OTTAWA — It seems like every year the Ottawa-Glandorf’s boys basketball team is making a run through the post-season tournament. After winning the Division III state championship last season, the Titans had to once again reload for the 2013-2014 season.
OG lost 83% of its scoring from a year ago when eight seniors graduated. With only one returning starter this year, the Titans have compiled a record of 15-10 and are once again back in the Division III Regional semifinals. OG will square off against Huron tonight at 8 p.m. at Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center.
The Titans are playing in the regional for the fourth year in a row.
“I think the big thing is that at an early age our kids see the tournament atmosphere with the success we’ve had in the years past,” OG coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. “When these guys are in fourth or fifth grade they’re coming to tournament games and seeing their cousins or their neighbors playing in front of 4,000 people. When you see that at a young age, you want to be part of that. We’ve got kids really working at that.”
McGaughlin also pointed out that the support of the community has also played a significant role in their success.
“You drive through town and you go through the little subdivisions and stuff, you see kids out there acting like they’re Noah Bramlage or Alex Schroeder and it’s contagious,” McGlaughlin said.
Even though the Titans are clicking on all cylinders right now, it wasn’t that way at the beginning of the year.
“I think the one thing that was the toughest was getting chemistry,” McGlaughlin said. “This group of people hasn’t much played together. Our success in my eyes has come from Alex Schroeder, he’s been very consistent all year playing point guard in our program. I’m very demanding on my point guards and he’s been really solid for us this year.”
Schroeder, a senior, has accepted his leadership role this year. The point guard is averaging 9.6 points per game and is shooting 76.9 percent from the free throw line.
“It’s been about our hustle plays and grinding out games,” Schroeder said. “We’re not necessarily the most talented team. We just come out and play our best every game.”
Since McGlaughlin is very demanding of his point guards, Schroeder has relished his role as the floor general.
“Just control the offense and be a vocal leader,” Schroeder said. “Everything about leadership on the court is all about being a point guard.”
Another key to OG’s success has been the play of Noah Bramlage. The 6-foot, 7-inch junior leads the Titans in scoring averaging 17.7 points per game. He is also leading his team in rebounding with 8.4 boards each night.
Bramlage is the only returning starter from last year’s state championship team.
“This year came with a lot of new challenges and a lot of new faces,” Bramlage said. “I think it’s just made it that much more special that we’ve made it this far with a new group.”
Bramlage also mentioned their will to win is another important factor in OG’s success.
“I would say our heart is our strength,” Bramlage said. “We don’t necessarily have the offensive firepower that we had last year or maybe even the athletes or size. We bring a lot of heart and have the ability to grind it out. We’ve built a lot of team chemistry and trust in one another.”
McGlaughlin believes that his team will have to make the most of their opportunities and keep Huron’s second chance points at a minimum in order to win.
“I think rebounding is probably going to be one of the biggest concerns for us,” McGlaughlin said. “They really go after the ball. They’re strong and athletic. We’re really going to have to make sure that we clean up on the glass. That’s something that we take a lot of pride on. I think in the tournament it comes down to getting valuable shots. If we get good looks we’ll have a chance to be in there at the end.”