ELIDA — Elida’s Dakota Mathias started full throttle and quickly got Ottawa-Glandorf’s attention.
But what really gave an instant jolt to the Elida offense was the early help Mathias received from his teammates.
Mathias tossed in 30 points, and four others scored at least seven points, to power the Elida to a 71-64 boys basketball victory over Ottawa-Glandorf Friday at the Elida Fieldhouse.
Elida (10-8, 6-0 Western Buckeye League) is tied with Bath for the top spot in the WBL. O-G is 14-2 and 5-1 in the WBL.
Mathias entered the game with a taped up left wrist after bruising it earlier this week in practice. It didn’t seem to bother him, as he finished 9 of 21 from the field, including 3 of 6 on 3-pointers. He was also 9 of 9 at the foul line. Mathias also had seven rebounds and assists.
“Once I got out there, I wasn’t thinking about it (the wrist),” Mathias said. “The adrenaline was pumping.
“This is a huge win. Outside our locker room I don’t think anyone thought we were going to win this game. We showed a lot of heart tonight and we battled the whole game.”
For Elida, Louis Gray added 13 points and hit two 3-pointers. Aric Thompson scored nine. Max Stambaugh scored seven points with one 3-pointer. Austin Allemeier added seven points, hitting 7 of 8 at the foul line.
The Bulldogs’ offense started fast taking a 19-17 first-quarter lead. Mathias scored 10 in the first quarter on 4 of 6 shooting. His early scoring streak caused O-G to send a second player at Mathias as soon as he touched the ball.
Mathias simply bounced through traffic and found the open man.
Stambaugh and Gray both responded with 3-pointers in the first quarter.
“What killed us was earlier in the game, he (Mathias) was able to pass the ball and some other guys made threes for them,” O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. “We didn’t want some other guys to hit shots early to give them confidence.”
Defensively, Elida played a triangle-and-two defense most of the way, chasing T.J. Metzger and Caleb Siefker all over the floor. This helped clog up the lane and also put the Bulldogs in solid rebounding position.
The taller Titans just edged Elida on the boards, 32-31.
“We were planning on switching up defenses,” Elida coach Denny Thompson said. “The way it started out we felt really good about what we were doing with the glorified triangle-and-two. … And it kept our big people home.”
Elida was able to close the game out at the foul line, hitting 28 of 31 at the line. In the fourth quarter, Elida hit 17 of 19.
T.J. Metzger paced the Titans with 24 points and five rebounds. Noah Bramlage, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, had 14 points and four rebounds, but fouled out with 5:24 to play.
O-G’s 6-4 Michael Rosebrock was held to eight points after picking up his third foul four seconds into the second quarter.
“We were in major foul trouble,” McGlaughlin said. “You take our two big guys out of the equation for basically the large portion of the game. … We had opportunities, but I didn’t think we capitalized on them.”
Elida led 28-20 in the second quarter took a 33-26 lead into halftime.
The Titans got within one twice in the third quarter, with the last time being 39-38 with 3:50 left.
But each time, Thompson got inside for a basket to keep Elida on top.
“Every time we had the momentum heading in our direction, I think we had three or four possessions where we could have taken the lead and never did,” McGlaughlin. “I think we rushed a little bit and they played some junk defenses where they make you think and I think our guys thought a little too much.”
Mathias scored his team’s first eight points in the fourth quarter, including hitting a driving layup, a 17-footer and a three-point play. That pushed the Elida lead to 57-47 with 3:55 to go.
Metzger scored 13 in the final quarter and hit two 3-pointers to get O-G within 69-64 with 13 seconds left.
However, Elida was nearly perfect at the line to finish it off. In the fourth quarter, Mathias hit 5 of 5, while Gray was 4 of 4. Allemeier and Thompson hit 3 of 4.
“Everybody made them,” Thompson said.