By TED RADICK
COLUMBUS — Fort Loramie never led in regulation time during Friday’s Division IV girls state semifinal at Value City Arena.
But it all Redskins in overtime, as Fort Loramie knocked off Ottoville 49-42 to advance to today’s title game.
Fort Loramie (26-3) will play Berlin Hiland, a 54-51 winner over Reedsville Eastern in Friday’s other semifinal, at 5:15 p.m. today for the state championship.
Ottoville ends its season 27-1.
The Redskins, after trailing most of the way, rallied from deficits of eight points in the third quarter and seven at one point in the fourth to tie the score at several points in the second half.
The biggest tie, of course, was the last one that came late in the fourth quarter as Fort Loramie’s Meg Westerheide made her lone basket of the game, a layup with 38 seconds left, to force the game into overtime at 39-39.
Ottoville senior Abby Siefker fouled out with a little more than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The Big Green held a 39-37 lead at that point, and Fort Loramie took full advantage of her absence.
“I thought the girls did a good job taking it to the rack,” Fort Loramie coach Carla Siegel said. “High percentage shots is what you want in an overtime game, and that’s what we got.”
Darian Rose scored six straight points to open the overtime, four from the free-throw line, as the Redskins jumped ahead. Her layup to start the scoring spree gave Fort Loramie its first lead of the game.
Rose finished with a game-high 21 points. Sixteen of those came in the fourth quarter and overtime, and nine came after Siefker had fouled out.
“Darian holds three school records for free throws, including most in a season and most in a career,” Siegel said. “When Siefker fouled out, I was like ‘Here we go.’ I thought she could get fouled and go to the free-throw line.
“It was a big key when Siefker fouled out because she could take it to the hole.”
Siefker finished with nine points and 12 rebounds. Fellow senior post Rachel Beining led Ottoville with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
The problem was, the Big Green was turning the ball over too much to feed the forwards a steady diet of entry passes.
Ottoville committed 32 turnovers, including four in overtime. Those miscues offset a 39-25 Ottoville rebounding advantage and kept Fort Loramie in a game where it scored two points in the first quarter, 15 in the first half and 25 by the end of three quarters.
“It would have been nice to have another guard in there with some experience, like (Tonya) Kaufman if she had been healthy,” Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said. “It would have made a nice difference for us. When they’re hurt, they’re hurt, and there’s not a lot you can do about it.”
Kaufman tore her ACL midway though the season, and Ottoville desperately missed her presence as the game came down the stretch.
“Their depth took over a little bit, especially in the overtime because our girls had to log a lot of minutes,” Kleman said. “It wasn’t stroll-in-the-park type minutes, it was slogging through the quicksand minutes.”
Rose said the Redskins, who shot 5 of 19 in the first half and coughed up 13 turnovers of their own through two quarters, could feel the tide turning as the game went into the fourth quarter.
“The game is 32 minutes long, so 16 minutes of frustration … we knew we could come back in those last 16 minutes,” she said.
Ottoville led 35-28 with 4:21 left in the fourth quarter after Taylor Mangas drained a pair of free throws. Rose then caught fire with a short jumper and a conventional 3-point play, and the Redskins cut the lead to two points when Siefker picked up her fifth foul.
Early in overtime, Rose drove down the right side of the lane, cut underneath the basket and dropped in a nifty reverse layup.
“I knew Siefker was out, and I knew I could drive without getting my shot blocked so much,” Rose said. “I wasn’t so scared to get in there and drive.”
“We were shutting everyone else down, and she had to take over for her team, and that’s what she did,” Kleman said. “She hit her free throws and put the game away from them.”
Rose hit 7 of 10 free throws in overtime. Siefker could only watch in frustration from the bench.
“It was tough for me,” she said. “I have confidence in my teammates, and I was hoping they could pull it out.
“Like coach said, the ball didn’t bounce our way, and sometimes the cards don’t fall how you want them to.”
Kleman loses four senior starters but promised a return to the state tourney sooner rather than later for the Big Green.
“We’ll be after it,” he said. “We have some good kids coming in younger grades and they’re going to be hungry. I’ll predict we’ll be back here in a couple of years.”
Meanwhile, those seniors — Siefker, Beining, Rachel Turnwald and Nicole Vorst — went 92-5 over the past four years including back-to-back Associated Press poll titles and undefeated seasons in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
“I told the girls in the locker room, if this the worst day of your life then you’re having a heck of a life,” Klemen said. “We feel bad, but we have a really good things to remember and we’ll remember those more in the future than we’ll remember this loss.”
FORT LORAMIE (26-3)
Rose 5-13 10-13 21, Benazer 4-7 0-0 12, Boerger 2-6 1-1 5, Turner 2-2 0-0 4, Westerheide 1-3 1-2 3, Brandewie 1-1 0-0 2, Ordean 0-3 1-2 1, Meyer 0-2 1-3 1, Holdheide 0-1 0-0 0, Ja. Hoying 0-0 0-0 0, Imwalle 0-2 0-0 0, Ju. Hoying 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 15-40 14-21—49.
Beining 8-10 2-8 18, Siefker 3-13 3-4 9, Turnwald 2-6 4-5 8, Mangas 1-7 2-2 4, Vorst 1-6 0-0 2, Eickholt 0-1 1-2 1, Landwehr 0-1 0-0 0, Lindeman 0-1 0-0 0, Le. Wannemacher 0-0 0-0 0, Li. Wannemacher 0-0 0-0 0, VonSossan 0-0 0-0 0, Sarka 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 15-45 12-21—42.
Fort Loramie 2 13 10 14 10 — 49
Ottoville 4 14 13 8 3 — 42
3-Point GOALS: Fort Loramie 5-13 (Halle 4, Darian); Ottoville 0-8.
rebounds: Ottoville 39 (Beining 13); Fort Loramie 25 (Meyer 7).
ASSISTS: Fort Loramie 9 (Rose 5); Ottoville 6 (Vorst 3).
FOULS: Ottoville 22, Fort Loramie 18.