State Girls Basketball: O-G seniors are leaving a lasting legacy

Ottawa-Glandorf senior Kylie White, left, drives to the basket against Kettering Alter defender Emily Long during Saturday’s Division II state semifinals at Value City Arena. The Titans won an amazing 101 games during the last four seasons. (Photo by Kent Tarbox)

Ottawa-Glandorf senior Kylie White, left, drives to the basket against Kettering Alter defender Emily Long during Saturday’s Division II state semifinals at Value City Arena. The Titans won an amazing 101 games during the last four seasons. (Photo by Kent Tarbox)

By ANDY WOLF
STAFF WRITER

COLUMBUS — More than 100 wins, 101 to be exact, and three state tournament appearances.

Ottawa-Glandorf’s senior girls basketball class of four has accomplished more than most players could dream of.

While no season ended with a state championship, the positives of the past four years have strongly outweighed the heartbreak of coming up short.

“It’ll go down as the greatest four-year time we’ve had at O-G,” Titans coach Troy Yant said.

The 101 wins, after all, are the most in school history in a span of four years, eclipsing the mark of 90 wins from last year’s team.

The Titans lost just 10 games in the past four years — three coming at the state level.

The last two losses came to Kettering Archbishop Alter, first in the 2016 Division II state finals (74-48) and most recently in Thursday’s semifinals, 50-43 in overtime.

“I couldn’t ask for a better senior year,” 5-foot-9 senior forward Lexi Schroeder said. “Honestly, the past four years have been great.

“I’m very blessed and thankful for everyone who has helped me, all my teammates and my coaches.”

Schroeder and Kylie White each played pivotal roles as sophomores before becoming starters as juniors and seniors.

Devon Warnecke and Courtney Bockrath thrived in spots as role players.

Schroeder scored 12 points for the Titans on Thursday, sinking two clutch 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

White, a 5-foot-9 post player, had six points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals in her final game.

She scored 1,056 points in her career, ending up third on the all-time girls scoring list at O-G.

Her mother Sandy (Buddelmeyer) White sits just ahead of her in second place with 1,059 points (1986-1989).

“Coming into the program as a freshman, I did not think I would get to this point today that I’m at,” White said. “I cried a lot at practice, wasn’t very mentally strong.

“Now, looking back, all of those practices made me a good leader. It made me the person I am today.”

White is a two-time first-team all-Western Buckeye Conference selection and was a second-teamer as a sophomore.

She led O-G in scoring this season at 14.8 points per game and shared the WBL Player of the Year award with teammate and 5-9 junior Kadie Hempfling.

White said her on-court improvements came mostly in her role as an undersized but reliable post defender.

Schroeder, meanwhile, said she came into the program primarily as a defensive player and had to work to develop her offensive game.

“I came in as a freshman and sophomore and loved playing defense,” Schroeder said. “I thought that’s what I excelled in. I kept working on that.

“Mr. Yant kept telling me I needed to get more involved on offense, so I worked on that. It got me to where I am.”

That work entailed moving the ball in practice and making sure she squared up with the bucket, drove and looked for her shot.

Schroeder averaged 8 points as a senior while shooting 59 percent from the floor.

She said she noticed the improvements by her rising level of confidence. At the same time, she said she learned how to grow as a leader.

Her older sister, Danielle, started as a senior on the 2015 team that lost to Versailles 49-46 in the Division III state finals.

“I’ve followed a lot of great leaders,” Lexi said. “I’ve looked up to them and grew into a leader like (Danielle) did.”

Yant described this year’s senior class as “impossible to replace.” But year after year, the Titans have replaced strong senior players and kept on ticking.

“It’s a true testament to the senior leadership that we’ve been down here three years,” Yant said. “We weren’t carried by one player for three years. Every girl had to step up.”

Power programs aren’t built in a year. Hoping to keep it going are three underclassman starters in sophomores Ashley Schroeder (3.4 ppg) and Erin Kaufman (9.1 ppg), and Hempfling.

Hempfling wrapped up an impressive junior year in which she averaged 12.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists with 115 steals. She was a first-team all-Ohio selection by the Associated Press.

Junior Carri Johnson, sophomore Paige Sutter and freshman Brianna Schimmoeller combined for 11 minutes off the bench Thursday and will be back.

“Lexi and Kylie really took command (this year). We’ll continue that,” Yant said. “I think they built something. They built something younger girls can rely on and call home, call tradition.
The program now has a movement.”

The goal for the program will remain the same — one White thinks next year’s bunch can achieve.

“They’re going to win state,” White said with confidence. “They’re going to do it. I believe in them. They need to believe in themselves.”

MORE: State Girls Basketball: Overtime heartbreak for O-G

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