lot of credit to our seniors — we’ve got a lot of leaders who just won’t let us quit. We made some plays at the end that were just enough to get it done.”

Fairview coach Bodi Kauffman said, “Give them credit — they made plays. They made shots and they made free throws and they got it done at the end and we just didn’t for whatever reason.”

Until then, it seemed like Fairview had the Knights on the ropes.

“A lot of credit to Fairview — they played really hard and that is a really well-coached team and our guys just made a couple plays at the end to get it done,” Carroll said.

Otsego got four players in double figures — Silva had 16 points, six rebounds and two steals, senior Jack Simpson had 16 points and six rebounds, Huttyon had 12 points and four steals, and junior Carter Lampe had 10 points and four rebounds.

However, in the first half the Otsego offense sputtered, hitting on just 23% (5-for-22) from the field. It wasn’t just shots from the arc that were not falling, the Knights were getting to the rim and still couldn’t get anything to drop.

In the second quarter, the Knights were just 1-for-10 and scored just three points, falling behind 17-16 at the break.

The second half, Otsego shot 59% (17-for-29) from the floor, and it was started by Silva, who suddenly took over, working his way to the rim, finishing, and scoring 13 points in the second half on six baskets in the paint.

“Devin is so athletic he can take over a game offensively, but you know there are guys setting screens for him,” Carroll said.

“Simpson set a really good screen for him, Hutton made some really good passes to him. It was a really good team win. The guys are unselfish — they play hard and unselfish and want to win together.”

Silva said he and three other seniors were not about to let their season end on their own floor.

“They were hitting shots before us, so we came into the second half ready to go. We were hitting our shots, taking it to the rack, just doing what we do,” Silva said. “We knew what we wanted. We just had to step it up and just gave a great team effort there at the end.”

Otsego was 10-for-17 from the free throw line, committed 14 turnovers, and held a 28-26 edge off the glass.

Otsego junior Carter Lampe scored seven points, senior Drew Gase had four points and two steals, and senior Owen Atkinson had two points, six rebounds and three steals.

Sophomore Levi Panico led Fairview with 14 points on four shots from downtown and he had two steals, junior Kale Salyers had 12 points and six rebounds, and senior Jude Shininger had 10 points, seven rebounds, and five steals.

The Apaches made nine shots from the arc, including five in the third quarter. They were 18-for-39 (46%) from the floor, made 8-of-13 free throws, but because of 18 turnovers had 12 less shots than Otsego.

Fairview coach Bodi Kauffman thought his team played well for the first three-and-a-half quarters, but actually they led for most of the first three-and-7/8 quarters.

“We gutted it out and I thought defensively we did really good things for three-and-a-half quarters,” Kauffman said.

“Maybe it was a little bit of fatigue, maybe it was just the pressure of the moment, but we kind of lost it there at the end. We gave up some things we hadn’t given up the whole game.”

For the Apaches, sophomore Jackson Brady had eight points and grabbed four rebounds, senior Kasen Kauffman scored six points, and sophomore William Zeedyk had three points and two steals.

“A lot of our guys played really hard,” coach Kauffman said. “We had a really good season for as young as we were. I’ll tell you what — I’m really proud of our guys.

“We play a lot of younger guys. For a bunch of those kids that is their first tournament experience, and to have to come on the road and play a tournament game. I know everybody has their opinion on the situation, but that is not an easy thing to do.”

(Photo courtesy Brian Martin/brianmartinphotography.smugmug.com)

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