ADA — It really didn’t matter if Liberty-Benton sat in a 2-3 zone or played man.
Ottawa-Glandorf had the answers.
O-G’s Kadie Hempfling keyed the offense and led the Titans to a 48-37 victory over Liberty-Benton in the Division III girls basketball regional semifinals Tuesday at Ohio Northern’s King Horn Center.
O-G ran out to an early 9-3 lead and was in control the rest of the way.
Hempfling finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. She also had four steals.
“We all came in really focused and really hyped,” Hempfling said. “We knew whoever had more heart would win this game, whoever wanted it more. We got three offensive rebounds at one possession. I think that really showed how much we wanted it.’’
Ashley Schroeder added 14 points for O-G. Carrie Johnson had eight points with two 3-pointers.
Ottawa-Glandorf (24-2) advances to the regional finals against the winner of Wednesday night’s game between Amanda-Clearcreek (21-5) and Collins Western Reserve (22-3) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Lexington High School.
Liberty-Benton ends its season 25-2.
L-B’s Savannah Richards, the Blanchard Valley Conference’s player of year, was held to 10 points.
L-B’s 6-foot-3 sophomore Caitlin Elseser had 14 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
In the Dec. 30 regular-season matchup, O-G defeated Liberty-Benton 58-53 at L-B.
L-B started the game in a 2-3 zone and the Titans found the seams.
Hempfling continually flashed through the heart of the zone, got the ball and hit the open person around the outside of the zone.
“We played that zone two and a half games before tonight,” L-B coach Nate Irwin said. “O-G attacked it well and Kadie’s a tough matchup, whether it’s man or zone. She creates so many opportunities for her teammates. … She’s a matchup nightmare, man or zone. We really didn’t have an answer for her or her supporting cast tonight.’’
Johnson hit her first two 3-point shots to help the Titans out to a 9-3 lead.
“I knew it was a big game and thought I had to shoot,” Johnson said. “Credit to my teammates who got me the ball.’’
O-G led 17-9 after the first quarter.
“Carrie hit a couple of buckets and Kadie controlled the middle,” O-G coach Troy Yant said. “I was real happy the way the first half went.’’
L-B’s main offense early was to lob it inside to the 6-2 Elseser, who had seven points in the first quarter.
O-G went to a man press and a more aggressive man in the second quarter and it helped deny the easy lobs to Elseser.
O-G was leading 19-15 before kicking off a 9-0 run to pull out to a 28-16 lead with 2:28 in the half.
O-G led 28-17 at the half.
“We didn’t play very well at the half,” Irwin said. “Our effort and energy just wasn’t there for whatever reason.’’
L-B came out in a man-to-man in the second half, but Hempfling continued to get inside and make the key pass.
O-G led 36-26 after three quarters and stayed in control down the stretch.
Schroeder had seven points in the fourth quarter, including a fast-layup to give O-G a 40-30 lead with close to four minutes to go.
Schroeder and Brianna Schimmoeller did an excellent job of making Richards work for all 10 of her points.
“I was trying to keep her from going right,” Schroeder said. “She’s a really good player. Bri Schimmoeller was also on her and I thought she did a good job, too. … I thought our defense propelled our defense.’’
O-G owned the boards, 34-26 overall and 14-8 at the offensive end.
O-G shot 41 percent from the field and was 3 of 16 on 3-pointers.
L-B shot 38 percent from the field and was 0 of 7 on 3-pointers.
O-G forced 13 L-B turnovers.
“Give their defense credit,” Irwin said.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.
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