NAPOLEON – Good teams find a way to win.
In Thursday’s Division III boys district semifinal game against Evergreen, Ottawa-Glandorf struggled at the offensive end.
That’s when the Titans turned it up at the defensive end and also took control of the boards, en route to a hard-fought 49-46 win over Evergreen at Napoleon.
With the victory, O-G (21-3) will face Tinora (20-5) for the district title on Saturday. In Thursday’s second semifinal at Napoleon, Tinora defeated Archbold 55-50. Tip-off for Saturday’s district championship game is set for 7 p.m.
For the game, O-G shot 38 percent from the field. From the free throw line, the Titans shot 55 percent.
“We shot the ball poorly all night,” O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. “We’ve shot the ball very well for about the last six or seven games. So, it was one of those things that you have to be able to overcome. Our guys were relentless on the glass. They made plays and that’s what you want.”
Three players scored in double figures for O-G. Michael Rosebrock led the way for the Titans with 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. T.J. Metzger scored 12 points, including five free throws in the fourth quarter. Noah Bramlage, a 6-foot-7 post player, added 11 points and six boards for O-G.
Cory Mossing led Evergreen (17-7) with 15 points, including 6-for-6 shooting from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter. Matt Brighton added 10 points for the Vikings.
O-G got off to a strong start, mostly in part to Bramlage’s strong play down low. Bramlage scored eight points in the first period to help lead the Titans to a 19-14 lead by the first stop.
In the second quarter, O-G made just 2-of-10 from the floor. After committing eight first-quarter turnovers, Evergreen settled down at the offensive end, turned it over just one time, and went into the break with a 26-23 lead.
“We missed shots and Chewy (Matthew Kaufman) got into foul trouble and he’s a very important piece of our puzzle,” McGlaughlin said. “He’s the glue to our team. Then we had to move T.J. (Metzger) to the point, which throws off the rhythm a little bit.
“One thing that some people don’t know is that Chewy (four points, three rebounds) was really sick, today. But, he came out and gave it his all. That shows what kind of kid he is.”
In the second half, O-G did a much better job of getting the ball inside and taking control of the boards.
In the third quarter, Rosebrock scored twice down low and made a couple blocks to lead the Titans. By the end of the third quarter, O-G led 36-34.
In the fourth quarter, the Titans stayed relentless on the boards and got to the free throw line often. The Titans led 45-38 with 3:36 left to play in the game.
In the final eight minutes of action, O-G made just 2-of-7 from the floor and 7-of-13 from the free throw line, which kept the Vikings in striking distance.
O-G won the battle on the boards, 29-22.
Added Evergreen coach Jerry Keifer, “We got down, but we came right back. I couldn’t be prouder of my guys. They really battled. I don’t think we could have played them any better. They’re a very good team.”