the Putnam County League, winning back-to-back championships with
unbeaten records. But life could be decidedly different for the Big Green this season as
it returns only one starter and goes into the year without the dominant
big man it had a year ago in Jason Wehri.
But life could be decidedly different for the Big Green this season as it returns only one starter and goes into the year without the dominant big man it had a year ago in Jason Wehri.
Wehri, a 6-foot-9 center who averaged 12.7 points per game, is now playing for NCAA Division II powerhouse Findlay.
Brandon Miller, Noah Altenburger, Austin Miller, Brandon Horstman and Glen Rayman are also gone from the Big Green. Wehri and Brandon Miller were three-year starters for an Ottoville team that went 19-4 overall.
“This is definitely a rebuilding year for us,” Ottoville head coach Tom Von Sossan said. “We are going to be young and we aren't going to have a lot of size, but the guys are working hard and we will come out ready to play every game.”
The lone starter back for Ottoville is junior Andrew Koch, who will run the point. Koch is coming off of a season in which he clicked for 7 points per outing and dished out 28 assists.
The other returning letterwinners are senior Phil Sargent and junior Brad Turnwald. Both have the potential to step up and help fuel Ottoville to another successful season.
“Phil and Brad didn't get extensive playing time last year but they will be key players for us this year,” Von Sossan said. “We are going to need them to step up along with the other guys on our team. We feel like we can still be a successful team. It's just going to take time to gain experience.”
Other players expected to see time for Ottoville are senior Kyle Hoersten, juniors Jacob Landin, Derek Miller and Alex Odenweller, sophomores Nathan Beining and Keith Pohlman and freshman Scott Pohlman.
Despite the youth and inexperience Ottoville has, the Big Green certainly cannot be overlooked.
After all, it does have a tradition of success on its side. Ottoville, which fell 51-40 to rival Fort Jennings in a district final last season, has won at least 15 games in each of the last six years.
“We expect to be competitive and the experience we get against the quality teams on our schedule will benefit us,” Von Sossan said. “Once this team matures and improves with experience, we will be fine. Hopefully, the kids here can continue the great tradition we have here.”
Ottoville opens its new season on Friday (Nov. 23) at home against Cory-Rawson. The Big Green plays its first PCL tilt on Dec. 1 as it hosts Columbus Grove.