OTTAWA — Ottawa-Glandorf is still working on getting its “basketball legs” back.
With the success of the football team this past fall, several of O-G’s basketball players are still making the transition from the gridiron to the basketball court.
In Friday’s Western Buckeye League opener against visiting Elida, Ottawa-Glandorf found its rhythm after a slow start in the first quarter, and went on for a convincing 75-45 victory in boys basketball at Robert J. Hermiller Gymnasium.
After finding itself trailing 18-15 at the end of the first quarter, O-G finally got on track.
The Titans went on an 11-0 run to end the second quarter, which set the tone for the rest of the game.
Leading the way for the Titans were two of their big men.
Owen Nichols, a 6-foot, 7-inch junior, led O-G (3-0, 1-0 WBL) and all scorers with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Ben Westrick, a 6-7 senior, had 18 points, 10 boards and a block.
O-G’s guards also made an impact.
Brennen Blevins had 10 points and five steals. Jarrod Beach scored nine points. Parker Schomaeker added eight points, six boards and three assists for the Titans.
Ja’Quan Moore and Riley Creps led Elida (2-3, 0-1 WBL) with nine points each. Dylan Buetner and Riley Fricke each added eight points for the Bulldogs. Buetner and Fricke each had two 3-pointers. Buetner scored all of his points in the first quarter.
“They (Elida) have some guys who can really shoot the ball, and we talked to them all week about making sure we put pressure on the perimeter,” O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. “We wanted to force them off the 3-point line and have our “bigs” be more like helpers. We lost track (of their shooters) a couple times. But I thought like the first two minutes after the first quarter, and then the rest of the game, our defensive pressure really got them out of rhythm, and we were able to turn some of their quick shots into transition buckets.”
O-G’s defensive pressure helped cause 25 Elida turnovers on the night. O-G, on the other hand, turned the ball over just five times.
After O-G jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, Elida came roaring back.
The Bulldogs, behind two 3-pointers by Buetner, battled back to claim the 3-point lead by the end of the first quarter.
Elida connected four times behind the 3-point line in the first eight minutes of action.
Nichols kept O-G close, scoring four times inside the paint, as he tallied nine points in the opening stanza.
The Titans made a run in the second quarter.
O-G pushed the tempo and reclaimed its first lead since early in the game, 28-26, on a put back by Blevins with 3:25 left to play in the half. The Titans made three consecutive steals, and turned those swipes into quick baskets.
O-G’s defensive pressure helped cause seven Elida turnovers in the second quarter. For the half, the Bulldogs turned it over 12 times.
The Titans out-scored the Bulldogs 26-12 in the second quarter and went into the halftime break with a 41-30 lead.
O-G’s size started to take over.
Nichols led the way for O-G in the first half, as he scored 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Westrick added 12 points and five boards for the Titans in the first two quarters.
O-G was 18 of 39 shooting from the floor in the first half, while Elida was 11 of 20 from the field.
McGlaughlin thought the run his team made to end the second quarter, set the tone.
“We talk to our guys all the time about our pressure and our tempo,” McGlaughlin said. “You’re not going to get them to take bad shots for 32 minutes, but we really want to take over the last three minutes of each quarter. I think that’s where our depth and our pressure can really get to people. We got that 11-0 run to end the second quarter; that gave our guys a lot of momentum.”
The Titans came out of the locker room and kept applying pressure on Elida’s ball handlers.
In the third stanza, the Bulldogs turned it over eight more times.
O-G extended its lead to 58-41, by the third stop.
The Bulldogs were a dismal 1 of 14 from the floor in the final eight minutes of action.
For the game, O-G shot 45 percent from the floor. Elida countered with 36-percent shooting.
The taller Titans controlled the boards, 42-25.
McGlaughlin doesn’t make excuses for those basketball players, who had to make a quick transition from football to basketball.
“We understand what it is. But at the same time, nobody is going to feel sorry for us. Our guys have to go out there and have to play through it. We’ve had really good practices. That says a lot about the kind of guys we have. They don’t take anything for granted. … They know they have to get in a little better shape. They know they maybe have to chip that rust off a little bit quicker, than years past.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.