BOWLING GREEN — It was all about openings when Ottawa-Glandorf beat Lima Central Catholic 60-52 in a Division III boys basketball regional semifinal at Bowling Green State University on Wednesday night.
And a couple of those openings played major roles in closing down the Thunderbirds’ season.
Ottawa-Glandorf (23-3) opened the game by jumping out to a 28-7 lead 3 ½ minutes into the second quarter, a start LCC (23-3) never recovered from.
And the Titans’ T.J. Metzger and Caleb Siefker found some openings all night in LCC’s defense, which helped both of them to score 22 points.
O-G will play Bloom-Carroll (26-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday for a trip to the state tournament.
“We were going to battle for 32 minutes. Unfortunately, we forgot about the first 12 minutes,” LCC coach Frank Kill said.
Senior guard Tre’on Johnson led LCC with 26 points, 18 of them in the second half when he led the Thunderbirds back to within three points, 53-50, with 1:37 left on the clock.
Johnson said he hadn’t seen LCC start so slowly all season.
“We came out flat, we didn’t come out with passion and O-G made us pay for it. We came out with a lot more passion in the second half,” he said.
Ottawa-Glandorf’s defense had a lot to do with that slow start, too.
“I thought we had a great game plan and it would alter some of the things they do,” Ottawa-Glandorf coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. “We played a 3-2 zone and didn’t want (Martyce) Kimbrough and Tre’on to get shots. We wanted anybody else to take shots, we were inviting them to shoot.”
That invitation worked almost to perfection in the first half when LCC connected on only 5 of 21 field goal attempts and O-G took a 31-16 lead.
“We have to hit some shots. We can’t match up inside with O-G,” Kill said.
The Titans were up 42-27 after three quarters and the first time LCC got the margin below 10 points was with five minutes to play.
A three-point play, on an offensive rebound and a free throw by Darius West, cut the lead to 53-50 with 1:37 to play, but that was as close as the Thunderbirds could get.
Siefker, who hit a key 3-pointer in the fourth quarter when the Titans beat LCC in last year’s Division III regional championship game, hurt them in all four quarters Wednesday night.
“The guy who really helped Ottawa today was Caleb Siefker. I hadn’t seen that out of him before. If we were going to get beat, he was going to have to hit some of those shots,” Kill said.
Siefker said, “You have T.J. averaging 17 a game and Noah Bramlage and Michael Rosebrock down low, they’re kind of keying on them, so it kind of gives me some openings.”
Metzger got O-G started with 12 points, including three 3-pointers in the first half, then was big again late in the game when LCC got close.
In the final three minutes, he scored twice on drives to the basket and got to the free throw line on three other occasions by going to the rim.
“As a senior, I thought I had to step up,” Metzger said about the fourth quarter. “I was going to the rim, trying to get people in foul trouble.”
Ottawa-Glandorf’s win reversed a 51-48 win by LCC at O-G during the regular season.
“The first game, I was most disappointed that they came into our arena and beat us,” Metzger said. “We kind of emphasized the big guys because we kind of got pushed around the last time.”
The push for O-G now is to make its second consecutive trip to the state tournament.
“Right now, these guys are focused on one thing. They want another shot at Columbus,” McGlaughlin said. “We’re one step away and we want to make the most of the opportunity.”
[header12] Bloom-Carroll 62, Huron 54
Bloom-Carroll (26-1) pulled away in the second half to advance to Saturday’s regional championship game
Guard Joey Schmitz led the way with 26 points, including five 3-pointers. Three of those 3-pointers came in the third quarter. Isaac McGlore added 13 points.
Cody Thompson had 20 points for Huron (20-6).