By Kevin Wannemacher
NAPOLEON - It definitely wasn't the way Ottawa Glandorf fans or head coach Tyson McGlaughlin would have scripted it. But the end result was satisfactory.
The Titans struggled all night long offensively but managed to make just enough shots to nip Evergreen 49-46 in Division III district semi-final action at Napoleon High School Thursday evening.
The blue and gold hit just 18 of 50 shots from the field (36 percent) and converted only 12 of 22 free throws (55 percent) but came up with crucial shots at key times.
Michael Rosebrock scored 13 points to pace the Titans while T.J. Metzger added a dozen markers and Noah Bramlage chipped in 11.
Ottawa Glandorf also took advantage of a 32-24 rebounding advantage, led by Bramlage with eight boards and Rosebrock with seven.
"It was a struggle tonight," noted McGlaughlin. "We didn't shoot the ball extremely well and I didn't think we played as well as were capable of. But you also have to give Evergreen a lot of credit. Those kids played their hearts out tonight."
Ottawa Glandorf, now 21-3 on the season, will take on Tinora (20-5) in the Division III district championship on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. The Rams got past Archbold (17-5) 55-50 in the second semifinal Thursday night. Evergreen closes its season at 17-7.
The Titans led 19-14 after one quarter, using eight points from Bramlage to ignite the offense. Bramlage ignited the Ottawa Glandorf crowd and gave the Titans their first lead of the night with a slam dunk that made it 8-6.
However, quarter number two was one to forget for the Titans.
Ottawa Glandorf made only 2 of 11 shots in the stanza, including missing four three-point attempts, as Evergreen rallied.
A bucket by the Vikings' Max Oswald and a foul shot from Cory Mossing pulled the green and gold within 19-17 before consecutive buckets from Rosebrock and Metzger put the Titans on top 23-17.
Metzger's bucket, though, would be the final Ottawa Glandorf points of the half. Evergreen closed the first half on a 9-0 run to take a 26-23 halftime advantage.
"We didn't make shots there in the second quarter and they did a good job of taking advantage of scoring opportunities," continued the Titan mentor.
After the Vikings widened their lead to 30-23 on two Mossing foul shots, the rest of the third quarter belonged to the Titans.
Rosebrock picked up five points in the period with Bramlage, Caleb Siefker, Jacob Leopold and Matthew Kaufman all added two markers each to give Ottawa Glandorf a 36-34 advantage entering the final period.
"Two kids who I thought stepped up for us tonight were Caleb Siefker and Jacob Leopold," added the Titan head coach. "They came in and got some big points for us and just did a good job of stepping up and taking a leadership role tonight."
With the game tied at 38-38 early in the fourth quarter, a bucket by Siefker put the Titans in front for good with 5:46 remaining.
A pair of Metzger foul shots widened the advantage to 42-38 with 4:18 on the clock before Metzger picked up a basket to make it 45-38 at the 3:37 mark.
Two Matt Brighton charity tosses trimmed the lead to 45-40 and a Logan Pinkelman brought the Vikings within 45-42 at the 1:40 mark.
After a Titan turnover, two Mossing free throws brought Evergreen within 45-44 with 1:02 on the clock.
Bramlage hit one of two foul shots to push the margin to 46-44 before a Metzger charity toss widened the lead to 47-44. Following a Viking turnover, Metzger again hit one of two foul shots to widen the lead to 48-44 with eight ticks left.
Mossing added a late basket with two seconds remaining to get the Vikings within 48-46. After an Evergreen timeout, Metzger rounded out the scoring with a free throw to set the final margin at 49-46. A late running trey attempt by Brighton was off the mark as the Titans held on for the win.
"These guys are battlers," concluded McGlaughlin. "This is a great group of seniors and they know how to play through pressure and how to react. They have played a schedule which has been very challenging and they have made tournament runs in basketball and other sports as well. They know to handle themselves in these types of situations. It's a group of kids that knows how to go about their business and how to conduct their actions."
Kaufman (four), Siefker (four), Leopold (three) and Alex Westrick (two) completed the Titan scoring.