The Ottawa High School girls basketball team gave Shawnee Heights fits Friday night in its home opener.

Ottawa stayed with Shawnee Heights from start to finish and had chances to take a lead in the third quarter. Shawnee Heights was able to shake away from Ottawa by hitting its free throws in the fourth quarter to down Ottawa, 44-32.

Ottawa rallied from a 15-9 halftime deficit to tie the game at 19-19 in the third quarter. Shawnee Heights led 23-21 heading into the fourth quarter.

“Our third quarter was a glimpse of what we can do,” Ottawa coach Matt Schurman said. “The coaching staff is happy where we at as far as effort and focus. We have to grow as basketball players. We have to continue to put them in the right spots. We had some shots fall. Sometimes we have to believe it. The girls came back and competed.”

Ottawa (0-3) was forced to foul late as Shawnee Heights pulled the ball out to take time off the clock.

“They made free throws at the end,” Schurman said. “We really wanted (success) for these girls. They work really hard. It is right there for them.”

Schurman said the girls made big strides from Tuesday to Friday.

“Defensively, we played really well,” he said. “We were getting back in transition. We worked on several things each day. Offensively, we were stronger with the ball. We hit our first three. They go in all the time in practice. We have to figure it out during the game. Our girls did a good job of getting to their spots. These girls continue to do the things I am asking. We will get there. It is a process. The fight we saw in the third quarter to get back into the game, we did not see on Tuesday.”

Unforced turnovers are still an issue. Schurman said they are working on eliminating those mistakes.

“We are still learning,” he said. “We got some steals and turnovers off the press. We had big minutes out of our bench. Their work is going to pay off.”

Summer Spigle paced Ottawa with nine points. Riley Titus tossed in seven.

Shawnee Heights (44) — Fulks 15, Burghard 12, Wells 7, Hawkins 5, Brown 4, Ginter 1.

Ottawa (32) — Spigle 9, Titus 7, Curtis 4, Hadl 4, Evans 4, Ficken 2, Hornbuckle 2.