By Michael Burwell
COLUMBUS GROVE — A physical, back-and-forth battle between two of the area’s best players was anticipated when Ottawa-Glandorf’s Noah Bramlage and Columbus Grove’s Will Vorhees took the court Saturday night.
Both players are 6-foot-7, have plenty of talent and were neck-and-neck for three quarters.
Bramlage’s three-point play after drawing a foul on Vorhees with 3:52 left gave the Titans a 42-39 lead and sparked an 11-4 run to finish the game as O-G won 50-43 in a nonconference game.
Bramlage scored seven of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, and hit all five of his free throws in the final quarter. Vorhees scored 16 points during the first three quarters, but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter due to the Titans’ physical defense.
“We tried to hit him as much as possible, meaning we always have a body on him,” O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. “Even when he caught the ball, he had one of our guys right in his face. We wanted him to have to put the ball on the floor and not just be able to catch and shoot, or catch and make a post move.”
Although Bramlage and Vorhees are similar in height, their games are different. Vorhees pounded the Titans (9-6) down low in the first half, coming right out of the gate with a bucket in the post to put the Bulldogs ahead 2-0.
Bramlage, on the other hand, worked primarily with his face to the basket, and did most of his scoring from 3-point range, draining four from beyond the arc.
“I think Noah’s starting to come along,” McGlaughlin said. “He’s getting more touches inside, working inside-out, and he stepped up and made some big shots for us tonight.”
After Columbus Grove’s Riley Brubaker made a basket to cut the Titans’ lead to 44-43 with 2:07 left in the game, Bramlage came right back, nailing both ends of a one-and-one to give O-G a 46-43 lead.
With a minute left, Grove’s Joey Warnecke put up a shot in the paint that was blocked, and the Titans recovered the rebound. O-G’s Tyler Zender grabbed an offensive rebound on the ensuing trip down the floor and put it back up for a basket off of a missed free throw by Zach Kuhlman, which gave the Titans a 48-43 lead with 37 seconds left.
A late Columbus Grove turnover with 13 seconds left, in which the Bulldogs threw a deep pass that went out of bounds, caused a discussion amongst the referees. A player from each team went after the ball, but the call went the Titans’ way.
“Just didn’t get it done,” Columbus Grove head coach Ryan Stechschulte said. “I’m kind of speechless.
“Didn’t execute a couple plays at the end, we didn’t make a couple shots. They beat us up well and they made their free throws; so that was kind of the story of the game.”
The Bulldogs (7-6) have hit a tough stretch, losing three straight games by a combined 16 points.
Just as Bramlage and Vorhees were evenly matched for the first three quarters, the game was just as close. Neither team had a lead bigger than five points, and O-G’s Alex Schroeder’s two free throws with 11 seconds left in the game gave the Titans their biggest lead, 50-43.
“When you talk about playing a county game for us, it’s always a big game and our guys understood that,” McGlaughlin said. “We were going to get their best shot and they came out with a lot of intensity.”
The two big guys weren’t the only players stepping up.
Schroeder scored 12 points, including two 3-pointers, and his drive and floater for two big points gave O-G a 37-34 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Brubaker matched Vorhees with 16 points, including four 3-pointers, one of which gave the Bulldogs a 20-18 lead early in the second quarter.
Both teams had 25 rebounds and were 6 of 18 from 3-point range. O-G shot 17 of 44 (39 percent) from the floor and 10 of 12 (83 percent) from the foul line, while Columbus Grove was 14 of 39 (36 percent) and 9 of 10 (90 percent) from the free-throw line.
Schroeder 4-2–12, Trampe-Kindt 2-0–4, Kuhlman 1-0–2, Zender 1-2–4, Blevins 1-0–2, Bramlage 7-6–24, Alt 1-0–2. Totals: 17-44 10-12–50.
Columbus Grove (7-6)
Darbyshire 3-2–8, Brubaker 6-0–16, Warnecke 1-0–3, Vorhees 4-7–16, Grothaus 0-0–0, Clement 0-0–0, Jones 0-0–0, Diller 0-0–0, Neu 0-0–0. Totals: 14-39 9-10–43.
Ottawa-Glandorf 15 10 10 15 — 50
Columbus Grove 13 12 9 9 — 43
3-point goals: Ottawa-Glandorf 6-18 (Bramlage 4, Schroeder 2); Columbus Grove 6-18 (Brubaker 4, Warnecke & Vorhees 1).
Rebounds: Ottawa-Glandorf 25 (Bramlage 6); Columbus Grove 25 (Vorhees 7).
Turnovers: Ottawa-Glandorf 6, Columbus Grove 9.
Junior varsity: Ottawa-Glandorf, 39-26.
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