OTTAWA — Ottawa-Glandorf wanted to speed up the game with its pressure defense.
The Titans came out in Friday night’s season-opener against visiting Kalida, and pushed the tempo from end to end; and before Kalida had a chance to recover, the Titans had pulled out to an early lead.
From that point, O-G’s defensive pressure and inside prowess paved the way for a convincing 55-36 victory in girls basketball at Robert J. Hermiller Gymnasium.
O-G got after it on the defensive end, and forced Kalida into 26 turnovers on the night.
Kalida managed to put up just 25 field goal attempts (9 of 25) on the night.
O-G (1-0) had three players score in double figures.
Erin Kaufman, a 6-foot sophomore post player, led the Titans with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Kelsey Erford, a 5-8 junior guard, scored 12 points, pulled down six rebounds and made six steals at the defensive end. Brianna Schimmoeller, a 5-6 senior guard, added 10 points, four rebounds and three steals for O-G.
Grace Klausing, a 5-9 junior wing, led Kalida (0-1) with 13 points and four rebounds.
O-G came out aggressive, right from the opening tip.
“I think the girls were anxious, especially with the freshmen getting their first time out on the floor,” O-G head coach Troy Yant said. “Our defense was aggressive. We had some breakdowns, but the girls were playing hard. It’s just about being more disciplined and other things that you need to coach. … But we’re pretty happy with the result. We’ll take it and try to build on it.”
The Titans jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead, thanks in part to three Kalida turnovers. Erford scored two of those early field goals.
O-G led 17-8 by the end of the first quarter. Erford led the way for the Titans with six points and four steals in the first eight minutes of action.
O-G was 8-of-15 shooting from the floor in the first quarter. Kalida was 3-of-9 from the floor. The Wildcats turned the ball over eight times in the opening stanza.
The Titans extended their lead to 20-8 with 5:20 left in the first half, on a 3-pointer by Schimmoeller.
The turnover woes continued for Kalida in the second quarter. The Wildcats ended the first half with 15 miscues. Kalida managed just three field goal
attempts in the second quarter (2 of 3). Kalida was 5-of-12 from the field in the first 16 minutes of action. O-G was 12-of-27 shooting in the first half.
The Titans went into the halftime break with a 26-17 lead.
Erford led the way for O-G in the first half with eight points, four rebounds and four steals.
Kalida started the second half with a little run.
With 5:38 left to play in the third stanza, Kalida cut it to 30-24 on two free throws by Klausing.
However, O-G responded by closing out the third quarter on a 7-3 run, extending its lead to 37-27 by the third stop.
In the final stanza, O-G held Kalida to just 1-of-5 shooting from the floor. O-G made it difficult for Kalida to get uncontested looks at the basket.
“It’s tough to start the year against O-G,” Kalida head coach Adam Huber said with a smile. “It’s so hard to simulate that pressure in practice. They (O-G) are relentless. They challenge every pass, every dribble, every shot.
“But we just had to settle down. Once we settled down, then we didn’t turn the ball over as much. But in the fourth quarter, I think we just ran out of gas, because of their pressure.”
O-G held the edge on the boards, 31-23.
The Titans turned the ball over 13 times on the night.
For the game, O-G shot 43 percent from the field. Kalida connected on 36 percent of its field goal attempts.
Yant was pleased at the contributions he received from several players, especially his returners from last season.
“You want that from your leaders,” Yant said. “I think when we had scoring droughts and the ball wasn’t falling, those girls kind of took it over to get a bucket or two. I thought (freshman, Maggie) Verhoff (six points, three rebounds) did a really good job of hitting a couple threes – a freshman, starting her first game.
“We’re going to need balanced scoring. We don’t have a super star that we’re going to be able to pound the ball to. I thought Erin Kaufman came off the bench and showed that she wanted to get back into the starting lineup. So, that will help us down the road.”
Despite being just the first game of the season, Yant said he saw enough to give him a great deal of optimism. The Titans lost five letter winners from last year’s squad.
“I think we were pretty strong – at least seven or eight players (deep),” Yant said. “So, we felt pretty good with that. We had a few freshmen in that mix. You never know how those freshmen are going to play. … But they came out and held their own, tonight.”
Kalida was without the services of senior standout Abby Wurth Friday night, who is out with an injury, but is expected to return soon.