Otis-Bison girls control game, beat La Crosse
By CONOR NICHOLL
La CROSSE -- The Otis-Bison High School girls' basketball team scored the first 11 points on the road against La Crosse on Friday night. The Cougars led 14-2 with 3 minutes, 38 seconds remaining in the first quarter after junior Demi Bartonek hit her third 3-pointer in just over two minutes.
"We have been a pretty good zone team so far this year, forcing outside shots," La Crosse coach Laron Nordstead said. "One of their shooters, we just left open. We have got to communicate better."
Bartonek didn't hit a field goal and Otis-Bison didn't sink a trey the rest of the contest. Still, Otis-Bison controlled the tempo and had big performances from freshman Taylor Regan and senior point guard Annie Kraisinger.
The Cougars maintained at least a seven-point lead all game and collected a 43-30 victory.
Otis-Bison's lead dropped to nine points with four minutes left in the third quarter, and coach Richard Schmidt was worried the Cougars would lose the game. Otis-Bison, which just won the Fairfield tournament for the first tournament title in Schmidt's eight years, moved to 4-2. La Crosse dropped to 1-5. It marked Otis-Bison's biggest margin of victory in the Rush County rivalry since a 46-25 victory on Jan. 12, 2007.
"We stalled a little bit, we got some cuts to the basket, and I was really pleased," Schmidt said. "I think this will really help us mature a little bit."
The 5-foot-9, athletic Regan finished with 12 points on 5 of 13 shooting, one behind Bartonek for the game high.
"She has been a big help," Kraisinger said.
Regan collected a Cougar-best seven rebounds and tied Kraisinger with three assists. Kraisinger scored seven points.
"She has really, really surprised me," Schmidt said of Regan. "She is really ball smart. She knows where to go. Sometimes she gets lost on the offense, and sometimes that's good, because she ends up getting open."
Otis-Bison led 17-4 after the first quarter, 25-15 at halftime and 35-25 after three quarters.
La Crosse finished 10 of 43 from the field and junior Marissa Wagner led the Leopards with nine points.
"Offensively, we are just trying to work the ball around some, get some good looks," Nordstead said. "Then, we would like to be more aggressive and attacking, which we are still trying to figure out right now."
The Cougars opened the fourth quarter with a possession that lasted 1:40. The Cougars collected two offensive rebounds and Regan found Kraisinger for a wide-open basket off a good pass. Otis-Bison moved the ball well throughout the game and had just nine turnovers.
"I just try to see the court really well, and look for everyone who is open," Regan said.
A few minutes later, Regan forced a miss on a 3-pointer by La Crosse junior Ashley Depperschmidt. On the next possession, Otis-Bison pushed the ball in transition and Kraisinger found Regan for a score and a 41-25 lead.
"Annie is by far the leader," Schmidt said of the lone senior who sees significant playing time. "She kind of controls the tempo."