OTTAWA — Ottawa-Glandorf’s 5-foot-9 sophomore Kadie Hempfling showed promise as a freshman last season.
This year she’s elevated her game to an all-star level.
Hempfling does everything for her team and does it well.
She scores, she rebounds, and she defends the post. She also fires outlet passes with accuracy across half court.
She even takes charges.
In the 40-24 Division II girls basketball district title victory over Wapakoneta, Hempfling’s ability to take a physical charge to the floor helped ignite her team on a key 10-1 second-quarter run.
“I knew I had to set up for that charge and take it. I took that charge, then the momentum shifted our way, and we went from there,” Hempfling said.
For the game, Hempfling had 11 points and 16 rebounds.
“And at least five of those she came down with at least three Wapak girls on her back and was wearing them like a cape,” O-G coach Troy Yant said. “And that’s how Kadie plays every day in practice.”
For the year, she’s averaging 13.7 points and 7 rebounds. On Monday, the sophomore was named the Western Buckeye League player of the year.
Hempfling, senior point guard Dani Ellerbrock and juniors Kylie White and Lexi Schroeder have led the Titans back to the regional for the second straight year. The Titans finished as the state runner-up in Division III last year.
O-G (23-2) will meet Akron Hoban (21-4) in the Division II regional semifinals at 6:15 p.m. today at Ontario High School.
Of O-G’s two losses, one came on Dec. 19 at Ottoville during the five-game stretch Hempfling missed with a high ankle sprain.
Hempfling admitted that missing five games with a boot on her left foot was frustrating, but she had support.
“God is always on my side, and I prayed and my teammates always supported me, even on the bench,” she said.
She returned to action against Celina on Jan. 7.
“It was pretty hard at first during the Celina game because I just wanted to do everything,” Hempfling said. “But I knew I couldn’t do it all that night, and I had to cut it back. But now I’m feeling it.”
By Jan. 16 against Lima Senior, she was close to her old form. In the 76-63 victory over the Spartans, Hempfling had 20 points, with one 3-pointer, and nine rebounds. She hit 7 of 13 from the floor and 5 of 5 at the line.
But what really impressed Lima Senior coach Vince Halliday that day was her court vision and awareness. He said it had been a while since he had seen a player with that kind of ability to snatch rebounds out of the air, turn and make outlet passes past halfcourt, all with one quick motion.
“I love doing it,” Hempfling said. “Basketball is my passion. I just love playing the game, and I love my teammates. With having great teammates and them finding the seams, then I can just get the ball to them.”
Last year as a freshman, Hempfling came off the bench and had five points, three assists and six steals in the Titans’ 49-46 loss to Versailles in the state title game. This year, her role has expanded to become one of the floor leaders.
“Being a sophomore and having to step up this year and playing the game the way I know how with my teammates, it’s a lot of fun,” she said.
As deserving as she was of the WBL player of the year award, Hempfling said she would have voted for her teammate if she had a vote on the matter.
“It was a big surprise,” Hempfling said. “I thought Kylie (White) deserved it. She’s a wonderful player.”
Reach Tom Usher at email@example.com or on Twitter at @Lima_Usher