COLUMBUS — Minster had way too many offensive options.
The Wildcats had an outside game which featured Janae Hoying and they had a pound-it-inside approach with 6-foot-2 Courtney Prenger.
Minster’s offensive diversity helped the Wildcats pull away with a 53-37 victory over Ottoville to win the Division IV girls basketball state championship Saturday at Ohio State’s Value City Arena.
It marked Minster’s fourth girls basketball state title (2019, 2018, 2004 and 1998) and second in a row.
It also marked Minster’s 36th overall state title.
“I think on the ride home it’ll definitely sink in,” Minster’s Hoying said. “When we get back to Minster, with the community coming together, it’s amazing.’’
On the outside was Hoying with 19 points (3-of-4 on 3-pointers).
On the inside was Prenger with 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
“It doesn’t get any better than that,” Prenger said of ending her career with a state title.
Then, toss in Minster’s Ivy Wolf, who had nine points, four rebounds and three assists.
Minster’s man defense smothered the Big Green and held it to 30 percent shooting from the field, including 4-of-13 on 3-pointers.
Haley Hoersten led Ottoville with 10 points. Kasey Knippen had nine points with three 3-pointers. Quinley Schlagbaum had seven points, while Nicole Knippen had six points.
The game was a rematch from last year’s state championship game in which Minster knocked off Ottoville 63-48.
“It’s not a sad day,” Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said. “It’s a good day. We’re number two in the state two years in a row to Minster, who is a very good team.
“I told the girls it’s like playing the New England Patriots for everyone else in the NFL. If they would just get them out of the way, everyone else could have a chance to win the thing.’’
In a more recent matchup, in Ottoville’s third-last regular-season game, Minster defeated Ottoville 46-28.
Minster led 25-19 at the half on Saturday, then outscored the Big Green 17-7 in the third quarter to pull out to a 42-26 lead.
“I want to compliment our kids on how the third quarter started,” Minster coach Mike Wiss said. “We continued to say, ‘Courtney needed to touch the ball.’ And Janae hit a few jumpers and caused them some havoc. Then, she (Hoying) got a couple of steals and a couple of easy layups. The third quarter really changed the tempo of the basketball game.’’
The closest Ottoville got in the final quarter was 46-37 with 53 seconds to go.
Minster closed it out with seven straight foul shots, four by Hoying, to make the final 53-37.
“I’m extremely proud of my girls and we got as much as we could out of them,” Kleman said.
Ottoville came out in its 3-2 zone. With the zone keeping Prenger’s touches to a minimum, the Big Green went out to a 13-7 lead.
For offense, Kasey Knippen drained two early 3-pointers. The Big Green led 13-9 after the first quarter.
“Ottoville woke us up the first quarter and we had to stem the tide and fight through it,” Wiss said. “There’s a lot of fight in our kids, too.’’
Ottoville opened up a 16-13 lead after a Brynlee Hanneman 3-pointer with 5:24 left before halftime.
Minster then began connecting over the Big Green zone in the second quarter and led 25-19 at the half.
Leading the way for Minster was Hoying, who buried two straight 3-pointers. That kicked the Wildcats on a 12-1 run. Wolf also had a steal and a fastbreak layup which pushed the Minster lead to 25-17 with 13 seconds left before halftime.
With Hoying canning 3s, Ottoville was forced to scrap the zone. So the Big Green started the third quarter in a man-to-man.
Minster responded by getting the ball inside to the 6-2, Xavier-bound Prenger, who immediately had a layup and a driving layup. Hoying then gobbled up a steal and converted a fast-break layup.
“We tried the zone to try to stop Prenger, then they hit the threes,” Kleman said. “Then, we went to man to help cover that, then they threw it into Prenger. And why wouldn’t you?”
At the 6:54 mark of the third, Minster’s lead was 31-19.
Prenger had the inside game and Hoying was steady from the outside, as Minster’s lead grew to 42-26 after three.
Minster ended up with 28 points in the paint, compared to Ottoville’s 14.
“It definitely opened it up on the inside,” Prenger said.
Ottoville won the boards, 31-25. But the Big Green struggled from the outside (30 percent), while Minster shot 48 percent.
“We didn’t make enough shots,” Kleman said. “They’re so physically strong and they wear you down. They make it so tough to get an open look.’’
Added Kasey Knippen, “Ivy Wolf and Janae Hoying are pretty good defenders. They always know where my weaknesses are and they’ve also made me a better player.’’
Ottoville also had 16 turnovers against the Minster man pressure, while Minster had only six turnovers.
It was Ottoville’s eighth trip to state and third in a row.
Ottoville (25-4) returned to the title game after graduating three starters and their entire front line from last year.
“Everyone in the locker room thought we could (get back to state), but other than that, we didn’t have many believers,” Ottoville guard Kasey Knippen said.
Kleman, 532-127 in 27 years at Ottoville, didn’t give a clear answer about his coaching future when he was asked about it after the game.
“You have to let me evaluate it for a little bit,” Kleman said.