OTTAWA — Year after year, boys state basketball tournament teams can usually be divided into two categories — the ones who have won all or almost all their games and the ones who came on strong at the right time.
Ottawa-Glandorf (19-6), which has won nine of its last 10 games, is one of those teams in the second category. And Portsmouth, the team the Titans will play at 8:30 p.m. Thursday in a Division III state semifinal, is closer to the other end of the spectrum with a 23-2 record and 20 straight wins.
The teams’ rosters are also a study in contrast. Portsmouth starts five seniors and has 12 seniors on its roster. O-G starts four juniors and a freshman and has only three seniors on its roster.
Countless experienced teams have been tripped up at state and teams have won state titles with almost double figures loss totals. But Portsmouth coach Eugene Collins is counting on experience to help his team when it makes its second consecutive trip to state.
The Trojans lost 58-47 to Cleveland Central Catholic in a Division III state semifinal and have three starters back from that team.
“Being there before, all the things you have to go through off the court, our kids will certainly be better prepared for that. I’ll be better prepared for that,” Collins said.
“Last year the kids were just in awe about being there. A year later, making that run again, I think we’re better focused and the kids would like to put themselves in a situation where we could win a title. With our group being a veteran group and being through some battles this year, we won’t be as intimidated playing at the Schott,” he said.
Dion McKinley, a 6-foot, 5-inch post player, leads Portsmouth’s scoring at 19.5 points and 10.1 rebounds a game. Wayne Evans a 6-2 junior guard averages 14.7 points a game, and Zaide Whitley, a 6-1 senior guard, is scoring 7.8 points a game.
“It’s been a special group. This group has been together since the fourth or fifth grade. We’re probably the only team in the United States with 12 seniors on the team. Our three leaders are obviously Evans, Whitley and McKinley. But once you sub the other guys in, we don’t look all that different,” Collins said.
Ottawa-Glandorf coach Tyson McGlaughlin said Portsmouth’s aggressiveness is one of the things that stands out for him.
“They play extremely hard. They get their hands on a lot of balls and that is due to their aggressive nature,” he said. “They have good size in the post. McKinney can score in a variety of ways, so we’re going to have to make sure we have a game plan that limits his touches, hopefully.
“But we try to focus our guys on what we need to do and try to coach them on what it’s going to take for us to be successful.”
T.J. Metzger (11.6 points a game) and Michael Rosebrock (11.2) are Ottawa-Glandorf’s leading scorers. The other starters are 6-6 freshman Noah Bramlage (6.1), Caleb Siefker (4.6) and Matthew Kaufman (3.1).
But the Titans also typically bring five or six players off the bench. They used 11 players in a 44-38 regional championship game win over Lima Central Catholic.
McGlaughlin is in his first season at Ottawa-Glandorf’s head coach. He inherited a team that had only one starter back from a team that went to the regional last season and had to adjust to some changes he made, especially on defense. And they played without Metzger for the first two games of the season after he suffered a high ankle sprain in preseason practice.
“As the season progressed, our team kind of really bought into what we were trying to do and we got better week in and week out,” McGlaughlin said.
This is the sixth time an Ottawa-Glandorf team has played in the boys state basketball tournament. O-G won the Division III title in 2008, won the Division II title in 2004 and was D-II runner-up in 1996. The Titans were semifinalists in 1977 and 1978.
Portsmouth is playing in its 14th state tournament, which is second only to Canton McKinley’s 28 trips to state.
DIVISION III STARTING LINEUPSSTATE SEMIFINALSOTTAWA-GLANDORF (19-6)Final AP ranking: Not rankedState appearances: 2012, 2008 (1st), 2004 (1st), 1996 (2nd), 1978, 1977Points (for/against) 53.8/46.0F -- Michael Rosebrock (6-4, Jr.), 11.2 ppgG -- T.J. Metzger (6-1, Jr.) 11.6 ppgC -- Noah Bramlage (6-6, Fr.) 6.1 ppgG -- Matthew Kaufman (5-10, Jr.) 3.1 ppgG -- Caleb Siefker (6-3, Jr.) 4.6 ppg
PORTSMOUTH (23-2)Final AP ranking: 6thState appearances: 2012, 2011, 1990 (2nd), 1988 (1st), , 1980 (2nd), 1978 (1st), 1961 (1st), 1941, 1939, 1934 (2nd), 1931 (1st), 1929, 1926, 1925.Points (for/against) 62.4/47.8G -- Troy Opperman (6-0, Sr.) 6.5 ppgG -- Alex Meyer (6-2, Jr.) 13.6 ppgG -- Trey Elchert (5-9, Jr.) 7.8 ppgF -- Andy Hoying (6-5, Sr.) 16 ppgC -- Eric Ryder (6-5, Jr.) 5.8 ppg
BEDFORD CHANEL (21-3)Final AP ranking: 7thState appearances: 2012, 2010, 2008, 2003, 1999 (1st), 1996, 1991Points (for/against) 67.72/49.8G -- Tommie Williams (5-6, Sr.) 8.5 ppgG -- Damon Jones (6-0, Sr.) 15.1 ppgF -- Kyree Brewer (6-5, Sr.) 9.0 ppgF -- Dan Bailey (6-2, Jr.) 4.8 ppgF -- Ishmael Hargrove (6-4, Soph.) 7.8 ppg
SUMMIT COUNTRY DAY (24-1)Final AP ranking: 3rdState appearances: 2012, 1980 (1st), 1979.Points (for/against) 58.6/35.8G -- Kevin Johnson (6-2, Sr.) 14.l ppgG -- Antonio Woods (5-11, Soph.) 11.0 ppgG -- Jake Rawlings (6-0, Jr.), not availableF -- Mike Barwick (6-0, Soph.) 6.3 ppgC -- Holden Hertzel (6-5, Sr.) 10.4 ppg
Ottawa-Glandorf boxes up Archbold for district banner