OTTAWA – Tyson McGlaughlin is a busy man this week.
As the Ottawa-Glandorf athletic director he is accommodating ticket request for the big game against Shawnee Friday. As the Titans head coach he is preparing for the Indians in a game that would put the winner in the driver’s seat for the Western Buckeye League title.
And he is loving every minute of it.
“It’s awesome. I wish I could play,” McGlaughlin said. “This is what it is all about. It is what high school sports is all about. I told our guys that we are not going to back down from the challenge. They are coming off a huge win. This is why kids in our community play basketball. We play for games like this. We are excited about the opportunity and the huge challenge but I think both teams are excited about the opportunity.”
Ottawa-Glandorf (14-0) is ranked No. 2 in Division III and Shawnee (15-0) comes in at No. 3 in Division II. The Titans hold a 4-0 mark in the league and the Indians are 5-0.
The Titans have already played some big games this year and McGlaughlin said as long as he has the horses to compete with the better teams he will put them on the schedule.
McGlaughlin adds playing a tough schedule is beneficial long term.
“I just think it gives your team confidence and obviously we are here to win every game but at the end of the day are we getting better. When you play these marquee teams and these top level and top coaches they are going to exploit some weaknesses and that makes it better,” McGlaughlin said. “It is not about playing your best basketball in December and January, it is about early February and March.
The tough schedule has introduced the Titans to a lot of different styles of play but none of the opposition has been able to beat Ottawa-Glandorf and versatility is one reason the Titans own an unblemished mark at this point.
The Titans can play a half court game with their two post players, Owen Nichols and Ben Westrick, or can play a transition game with Parker Schomaeker and Brennen Blevins, along with individuals such as Ethan Alt, Will Kaufman, Jarrod Beach, Hayden Dean, Kamron Maag and Aaron Rieman.
Offensively, the Titans are averaging 71.5 points a contest and giving up an average of 46.7 points a contest.
Any number of these players could easily average 20 points a game, however, this team is more about wins than headlines. Each player is capable of being the top scorer depending on who is hot that night.
“We are very balanced and we got multiple guys that can do things,” McGlaughlin said. “We have three guys in double figures, 13, 14, and 15 points and then the next two guys in that eight to nine range. We don’t have that one guy that we have to rely on to get that 20 points and we have a lot of guys that can do different things and that versatility gives us a lot of options…whatever is working we can adjust.”
Being level headed has benefited the Titans who have played their own big games this year and down the stretch the players have remained poised and in control.
Even though the Titans have put up some big numbers offensively and own an arsenal of offensive weapons, McGlaughlin, who points out that the team’s last game was the first time the Titans have had their entire roster healthy, is still looking for more consistency from his offense.
“We have different guys and starters thave had a sprained ankle and suchso when you have that you miss that little bit of chemistry,” McGlaughlin said. “I think you are always looking at your offensive execution because as the year goes on and the games get closer you need to be able to execute.”
McGlaughlin added that hitting the boards is always a top priority with the Titans and points out you can evern be too good in the rebounding department.
Another major factor is the team’s unselfish attitude and even keeled approach.
Against Bluffton, who gave the Titans all they could handle, Ottawa-Glandorf fended off the Pirates by coming through in the clutch. The same held true against Lima Senior. Against the Spartans, the Titans maintained composure to earn the 63-61 win.
McGlaughlin said winning these close types of game is invaluable because the players learn about themselves mentally.
“I just think their demeanor is even-keeled,” McGlaughlin said. “The highs don’t get too high and the lows don’t get to low for them. They just play. Like I have said throughout the year this isn’t a super emotional group.”
McGlaughlin adds that isn’t about the showmanship and showing off. Instead it is about getting the job done and letting their actions on the court do the talking.
“They just understand the task at hand,” McGlaughlin said. “That doesn’t mean they are not excited. It just means they don’t need to show everybody everything. They go out there and they know there is a job and they try to execute.”
All these elements will come into play when the Titans take on Shawnee. McGlaughlin, who was present at the Shawnee win over Lima Senior, knows the Indians are a good team with a lot of talent.
“They are really good,” McGlaughlin said. “There is no sugar coating it. These are two really good basketball teams playing each other. The nice thing about it is that they are undefeated and we are undefeated and a win puts you in the driver seat for the league title. This is one of those things where they are Division II and we are Division III so this is our one match-up against them. We are holding nothing back.”
Shawnee, like Ottawa-Glandorf, also has a multi dimensional team, that can adapt to anyone style of play. The Indians boast size and speed and excellent perimeter shooting. Take the win over Lima Senior. Shawnee, utilized outside shooting with a great inside presences to secure the win.
Stopping George Mangas will be tough. The standout junior comes in averaging 28.7 points a game and 5.5 rebounds a contest. Guard John Barker is putting in 14.5 points a contest and leads the team in assists per game with a 5.7 mark.
A big part of the game could be decided inside the paint. McGlaughlin said his team is comparable to them in terms of size and their size is going to be a little different than they have seen with most teams. The Titan post of Westrick and Nichols will be challanged by Mangas and Tyson Elwer who is averaging 8.2 points a contest and 6.8 rebounds. He is also blocking 3.3 shots a contest.
Caden Vermillion, who has missed the last couple of games, has also been a force inside with his defensive effort and he is snaring 5.2 caroms.
But even with Vermillion out, Other Shawnee players hav also stepped up. Brady Wheeler and Matthew Bean both provided valuable minutes in the Indians’ win over Lima Senior. Wheeer delivered some key buckeyts and Bean grabbed some important rebounds.
“I think we have to play our game,” McGlaughlin said. “When you are playing a team as talented as Shawnee, and I think coach Triplett would probably say the same thing, you’ve go to make sure you take care of yourself and what you are supposed to do. We can’t get caught up and worried about shutting this guy down or shutting that guy. We have to play Ottawa-Glandorf basketball and if we can do those things and rebound those basketball and take care of the basketball we are going to put ourselves in a position to be successful.”
Columbus Grove note: In anticipation of a possible sellout Friday night at Columbus Grove, NWDAB, NWC, OHSAA, or other league passes will not gain admittance to the game. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.