ELIDA — Spencerville came right at Western Buckeye League champion Ottawa-Glandorf.
In fact, the Bearcats controlled the boards.
But O-G’s man sticky defense helped the Titans post a 43-39 victory over Spencerville in the Division III girls basketball district semifinals Thursday at the Elida Fieldhouse.
O-G (22-1) advances to the district title game against Liberty-Benton (24-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Elida.
Spencerville ends its season 17-6.
The Titans were clinging to a 37-36 lead before senior guard Erin Kaufman hit 4 of 4 at the foul line in the final 40 seconds to help O-G post the win.
The senior Kaufman had 12 points and four rebounds to pace O-G.
Freshman Erin Kaufman had 10 points and five rebounds.
“We started out in pregame with a very high intensity and we were really hyped, but the tipoff came and that didn’t translate to the game,” the senior Kaufman said. “We don’t why, but that’s something we really have to focus on Saturday. A win is a win, but we really have to re-focus for Saturday.’’
Kasey Ellerbrock had nine points with three 3-pointers.
In the second district semifinal game at Elida, Liberty-Benton cruised home with a 48-10 victory over Coldwater.
Spencerville’s Emma Leis had 15 points, with two 3-pointers, and four rebounds.
Nelaya Burden had nine points.
Abbygayle Satterfied had eight rebounds.
The Bearcats’ Alex Carter, the team’s 6-4 post player, finished with eight points and eight rebounds. She was in foul trouble most of the game and fouled out with 2:48 to go.
Spencerville won the boards, 31-17.
But the Titans forced Spencerville into 25 turnovers.
The game started at a slow pace and continued that way most of the night.
That was fine with Spencerville, which wanted no part of running with the Titans.
“When we were able to get into a halfcourt game, that’s where we had the most success,” Spencerville coach Greg Ekis said. “We knew we couldn’t get out and run with them for 32 minutes. … We had to be able to box out and really go get the ball.’’
“But that’s way too many turnovers. They’re going to force you into some turnovers, but we needed to shore up a few more of our passes.’’
It marked the second game back for Ashley Schroeder, who missed the final five games of the regular season with a hamstring injury.
“Part of it was it was first time we’ve had that starting lineup really jelling,” O-G coach Troy Yant said. “We’ve been nursing Ashley and trying to get her back in the starting lineup.
“I don’t think we played at our pace. I don’t think we had any transition buckets. They did a great job. They pressed us. We rebounded and they trapped us. … I think they played a heck of a game.’’
The game was tied at 8 at the end of the first quarter.
The Titans led 17-14 at the half.
Spencerville’s 6-4 Alex Carter picked up her second foul with the game tied at 8 at the 6:50 mark of the second quarter. She had four points and six rebounds at the half.
The Titans cranked up their man-to-man in the third quarter and forced the Bearcats into nine third-quarter turnovers.
But O-G couldn’t get fast-break layups at the other end.
The Titans led 26-23 after three quarters ad it stayed close the rest of the way.
O-G freshman post player Erin Kaufman hit a 3-pointer to give the Titans the lead to stay 29-26 with 6:57 to go.
When Leis canned a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left, again the Bearcats were within one, 37-36.
Senior Erin Kaufman sank two foul shots off the double bonus to push the lead to 39-36 with 40 seconds left.
Senior Erin Kaufman’s two free throws made it 41-36.
“I’ve actually struggled with free throws this year, but my teammates came up to me and said, ‘You got this.’ ’’
Back came Spencerville one more time.
Burden’s 3-pointer got the Bearcats within 41-39 with three seconds to go.
Senior Erin Kaufman closed it out with two free throws with two seconds left to finish it off at 43-39.
O-G shot 33 percent from the field and was 4 of 12 on threes.
Spencerville shot 47 percent from the field and was 4 of 13 on threes.
“Overall, I’m pleased with our effort,” Ekis said.
The district final will be a rematch from the Dec. 29 game in which Liberty-Benton knocked off O-G 47-45.
Liberty-Benton blitzed out to a 23-3 lead after the first quarter and rolled behind its full-court pressure.
The Eagles led 31-5 at the half.
Caitlin Elseser, the Eagles’ 6-3 center, controlled the inside game with 24 points.
L-B guard Savanah Richards added 10 points. Alissa Rhodes had seven points.
The game went to a running clock for the final quarter.
Coldwater was held to two field goals for the game.
The Cavs’ Alli May and Lauren Gilliand both had three points.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.