LOUISBURG — The Ottawa High School girls basketball team put all of its recent problems in the rearview mirror.
The Cyclones returned to earlier season form, rallying from a 10-point first quarter deficit. Ottawa made big play after big play down the stretch Friday to nip Louisburg, 46-44, in Louisburg.
Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough liked the intensity his team displayed.
“We played really good,” he said. “We played hard. That is what we were looking for. They made plays. They deserved to win.”
Both teams needed the victory with five teams in the sub-state coming into Friday with eight or nine losses. The win broke a tie with Louisburg. Ottawa improved to 8-8, while Louisburg fell to 7-9.
“We needed this win so bad,” McCullough said. “This gave us some confidence. We are still in the mix. We have a great chance to get a sub-state home game. Every win helps.”
Ottawa nipped Louisburg by a point in December. This game was a lot like that one.
The Cyclones trailed most of the way. Louisburg led 39-33 early in the fourth quarter. Ottawa went on a 7-0 run to take a 40-39 lead. The lead switched hands a couple more times.
Ottawa took the lead for good on Corie Fischer’s trey with 1:25 left in the game. Ottawa led 45-44.
Tyra Lyday’s free throw with 2.5 seconds left gave Ottawa a two-point lead.
“Tyra hit one ... just enough to let us inhale,” McCullough said.
Ottawa senior Elsie Bones gave Ottawa a spark all over the floor. She scored 10 points and played solid defense.
“Elsie played so hard,” McCullough said. “It was a big shot from Corie. We played with immense toughness. That is how we need to play.”
Ottawa came out slow offensively. Louisburg got out to a 12-2 lead late in the first quarter. Ottawa started to find its game in the second quarter. Ottawa pulled within one at 22-21, but the Wildcats led 25-23 at halftime.
“We never folded,” McCullough said. “We got down early. The second half was nip-and-tuck. We kept working hard.”
Lyday led Ottawa with 14 points. She scored nine in the second half. Corie Fischer finished with nine points.
Ottawa plays Tuesday at Paola.
Ottawa (46) — Lyday 14, Bones 10, Roecker 2, K. Fischer 3, C. Fischer 9, Lewis 4, Weidner 2, Moore 2.
Louisburg (44) — Dvorak 5, Moore 18, Hopkins 1, Vaughan 1, Geiman 6, O’Keefe 2.