1. Is there another trip to Columbus in Ottawa-Glandorf?
The Titans going to the final four has become somewhat of an annual event after going to Columbus three straight years. But this year might be a little more different for the girls in blue and gold.
With just two regular-season losses, Ottawa-Glandorf appears ready for another run at a state title. Led by Bowling Green-bound Kadie Hempfling, the Titans had just losses to state-ranked Ottoville in Division IV and Division I school Lima Senior. The loss to the Spartans might raise some concerns, however, the Titans are a resilient and playoff-tested squad and have reeled off three straight wins including, a huge win over Defiance to capture the Western Buckeye League.
2. Does the drop to Division III help or hurt the Titans?
Some might think a drop to a lower division would help a team. The Titans still must face some talented teams in the early postseason rounds with the best of the Northwest Conference, including Spencerville, Crestview and Coldwater, not to mention Hicksville. On the upper half of the district, teams such as Liberty-Benton and Archbold could await them for the regional semifinals. On the other side of bracket are Margaretta and Case Western, not too mention all the talented teams at the top of the poll in Division III, such as Harvest Prep and Cincinnati Deer Park.
3. Like its Putnam County neighbor, can Ottoville also make a return trip to the final four?
In addition to its stellar record, the Big Green reached a number of personal and team milestones this year and would like to cap it off with a state title. The team’s only two losses came at the hand’s of state-ranked Minster in a close contest and to Liberty-Benton in the last game of the regular season.
Like O-G, the Big Green features a wealth of talent who are playoff ready. As the No. 1 seed in the Ottawa-Glandorf District, the Big Green will have to contend with teams such as Columbus Grove, Delphos Jefferson, Kalida and Bluffton.
4. Who other than O-G and Ottoville have a shot at making state?
The area districts are some of the toughest in the state, so it will be difficult for anyone to make a legitimate run at state. Minster and Coldwater are obvious choices, considering the teams’ history and talent.
Even without Paige Bellman, Columbus Grove garnered a No. 2 seed in its district but would have to get past Ottoville and some other top-notch teams to make a serious run. Leipsic is ranked No. 1 in its district and also has talent to make a strong run in the playoffs.
5. Who are some teams that could produce some upsets?
The Northwest Conference this year was filled with a number of talented teams that are looking to put a cap on their successful seasons, such as Bluffton, Spencerville and Delphos Jefferson.
Ridgemont out of the Northwest Central Conference has also put together as solid season, as has Kalida.
6. What kind of noise can Lima Senior make in the postseason?
By trying to incorporate young talent with veteran players, Lima Senior has had an uneven year as its record of 10-11 indicates. However, the Spartans have shown major progress in the latter half of the year, including a big win over state-ranked Ottawa-Glandorf. In order to be successful in the postseason, the Spartans will need to bring the effort that they have shown in the latter if of the season, and they could make some waves in the districts.
7. Is Bath ready for a run in the playoffs?
Bath comes into the postseason with a winning streak and ranked No. 2 in the Paulding District that is made up primarily of Western Buckeye League teams. The Wildkittens finished second in the WBL, and its only two losses in the league came at the hand’s of Ottawa-Glandorf and Defiance in overtime. Bath and Defiance could meet in the district semifinals if both teams can get past their opening games.
8. What are some of the brackets to watch this season?
In addition to the aforementioned Paulding District featuring primarily Western Buckeye League teams along with Napoleon and Bryan, the Ottawa-Glandorf District features an assortment of talented teams. Beginning with No. 1-seeded Ottoville, the bracket boasts Bluffton, Columbus Grove, Delphos Jefferson and Delphos St. John’s, Kalida and Miller City. While Ottoville is the team to beat, any one of these teams are capable of producing wins.
9. What could be some interesting matchups that could crop up?
Already mentioned would be the Bath against Defiance game, along with Ottawa-Glandorf against Coldwater in the district finals. A good NWC rematch would be Bluffton against Columbus Grove or Delphos Jefferson against Delphos St. John’s, which leads to…
10. Who are some of the players to watch in the postseason?
Three-time all-state performer Hempfling continues to dazzle on the court, and it is fun to see her run the court. She is just one of a number of talented individuals, such as Ottoville’s Bridget Landin and Kasey Knippen, along with Leipsic’s Heather Lammers and Kierra Meyers, Bluffton’s Alivia Koenig, Columbus Grove’s Carlee McClure and Alicia Gladwell.
From the Western Buckeye League, Bath’s Lindsey Singhaus and Jaidyn Hale, along with Wapakoneta’s Lexi Jacobs, are having big years, along with Elida’s Shyah Wheeler and St. Marys’ Makenna Mele and Sydney Cisco. Minster’s Courtney Prenger and Ridgemont’s Priscilla Howland have also put in big years.