By MICHAEL BURWELL
COLUMBUS — The amount of energy Ottawa-Glandorf used to force overtime with Kettering Archbishop Alter in Thursday’s Division II state semifinal said a lot about the Titans.
But in the extra session, the Titans just ran out of gas.
O-G used a 14-4 fourth-quarter advantage to send the game to overtime, but Alter used a 9-2 advantage in the extra frame to end the Titans’ season with a 50-43 win at Value City Arena in Columbus.
“That really shows the resilience we have in our team,” O-G junior forward Kadie Hempfling said. I couldn’t be any prouder coming back (in the) fourth quarter, we could have easily folded like last year but I’m glad I was actually able to play the full game this year.
“We just fell a little short but that’s ok.”
O-G, the No. 1 team in the final Division II Associated Press poll, finished 27-1. It was the second straight year that the Titans’ season ended with a loss to Alter, as O-G lost to the Knights 74-48 in last year’s Division II state final.
Alter (27-2), the two-time defending state champions and the No. 2 team in the AP poll, advanced to its fourth straight title game. The Knights will take on Shaker Height Hathaway Brown (18-10) at 10:45 a.m. Saturday.
Hathaway Brown beat Washington Court House Miami Trace 48-40 in the second semifinal on Thursday.
O-G’s Lexi Schroeder, a 5-foot-9 senior, had the main task of guarding Alter’s Braxtin Miller, a 5-11 senior who scored 33 points against the Titans a year ago. Schroeder, along with Hempfling, held Miller to 15 points on just 4 of 13 shooting.
“The goal was to put pressure on Braxtin and keep her from scoring,” Schroeder said. “But she’s going to get her points, and I knew that, but I felt like I gave it my all on my defense.”
Schroeder’s effort on offense in the fourth quarter, however, helped the Titans get back in the game.
She scored eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer off Kylie White’s pass with 3:46 left, to cap a 9-2 O-G run to open the fourth quarter.
After Miller’s bucket, White found Hempfling on a bounce pass for 2 in the paint to pull O-G within 41-38 with 2:12 left.
Schroeder tied the game with a 3-pointer off Erin Kaufman’s pass with 58 seconds left.
“I don’t really know where that energy came from,” Schroeder said of her offensive output in the fourth.
“I thought Lexi was going to go into a coma in between (the fourth quarter and overtime), she just looked up like I can’t breathe,” O-G coach Troy Yant said. “I wish I could say we could rotate somebody but she was doing as good a job as we could get.”
O-G forced a turnover in the final seconds, and Kaufman’s desperation shot from half court at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
The Titans took the lead in overtime with 3:17 left after Lexi Schroeder found Ashley Schroeder for a basket.
Those were the only points the Titans would score the rest of the game.
Miller had a bucket in the paint with 2:52 left, and on the ensuing inbound pass, the Knights stole the ball and Lauren Lush scored to give the Knights the lead.
“In the fourth quarter, I thought they were very physical and kind of pushed us around a little bit,” Alter co-coach Christina Hart said. “But what I really loved about our kids was that they stayed together the whole time. There was no finger-pointing in the huddles, there was just ‘come on, we can do this, we’ve got to stay together,’ especially at the end of regulation.
“Even though Ottawa-Glandorf scored the first basket of overtime, our kids didn’t’ hang their heads.”
O-G had three turnovers in overtime and was just 1 of 5 from the floor.
“They could see that we were dragging,” Yant said. “We made a lot of mental mistakes, I think we had three turnovers under their bucket (in the game) just bringing the ball inbounds that all capitalized for six points.
“But when you’re tired and the girls make a mental mistake, you can’t punish them. They were giving everything they had. But we did have a couple of those that were inopportune turnovers that resulted in easy buckets for them.”
Bazelak, who along with Miller will play for Division I college basketball teams next year, scored a game-high 20 points while adding five rebounds, five assists and five steals.
“I remember last year sitting here and talking about how it was easy because I just had to pass Braxtin the ball, I had a bunch of assists. But today, they were guarding Braxtin hard so I knew I had to step up,” Bazelak said.
Alter turned a 19-17 halftime deficit into a double-digit lead in the third with a 20-point quarter, including an 11-0 run in which Bazelak had five points.
“They’re a well-coached team, very disciplined and they kind of swim like sharks in the sea and as soon as they smelled blood, they went after us,” Yant said. “I felt that was kind of the difference again in the third quarter.”
Hempfling, who left last year’s game against Alter late in the third quarter after dislocating her pinky finger, notched team-highs of 15 points and five assists while adding four rebounds and three steals.
Kaufman, a 5-5 sophomore, had eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter as the two teams exchanged the lead seven times. She added seven rebounds and four steals.
White added six points and seven boards as well. The 1,000-point scorer is one of four seniors on O-G who have gone 101-10 in their career with three straight state tournament appearances (2015 Division III runner-up).
The Titans shot 42 percent (19 of 45) from the floor, including 4 of 11 from 3-point range, but were just 1 of 4 at the free throw line compared to Alter’s 8 of 11. O-G had a 25-23 rebounding advantage and forced 18 turnovers while committing 16.
The Knights shot 60 percent (6 of 10) from 3-point range and 50 percent (18 of 36) overall. Bazelak was 7 of 10 shooting and hit all three of her 3-point attempts.
Miller had eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Overall, the Knights had 10 steals.
“They’re so lengthy on defense and they really see where we pass the ball and that’s normally open, but then they’re there,” Hempfling said. “We always had to use ball fakes or back doors and they got a few key turnovers off of that, which I think they put into buckets which really hurt us a lot.”
KETTERING ARCHBISHOP ALTER (27-2)
Hoeflinger 1-3 0-0 2, Lush 3-4 0-0 6, Gillis 3-5 0-1 7, Bazelak 7-10 3-4 20, Miller 4-13 5-6 15, Priest 0-0 0-0 0, Long 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18-36 8-11–50.
L. Schroeder 5-7 0-0 12, Hempfling 7-12 1-2 15, White 3-9 0-2 6, A. Schroeder 1-4 0-0 2, Kaufman 3-11 0-0 8, Johnson 0-2 0-0 0, Sutter 0-0 0-0 0, Schimmoeller 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 19-45 1-4–43.
Kettering Archbishop Alter 10 7 20 4 9 — 50
Ottawa-Glandorf 8 11 8 14 2 — 43
3-POINT GOALS: Kettering Archbishop Alter 6-10 (Gillis 1-2, Bazelak 3-3, Miller 2-4, Long 0-1); Ottawa-Glandorf 4-11 (L. Schroeder 2-3, Hempfling 0-1, A. Schroeder 0-1, Kaufman 2-6).
REBOUNDS: Kettering Archbishop Alter 23 (Miller 8, Bazelak 5, Gillis 4); Ottawa-Glandorf 25 (White & Kaufman 7, Hempfling 4).
TURNOVERS: Kettering Archbishop Alter 18, Ottawa-Glandorf 16.
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