BY MICHAEL BURWELL
OTTAWA — Ottawa-Glandorf’s boys basketball team completed the “Liberty” weekend sweep on Saturday.
And the Titans did it with another lights-out shooting performance.
O-G shot a blistering 69 percent from the floor and had five players score in double figures as the Titans rolled past Liberty-Benton 98-37 in a nonleague game at O-G High School.
“The thing that I really like about it is we had multiple guys doing the scoring, and that’s the key to our success is it’s not just one guy,” O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said after the Titans improved to 3-0. “I think every single game this year, three games, we’ve had at least four guys in double figures.
“From that aspect, we’re getting contributions from a lot of guys. It’s a fun style to play. Our guys, they enjoy seeing each other succeed.”
The Titans’ offensive outburst came a night after beating Liberty Center 95-62.
The 95 and 98 points O-G scored were the most in a game since March 1, 2013 when the Titans beat Fairview 100-26 in a Division III tournament game.
Junior point guard Owen Hiegel led the Titans with 23 points, 18 in the first half as the Titans raced to a 51-18 lead.
Jake Dible, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, added 16 points and a game-high nine rebounds while Richie Knowlton chipped in 16 points off the bench. Bryce Schroeder (13 points) and Carter Heringhaus (12) also scored in double digits for O-G.
Overall, the Titans converted 40 of 58 from shots the floor, including 53 percent (10 of 19) from 3-point range, and made 8 of 10 free throws.
“We shot the ball really well, and we shot really good shots,” McGlaughlin said. “We got in a little rhythm there and we were able to get some turnovers and turn those turnovers into points.”
Hiegel, Heringhaus and Schroeder each drained a 3-pointer in a 54-second span to open up an 18-6 O-G lead with 3:59 left in the first quarter.
“I thought we had a good game plan that I thought could give us a chance going in,” L-B coach Ben Gerken said, “and then when they made almost every one of their shots, I think they were 6 of 7 to start the game from three, you’ve dug a hole that it’s hard to come back from.”
L-B pulled to within 23-13 late in the first quarter after Austin May drained a 3-pointer. The 6-3 senior had all 13 L-B points in the first quarter, 16 of the Eagles’ 18 in the first half and finished with 20 points.
The Titans’ offense, though, showed no signs of slowing down.
O-G went on a 20-0 run over a four-minute span from late in the first quarter to the second. Hiegel had nine points during the run, including a 3-point play, and had three assists; Knowlton scored seven points on a pair of transition buckets and a 3-pointer; and Dible knocked down a pair of jumpers.
“A couple things that I just need to make sure our kids understand is it starts at the defensive end,” Gerken said. “Regardless of how we play offensively, we have to be ready to guard and I don’t think we were ready to guard and contest shots as well as we could tonight.”
L-B, playing in its season opener after the football team’s run to the Division VI state semifinals postponed its first two games, shot just 30 percent (13 of 44) from the floor and 38 percent (5 of 13) from the free-throw line.
O-G’s full-court pressure defense helped force 18 turnovers and led to scoring opportunities in transition.
“It’s something that we’ve been really working hard on. We talked about this last year that this was a style that we wanted to go to, and the guys have really adapted to it,” McGlaughlin said. “We got guys that really fit it because we got some good quickness up front, and we’ve got some good length, so that’s a combination when things are going right, we can do some damage.”
O-G won the rebounding battle 34-20, with Hiegel adding six boards and Aaron Rieman five off the bench. Ethan White, who sat most of the first half due to foul trouble, scored all eight of his points in the third quarter.
Will Poling, who along with May were among several L-B players who were key parts of the Eagles’ football playoff run, added nine points. Michael Kotey and Cameron Schroeder both had a team-high four rebounds.
Gerken said he thinks this game could be a learning experience to help them down the road.
“What I told the team, we’re going to see the type of team we are. In your life, you’re going to be dealt a lot of adversity and how you respond to it tells you a lot about your character,” Gerken said. “I think we have a team that’s going to respond from this. I really do think that our kids will work hard and it will be a motivating factor.”
Kotey 2-0–4, Poling 2-3–9, May 7-2–20, Dillon 1-0–2, Lasiter 1-0–2. TOTALS: 13-44 5-13 — 37.
Fortman 1-0–2, Hiegel 9-3–23, Duling 2-0–4, Heringhaus 5-0–12, Schroeder 5-0–13, White 2-3–8, Dible 7-2–16, Knowlton 7-0–16, Siefker 2-0–4. TOTALS: 40-58 8-10 — 98.
Liberty-Benton 13 5 9 10 — 37
Ottawa-Glandorf 27 24 29 18 — 98
3-Point GOALS: Liberty-Benton 6-21 (May 4, Poling 2); Ottawa-Glandorf 10-19 (Schroeder 3, Hiegel, Heringhaus & Knowlton 2, White 1).
rebounds: Liberty-Benton 20 (Kotey & Schroeder 4); Ottawa-Glandorf 34 (Dible 9).
turnovers: Liberty-Benton 18, Ottawa-Glandorf 8.
junior varsity: Ottawa-Glandorf, 77-36.
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