Ottawa girls sweep Paola, but falls to fourth seed

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

The Ottawa High School girls basketball team took care of business, but so did Paola and Fort Scott.

Ottawa entered the week with a chance of gaining the second seed if the dominoes fell right. Paola secured the second seed with a victory Monday and Fort Scott defeated Independence Tuesday to nab the third seed.

Ottawa High School senior Summer Spigle finds an opening to drive the lane against Paola.

Ottawa made good on its end by beating Paola, 48-40, but fell one game behind Fort Scott. Ottawa is the fourth seed and plays Saturday at home against Iola in the first round of sub-state.

“I would have liked to get that third seed and get back to Paola,” Ottawa coach Matt Schurman said. “We will prepare for Iola. Some of those losses in mid-season kind of haunt you right now. Give it to Fort Scott, who won the last two games. They are playing well.”

Ottawa (5-13) has won just two games since early January, but lost several games late in the fourth quarter. Some of those included two close losses to Baldwin, two three-point losses in the mid-season tournament and led state-ranked Louisburg in the final four minutes.

“We can be scary because we have done so well against the top-tier teams,” Schurman said.

Ottawa had a lot on the line against Paola. Schurman called the game one of the most important in his two seasons as coach

“I was really, really pleased with our group coming back after that heartbreak to Baldwin,” he said. “Historically, we have not. We kind of get into a funk. We talked tonight how big this was for our program.”

Ottawa swept Paola for the first time in several years. The press turned the tide in the earlier meeting and made a difference in Tuesday’s victory.

“Our pressure bothered them,” Schurman said. “We made some steals. We had a good first half. We continued to fight and scrap out baskets. We did not settle for shots.”

Schurman said Ottawa will not overlook Friday’s regular-season finale against Spring Hill.

“The biggest thing for me is celebrating the seniors,” he said. “Our four seniors have been seemingly here forever. They are the Perry Ellises of Ottawa High School. They have been a big part of what we tried to do. I went to Spring Hill and I am all about beating Spring Hill. We are playing to win.”