COLUMBUS – Memories of the 2016 state championship game had to be in the back of the minds of the Ottawa-Glandorf players as Kettering Alter started to pull away from them in the third quarter of their Division II state semi-final contest Thursday afternoon
But that’s where those memories stayed.
O-G was able to overcome a double digit deficit and force overtime against the two-time defending state champions. But in overtime, a weary group of Lady Titans were unable to match the Knights as they fell 50-43 in a Division II state semi-final at Value City Arena.
The Lady Titans, the top ranked team in Division II, saw their season end at 27-1, while Archbishop Alter (27-2) advances to the D-II title game Saturday morning agaist HathawayBown, 48-40 winner over Miami Trace in the second Division II state semi-final.
Ottawa-Glandorf had a 19-17 lead at halftime on the Knights, but saw Alter pick up their pace in the third quarter outscoring the Titans 20-8 for a 37-27 lead after three quarters. The Titans had a 21-20 lead after the two teams exchange baskets to start the second half before Alter went on 11-0 run for a 31-21 lead.
“I think we settled down an awful lot,” Alter co-coach Christina Hart said of her teams third quarter. “We got a couple of easy looks and Braxtin (Miller) hitting that three to start the second half really settled us down. I think everyone kind of took a sigh and said we are okay. Libby (Bazelak) stole a couple of inbounds (passes) too, so we got some easy baskets, we could relax and play our game defensively.”
“They elevated their pressure there in the third quarter,” O-G coach Troy Yant said. “We made some mental mistakes and they capitalized on them before we could recover, kind of like they did last year. They are a well coached team, disciplined and they kind of swim like sharks in water and when they smell blood, they came after us. In the fourth quarter we were able to recover, unlike last year when we didn’t have our five on the floor.”
Not only did Bazelak come up with a couple of steals that led to Knight points, but scored five points during the run, including a three-pointer. After getting a basket early in the third quarter, the Titans didn’t score in the next four and a half minutes until Kadie Hempfling scored with 2:55 left in the quarter. The Knights had a 37-25 lead after another Bazelak three-pointer before Kylie White scored to end the third and pull O-G within 10 points.
White’s basket started an 8-0 run that carried over into the final quarter as the Titans were within 37-33 with 4:43 left. Bazelak ended the Alter dryspell with a basket with 4:22 left in regulation. The Knights had a 41-36 lead with 2:51 left when O-G made one final charge.
Hemplfing scored with 2:15 left that made it a three-point game before a Lexi Schroeder three-pointer with 59 seconds left tied the game. Alter played for the final shot before a turnover by the Knights gave the Titans a shot at the win. A shot from halfcourt by Erin Kaufman bounced off the front of the rim forcing overtime.
O-G grabbed a quick lead in overtime as Ashley Schroeder scored off a feed from Lexi Schroeder down low. Miller scored on Alter’s first possession of overtime, then Bazelak came up with a steal and fed Lauren Lush for a basket and a lead the Knights would never lose.
“In the fourth quarter I thought they were physical and kind of pushed us around,” Hart said. ”What I loved about our kids is that they stayed together the whole time, there was no finger pointing in the huddles, especially before overtime. The kids stuck together. Even though O-G scored the first points in overtime, the kids didn’t hang their heads.”
Alter outscored the Titans 9-2 in overtime as they hit 3-of-5 free throws in the final 15 seconds to secure the win.
“They could see we were kind of dragging and they picked up the pace,” Yant said. “When you are tired and making mistakes…. they gave it all they had. We were playing against a very well disciplined team on offense and defense and we were not getting what we normally get because of that. That made it an uphill challenge all the way and the girls responded well to be in a position to be there.”
Bazelak led the Knights with 20 points, five assists and five steals, while Miller had 15points, eight rebounds and three steals.
Hempfling led the Titans with 15 points, five assists and three steals, while Lexi Schroeder had 12 points. White and Kaufman both pulled in seven rebounds.
* * *
Kettering Alter 18-36 8-11 50: Hoeflinger 1-0-2; Lush 3-0-6; Gillis 3-0-7; Bazelak 7-3-20; Miller 4-5-15; Priest 0-0-0; Long 0-00.
Ottawa-Glandorf 19-45 1-4 43: L. Schroeder 5-0-12; Hempfling 7-1-15; White 3-0-6; A. Schroeder 1-0-2; Kaufman 3-0-8; Johnson 0-0-0; Sutter 0-0-0; Schimmoeller 0-0-0.
Kettering Alter 10 7 20 4 9 - 50
Ottawa-Glandorf 8 11 8 14 2 - 43
Three-point goals: Kettering Alter 6-10 (Gillis 1, Bazelak 3, Miller 2); Ottawa-Glandorf 4-11 (L. Schroeder 2, Kaufman 2).
Rebounds: Kettering Alter 23 (Miller 8); Ottawa-Glandorf 25 (White 7, Kaufman 7).
Turnovers: Kettering Alter 18, Ottawa-Glandorf 16.