OHS girls work through pandemic obstacles

Greg Mast
Ottawa High School sophomore Brooklyn Hadl drives to the basket as Piper defenders close in during Friday's season-opening loss to the Pirates. [PHOTO BY GREG MAST/THE OTTAWA HERALD].

The Ottawa High School girls basketball team is attempting to work through the pandemic.

Practice times have been shorter and not all players have practiced together during the preseason.

The season opened Friday with no outside fans allowed in the gym. It was a much different feel.

“We got used to it,” Cyclone senior Riley Titus said after the 52-22 loss to Piper Friday in the home gym. “Our team was cheering us on. That was good and helped. The cheerleaders helped a lot.

“We have to find a way to get pumped up and energetic during the game,” Titus said.

Ottawa coach Matt Schurman said the players are working through all the situations brought on by the pandemic.

“These girls have worked hard through all the stuff that COVID-19 has brought,” he said. “The crowd we are allowed right now did a good job of providing an atmosphere. Practices are shorter. We have not always had everybody at practice. Getting everybody up to speed is something we get to do this week.”

The opener against state-ranked Piper was a tough match-up for Ottawa.

“Piper has always been really good,” Titus said. ‘We played well the first half, but the second half was a little rough.”

Cold shooting, lack of rebounding and turnovers hurt Ottawa.

“The shots did not fall for us,” Schurman said. “We needed one to fall. We got some open shots. We missed layups. We settled for jumpers at times.

“We got pushed out a little further on offense. We got a little flat-footed on offense. It is hard to get your offense going. We have to take care of the ball a little bit better. There were spots where we were careless with the ball.”

Despite the cold shooting, Ottawa was within 22-11 at halftime.

“We talked about coming out strong [in the third quarter,” Schurman said. “We came out flat. They made free throws and knocked down some threes.”

Schurman said this team has a chance to put together a good season.

“We are excited about having a season,” he said. “A lot of people have put in a lot of hard work for us to be here. This group has had the opportunity to grow up together. That is going to help us in the long run. I liked their fight. Our maturity showed up.”

Ottawa plays Friday at Shawnee Heights.

Ottawa (22) — Titus 3, Curtis 2, Ficken 2, Spiegel 4, Hall 7, Evans 3, Gollier 1.

Piper (52) — Clark 14, Vasquez 12, Guilbeaux 6, Sanchez 2, Thomas 6, Bruce 9, Grann 3.

Ottawa High School senior Riley Titus eyes the basket as she is defended by  Piper's Dawnyale Bruce. [PHOTO BY GREG MAST/THE OTTAWA HERALD].