BLUFFTON — Sometimes size does matter.
Ottawa-Glandorf utilized its twin towers, Ben Westrick and Owen Nichols in the second half, along with the Titans keeping their composure down the stretch to outlast Bluffton, 47-41, in front of an overflowing crowd Saturday night.
With the win, the Titans remain unbeaten at 10-0 and Bluffton suffers its first loss of the season and slips to 7-1.
Westrick, who finished with 19 points and Nichols, who ended up with 13 points, combined for 22 points in the second half to help allow the Titans to escape with the win. Not to be overlooked were two clutch 3-pointers by Jarrod Beach and Parker Schomacker in the fourth quarter.
In a game that featured two teams with high-octane offenses, defense was the name of the game in this contest.
Titan head coach Tyson McGlaughlin, who watched his team put up 94 points the night before against Africentric, said Bluffton came in with a solid game plan.
“I thought our guys battled,” McGlaughlin said. “We wanted to get the tempo up and we couldn’t do it. They did a fantastic job and I give Bluffton tons of credit. They played their hearts out. They had a really good game plan and stuck with it for 32 minutes.”
McGlaughin added that the they had a lot of opportunities to score in the paint all night but said his team didn’t finish.
“They outworked us and that is something I don’t say very oftem about our guys, but I thought in crunch time we asserted ourselves down low and we made some big plays,” the Titan head coach said. “We had some guys stepped up late and that is what we needed.”
Bluffton head coach Todd Boblitt said Ottawa-Glandorf’s defense just kept coming at them and the Titans never allowed them to get in any type of offensive flow.
Luke Denecker did his part with 19 points but no other Pirate broke the double-digit barrier.
“I think our game plan coming just try and take care of the ball but they just keep coming at you defensively,” Boblitt said. “They are really hard to handle. They get their hands on so many balls and they are long and active. They are a load and a really good team. They have size. They have skill. I thought our kids effort was right and we played with great intensity and great purpose.
Boblitt added that his team had a good understanding of the game pan and executed throughout the game but the team fell short.
“Hopefully on some level we frustated them and I think that we showed out skill. We had skilled guards and we controlled some thngs,” Boblitt said. “The loss was really hard to take. It wasn’t a happy locker room. This wasn’t a morale victory or anything. We lost the game and we didn’t want to lose the game. Hopefully this is a building block and I think we have not reached our ceiling.”
McGlaughlin pointed out that the Titans’ tenacious also got the job done, forcing 20 Pirate turnovers, but he added that they did not convert those miscues into points as the Pirates’ defense also was up to the task of not letting the Titans get on a roll from either the inside or the outside.
After the first eight minutes, the Titans led 6-5 and at halftime. With points at a preminum, Ottawa-Glandorf, who held a 17-15 advantage.
In the third quarter, the Titans’ went to a more aggressive approach towards in the paint and it paid off. In the third quarter, Nichols scored seven points and Westrick had six as they were the only two Titans scoring and it allowed them to open up a 30-23 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
The trend continued into the final stanza as Bluffton, who had trouble scoring all night against, the Titans’ smothering defense tried to chip away at the Ottawa-Glandorf lead and eventually did pull within three 44-41 with 1:27 left in the game. But O-G kept its poise down the stretch to secure the win.
“We could not get that run tonight,” McGlaughlin said. “Every time we got that 4-0 or 6-0 run they came down and hit a three. I give Bluffton tons of credit. They played their hearts out and they put themselves in position to win but I thought our guys did a great job of finishing the deal.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.