ADA — Throughout the season, Ottawa-Glandorf has made life miserable on other basketball teams using their superiority inside.
Wednesday evening in the Division II district semi-finals at Ohio Northern University, Elida took that advantage away from the Titans. Using a collasping defense on O-G big men Jay Kaufman and Jake Dible, the Titans were unable to get the ball inside for easy points. And with the Bulldogs controlling the pace of the game overall, they used that to their advantage in handing the Titans a 46-41 setback at the King Horn Center.
The win advances Elida (15-9) to the district finals Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. against Upper Sandusky (25-0). The Titans saw their season come to an end at 21-3.
“It was one of those nights,” O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. “Elida did a good job of controlling the tempo especially defensively. Defensively they did a good job of being physcal against us and taking us out of our comfort zone. We never got into a rhythm. There's always that one game in a season where nothing goes right right and you take one on the chin. We went 23 games and didn't have that game. Unfortunately, tonight, we had that game where we laid that egg. There's no other way to say it.”
In nearly all their wins this season, the Titans had that one run that gave them the momentum they needed to put an opponent away. While they tried to establish that run Wednesday evening, the Bulldogs answered all of their challenges.
A Bryce Schroeder three-pointer tied the score at 7-7 in the opening quarter before Elida closed the opening eight minutes with a 9-2 run for a 16-9 lead. The Titans never led in the opening half as they trailed 22-20 at the break after a basket by Dible. Dible managed to score eight points in the first half and Schroeder also had eight points as Elida was able to shutout Kaufman, the Western Buckeye League Player of the Year, in the first half.
Of the Bulldogs 22 first half points, 16 of them came inside against the taller Titan squad.
“Jay is a great player and I knew I had to bring it today,” Elida's Baylen Stinson said. “ Our plan was that every they threw it to the post we had to double down and that helped me a lot in guarding him. I took the approach that I had to stand my ground and not let him score.”
“When we played poorly at the end of the season we did not have any of that. It was all perimeter oriented,” Elida coach Denny Thompson said of his teams play inside. “We broke some stuff down, showed them and talked about it. We have a saying team over self and we did not have that at the end of the season. I felt we got that back and we are on the same page now.”
Both teams struggled offensively to start the third quarter as a Schroeder three-pointer gave O-G their first lead at 23-22 with 5:17 left in the quarter before a Kaufman free throw a minute later pushed their lead to two points. Elida answered back with a four point run to go up 26-24 before Kaufman stepped out and knocked down a three-pointer with 2:38 left in the quarter for a 27-26 O-G lead. An Isaac McAdams basket returned the lead to Elida heading to the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, O-G tied the game at 30-30 on an Owen Hiegel basket. The Bulldogs had a 35-32 lead before the Titans went on a 5-0 run to take a 37-35 lead on a three point play by Kaufman before the Bulldogs tied the game at 37-37 on a Daniel Unruh basket with 1:21 left.
O-G played for the final shot, but saw a short jumper by Hiegel rim out sending the game to overtime.
In the extra session, Unruh and Hiegel traded baskets nearly a minute apart to keep the game tied. Elida then used a 5-0 run to take a 44-39 lead with 39 second left. Hiegel knocked down two free throws with 22 seconds to pull O-G within three points before a Stinson layup sealed the win.
“We never made that run, we never got the ball into the post like we wanted and when we did catch the ball in the post they did a real good job of collapsing,” McGlaughlin said. “You have to give Elida a ton of credit. They did what we wanted to. They were able to get the ball to spots where they were effective and they capitalized. And that's what you need to do in the tournament.
“As poorly as we played the first half we were only down two points. We were able to get the lead, but we were never able to get that true run that kinds of sparks you and catapults you to a victory. Sometimes it doesn't bounce your way.”
Stinson led the Bulldogs with 16 points and McAdams finished with 11. Donte Johnson pulled down nine rebounds for Elida, who outrebounded the Titans 32-31.
Schroeder led the Titans with 11 points, while Dible and Hiegel both had 10 points. Kaufman pulled down 14 rebounds in the game.