The Ottawa High School girls basketball team has sent its opponents to the line too many times this season. That facet of the game turned a possible win into a loss Friday night in Ottawa.
Paola scored 15 points from the free-throw line in the second half and overtime to nip Ottawa, 46-44.
“We lost the game with two minutes left in the third quarter when we committed our seventh foul,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. “We started sending them to the free-throw line. We have done that a lot.”
It caught up to the Cyclones. Paola drained 14 of 21 from the line during that period. Ottawa led 24-15 at the time and was in control of the game.
“We are committing a lot of dumb fouls,” McCullough said. “That is what lost us the game ... not missing a shot at the end of regulation.”
Three of the five starters fouled out for Ottawa.
Paola scored the final six points of the third quarter to pull within 24-21 and tied it at 25-25 with 6:46 remaining in regulation. There were five more ties in regulation and one during overtime.
The game was tied at 37 at the end of regulation. Ottawa jumped to a 43-38 lead with two minutes left in overtime. Paola stormed back and scored the final five points of the game for the victory.
It was not a pretty game for either side with lots of turnovers.
“We have to come out and execute better,” McCullough said. “We have had a hard time taking care of the ball.”
Ottawa senior Alexis Roecker put together her best game of her career. She finished with a career-high 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
“She came to play,” McCullough said. “She kind of spurred us.”
Ottawa’s offensive rebounding in the first half helped the Cyclones snare a 16-9 halftime lead.
“Our post players are really starting to come around,” McCullough said.
Senior Tyra Lyday scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half and overtime. She also took over the point guard duties late in the fourth quarter after Corie Fischer fouled out.
Ottawa (4-3, 1-2) plays 6 p.m. Tuesday at home against Baldwin.
Paola (46) — Farmer 4, Williams 13, Paulsen 7, Johnson 15, Slawson 7.
Ottawa (44) — Lyday 15, Bones 1, Roecker 18, C. Fischer 3, Weidner 7.