By BRANDON SHRIDER
LIMA — At this time of the year, some schools are celebrating district titles like they were state championships.
Ottawa-Glandorf’s boys basketball players wasn’t dancing or pulling out the streamers after Saturday’s 87-67 Division III district championship win over Coldwater at Lima Senior High School.
“If you look at them at the end of the game, they weren’t real happy,” O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said of his team that won its seventh district crown in the past eight years.
“They didn’t finish the game the way they wanted to, and I think that tells you a lot about the kids we have right now. They’re very hungry and their expectations are very high.”
O-G (24-1) will play Archbold, a 74-65 winner over state-ranked Cardinal Stritch Saturday, in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center.
The Titans defeated Archbold (21-3) 70-65 in a regular-season game on Dec. 23.
Coldwater, playing in its first district championship game since it beat O-G for the title in 2009, ended its season at 14-12.
The lone season in the past eight years that O-G did not win a district crown was a year ago when the then fifth-ranked Titans were upset in a district semifinal. The loss snapped a streak of nine consecutive district championship appearances.
The Titans, Division III’s No.3-ranked team in the final Associated Press poll, came out of the gates as if they already had reservations at the Stroh Center.
Jake Dible knocked down a mid-range jumper 11 seconds in. Then fellow starters Owen Hiegel and Bryce Schroeder, who came off the bench in the district semifinal win over Paulding, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Titans ahead 8-0 just 1:22 into the game. O-G benefitted from four turnovers in the first two minutes.
“Bryce hit a couple early and then ‘O’ got in a real rhythm there and showed why he’s one of the best players in the area,” McGlaughlin said of Hiegel, his all-Western Buckeye League first-team point guard.
Later in the quarter, Hiegel hit 3s on consecutive possessions to give O-G a 29-9 lead with 2:21 to play in a first quarter in which he finished with 13 points.
“We just come in, play hard, and try to get it going right away. That way it carries throughout the whole game,” said Hiegel, who finished with 18 points and five steals.
“I had to get going. That was a rough two weeks,” he said, citing a sprained ankle that forced him to miss the team’s sectional title game.
Schroeder added 15 points, including a team-high four 3s, and Dible scored nine points.
The Titans opened the second quarter just as strongly, using a 15-2 run to claim their largest lead of the game. O-G led 48-16 with 4:38 left in the half.
Jay Kaufman, who tallied a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double, sparked the run by muscling through the Cavaliers’ defense for a conventional 3-point play. Ethan White, who scored a team-high 19 points, followed with one of his two 3s and a pair of layups. Hiegel capped the run with his lone bucket of the quarter.
“Whitey’s a high-energy guy,” McLaughlin said. “He’s at the front of that press. He’s long, he’s athletic, he’s got good instincts. He made a lot of good plays.
“He was one of those guys that kind of spearheaded that run.”
The Cavaliers made a run of their own.
Two minutes into the second half, Coldwater outworked O-G and engineered a 12-2 run to cut the deficit to 63-43.
Leading the stretch was 6-foot-3 senior forward Derek Albers, who led all players in points (21) and rebounds (11). He started the run with an offensive rebound, which led to a pair of free throws, and added an and-one play and another layup in scoring seven of the Cavs’ 12 points.
That prompted McGlaughlin to burn a timeout.
“They continued to battle, scratch and claw, and made that second half a little bit more entertaining than we needed it to be,” McGlaughlin said.
“They were playing harder than us, and they were getting offensive rebounds.
“And on the offensive end, we were just kind of passing and chucking it up there and we weren’t attacking them. We called the timeout and made it a real point of emphasis to get the ball in the middle of the floor and attack their pressure.”
The Titans did just that, scored the first three points out of the timeout and played even with the Cavaliers the rest of the way.
Marcus Bruns, a Midwest Athletic Conference first-team pick, scored 15 points for Coldwater and Cole Frilling scored 16.
Albers 8-5–21, Frilling 6-3–16, Bruns 3-6–15, J. Wenning 1-0–3, Broering 1-0–3, Wolters 1-0–3, B. Wenning 1-0–2, Schwieterman 1-0–2, Balster 1-0–2. TOTALS: 23-46 14-16 — 67.
White 8-1–19, Hiegel 7-1–18, Kaufman 5-5–16, Schroeder 5-1–15, Dible 4-0–9, Heringhaus 1-2–4, Duling 1-1–3, Knowlton 1-0–3. TOTALS: 32-60 11-18 — 87.
Coldwater 14 15 19 19 — 67
Ottawa-Glandorf 33 20 19 15 — 87
3-POINT GOALS: Coldwater 7-19 (Bruns 3, Frilling, J. Wenning, Broering & Wolters 1); Ottawa-Glandorf 12-25 (Schroeder 4, Hiegel 3, White 2, Kaufman, Dible & Knowlton 1).
REBOUNDS: Coldwater 25 (Albers 11); Ottawa-Glandorf 28 (Kaufman 10).
TURNOVERS: Coldwater 20, Ottawa-Glandorf 9.