By Charlie Warnimont
Sentinel Sports Editor
ELIDA -Everyone knows Dakota Mathias is going to get his points.
But when teams try to take him out of the offense, the Bulldogs need other players to step up. That's what the Bulldogs got Friday night as they hosted Ottawa-Glandorf in a battle of Western Buckeye League unbeatens.
Elida received a number of contributions throughout the lineup as the Bulldogs knocked O-G from the ranks of unbeaten in the WBL with a 71-64 win at The Union Bank Court inside the Elida Fieldhouse.
The win moves the Bulldogs to 6-0 in the league and 11-7 overall as they are tied with Bath for the top spot in the WBL. O-G slipped to 5-1 in the league and 14-2 overall.
Mathias had another big night for the Bulldogs tossing in 30 points. But he got plenty of help as Louis Gray scored 13, Aric Thompson had nine, while Austin Allemeier and Max Stambaugh both had seven points.
"This is what is going to make a difference for the rest of our season is those guys making shots," Elida coach Denny Thompson said. "Dakota has done a nice job of taking on double teams and a couple of possessions there it looked like our practice because that is what we have been working on. Tonight it started to pay dividends as people started knocking down shots. I can't say enough about our effort."
The help arrived early, and late, for the Bulldogs. While Mathias had 10 points for the Bulldogs in the opening quarter, Gray had four first quarter points, while Stambaugh stepped up and hit a three-pointer that had Elida leading 16-10. The Titans went on a 7-0 run as TJ Metzger scored five straight points and Noah Bramlage knocked down a jumper that gave O-G their only lead of the night at 17-16. A Mathias three-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 19-17 lead going to the second quarter.
Elida threatened to pull away from O-G in the second quarter as they took a 28-20 lead on two free throws by Austin Allemeier and a basket by Stambaugh. The Titans offense struggled in the second quarter against the Bulldogs 3-2 zone and the fact they played seven minutes of the quarter without senior forward Michael Rosebrock, three fouls, and four minutes of the quarter without center Noah Bramlage, two fouls.
Through five and a half minutes of the quarter the Titans had just three points before Caleb Siefker found an opening and knocked down a three-pointer. The Bulldogs took a seven point lead into halftime after Allemeier hit two free throws after Kaufman hit a three-pointer for O-G.
"We were planning on switching up defenses," Thompson said of the zone. "We thought we would use some 2-3 as well, but we felt good about what we were doing in the glorified triangle and two. We wanted Kaufman to be a scorer. That's who we wanted to be taking shots. The way the game went really didn't allow us to get away from it too much and allowed us to rebound and get bodies on their bigger guys. And we guarded their two perimeter players that we were worried about (Metzger and Siefker)."
While Elida led much of the opening half, the Titans threatened to change that in the third quarter. Metzger scored the first four points of the second half to pull O-G within three-points. The Bulldogs never lost the lead despite O-G pulling within 39-38 on a Bramlage jumper. The Titans had two chances to take the lead, but couldn't knock down a shot. Elida then went on a 7-0 run as Gray knocked down a three-pointer, Thompson a mid-range jumper and Mathias two free throws for a 46-38 lead. The Bulldogs were outscored 7-2 to end the quarter as they took a three point lead to the final eight minutes.
"Every time we had the momentum headed in our direction, we had three or four possessions where we could have taken the lead, we never did," O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. "I thought we rushed a little bit. They kind of played some junk defenses that make you think and I think our guys thought a little too much. For whatever reason we were a little sloppy, just careless tonight and when you play a good team you can't do those things."
While O-G made a run at the Bulldogs in the third quarter, Elida's lead in the fourth quarter never dipped below that three point margin. Elida took a 10 point lead on a three point play by Mathias and two free throws from the junior. Free throws were an important part of the Bulldog offense in the final quarter as O-G put them at the line in an effort to get back in the game.
The Bulldogs responded by hitting 11 straight charity tosses at one point as they were 17-of-19 at the line in the quarter. For the game Elida was 28-of-31 at the line, while O-G attempted just nine free throws for the game (making five). After the Bulldogs took a 12 point lead, O-G pulled within five on a three-pointer by Metzger with 19.2 seconds left. That would be as close as they would come.
Metzger led the Titans with 24 points and Bramlage finished with 14. Westrick had six rebounds for O-G.
Mathias had six rebounds and six assists for the Bulldogs along with a steal and two blocked shots.
Ottawa-Glandorf ran away from the Bulldogs in the junior varsity game 71-39.
* * *
Ottawa-Glandorf 26-59 5-9 71: TJ Metzger 9-3-24; Noah Bramlage 6-2-14; Michael Rosebrock 4-0-8; Matt Kaufman 2-0-6; Caleb Siefker 2-0-5; Alex Westrick 2-0-4; Eric Beckman 1-0-3; Jaylen Von Sossan 0-0-0; Jacob Leopold 0-0-0; Cody Alt 0-0-0; Alex Schroeder 0-0-0.
Elida 18-42 28-31 71: Dakota Mathias 9-9-30: Louis Gray 3-5-13; Aric Thompson 3-3-9; Austin Allemeier 0-7-7; max Stambaugh 2-2-7; Marquevious Wilson 1-2-5; Trent Long 0-0-0.
Ottawa-Glandorf 17 9 19 19 - 64
Elida 19 14 15 23 - 71
Junior Varsity: Ottawa-Glandorf 71-39.
Three-point goals: Ottawa-Glandorf 7-24 (Metzger 3, Maufman 2, Siefker 1, Beckman 1); Elida 7-18 (Mathias 3, Gray 2, Stambaugh 1, Wilson 1);
Rebounds: Ottawa-Glandorf 32 (Westrick 6, Metzger 5); Elida 26 (Mathias 6).
Turnovers: Elida 12, Ottawa-Glandorf 16.