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Published: Thursday, 3/10/2005

Ottoville girls seek better fortune

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

OTTOVILLE, Ohio - This Ottoville girls basketball team wants to change the school's luck.

During Dave Kleman's coaching career at the Putnam County League school, the Big Green previously made it to Columbus in 1993 and 1996 but fell each time in the semifinals to the eventual state champion.

Tonight at 8 Ottoville (22-3) will make its third Division IV state tournament appearance, facing Xenia Christian (24-1) in a semifinal at Ohio State University's St. John Arena.

"We want to win the state,"

Kleman said. "We're not just happy to be here. We want to win it."

The Big Green knocked off Hopewell-Loudon 48-29 in a regional final.

It's a team that opened the season loaded with experience and talent. Kleman welcomed back eight returning letter-winners and a starting lineup completely intact.

Stacey Wannamacher, a 5-11 junior, leads the team in scoring with a 15.6-point average. Amy Honigford, a 5-11 junior, and Megan Kleman, a 5-10 senior, have also been key returning starters. Both have averaged 11.3 points.

Seniors Jen Burgei and Adrie Gerding have provided steady back-court play and leadership for a team that finished the regular season ranked No. 6 in Ohio.

"We had a very good summer, so we expected to have a really good year," Kleman said.

Ottoville enters as an underdog against Xenia Christian, a team ranked No. 3. Xenia Christian reached the state tournament by knocking off undefeated No. 2 Maria Stein Marion Local 53-48 in a regional final.

The girls state tournament was scheduled to be held this week at Value City Arena. However, a conflict in schedules with Ohio State's hockey team hosting the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs led to switching to St. John Arena, which has seating for 13,276.

It was the site of 23 of the first 24 girls state tournaments. The tournament moved to Value City Arena in 2000.

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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