PAOLA ­— Another sloppy game offensively has the Cyclones scrapping to keep up in the battle for the top seed in sub-state.

The Ottawa High School boys basketball team (9-7) currently sits at No. 2 in the four-team sub-state set for March 1-3 at Paola High School. Spring Hill (11-6) leads the standings with Paola (9-8) in the mix. Louisburg (2-15) rounds out the list.

Paola nipped the Cyclones Tuesday 49-45 in overtime in Paola, marking the fifth loss in eight games for Ottawa.

The Panthers led for much of the low-scoring game until OHS made a late push. Krys Johnson, senior, sunk a three-point shot with 44 seconds left that tied the score at 36-36. A right-corner three pointer from Paola’s Drew Smith, senior, as time expired in regulation was off and the game went to an extra period.

Paola scored the first five points in overtime to take a 41-36 lead thanks in part to a key steal by Seth Richmond, junior, who missed the transition bucket, but was bailed out by teammate Brandon Wilkes, senior, who got the putback.

Ottawa never came closer than three points of its opponent in overtime.

Turnovers and missed shots once again plagued the Cyclones.

“Thirty-six points in four quarters of basketball is unacceptable,” Cliff McCullough, OHS head basketball coach, said. “Our guys are in good positions to score, they are getting good looks, good opportunities, and they are not holding up their end of the bargain. They aren’t putting the ball in the hole, and that is what it comes down to.”

Three league games remain on the schedule, starting with Ottawa hosting Baldwin 7:30 p.m. Friday at OHS, 1120 S. Ash St., Ottawa.

“We have to win out,” McCullough said. “There is no question. We still have a chance to get the No. 1 seed [in sub-state], but we have to win the next three games, and it is not going to be easy. Baldwin, Eudora and Spring Hill, but it is not only that — it isn’t easy for us. It wouldn’t be easy in any normal situation, but it is even harder for us. It is a tall task for us right now because I don’t know where we are headed and I don’t know where the guys’ heads are right now, but it is not with basketball.”

Paola (49) — Wilkes 15, Clark 12, Smith 8, Golubski 8, Richmond 6.

Ottawa (45) — Krys Johnson 14, Kobe Johnson 12, Bethea 10, Savage 4, White 3, Michel 2.