ELIDA — For the first half, Ottawa-Glandorf’s Kelsey Erford was a non factor.
But in the third quarter, the reigning Western Buckeye League player of the year spearheaded the Titans to a Division III district title as O-G secured a 64-43 win Saturday against Fairview.
With the win, Ottawa-Glandorf (24-1) moves on to the regional semifinals where it will take on Millbury Lake, 45-34 winner against Elmwood, at Ohio Northern University at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday. Fairview ends its year with a 19-7 mark.
Ottawa-Glandorf held a 29-19 advantage going into the second half but the pesky Apaches had gained a little momentum at the end of the second quarter and were hoping to build on that going into the final 16 minutes.
But Erford exploded for 12 of her 14 points to quash any comeback by the Apaches and spark the Titans to the big win.
Titan head coach Troy Yant said he knew the game was not going to be easy and expected a tough, physical battle.
“Really the game was pretty close until Kelsey Erford put the jets on and that is why she is the WBL player of the year,” Yant said. “She carried us and I don’t even know if she had a whole lot of help during that quarter. We weren’t really looking to create for her and on paper we had the advantage with the post players and we went inside a couple of times … The big three Bri (Schimmoeller), Kelsey and Erin (Kaufman) carried the load and Kelsey carried it in the third quarter.”
While Erford’s points were instrumental, it was the Titan defense that was battling all night that was the main catalyst in the victory.
The Titans came out of the game wanting to run and with the aid of their defense opened up a 19-4 lead and that is when the Apaches scored their first field goal of the contest. In those first six minutes, the Titans forced six turnovers.
On the offensive end Schimmoeller was doing her thing inside as she collected nine first quarter points. The standout senior finished with 15 for the game. Kaufman, who was a constant throughout the game, collected 14 points.
After one period, O-G owned a 21-10 lead.
In the second quarter, Fairview opted with a zone defense and this seemed to slow down the Titan offense and Fairview began to find its footing offensively and narrowed the lead to 23-18 with 3:28 left in the half. However, the Titans regrouped and went on a quick 6-1 lead to close out the first half to snare a 10-point advantage, 29-19.
“It (zone) did affect us a little bit and obviously it’s something we are going to have to look at but at the end the girls did a better job of moving and getting the run outs and get some easy buckets and force them out of it.”
Fairview head coach Russell Zeedyk said Ottawa-Glandorf looked to play an up tempo game that the Apaches did not want but once they speed their game up it actually worked in Fairview’s favor for a spell.
“We tried to resist that temptation but actually when we did speed up in the first half it kind of got us back in it so we wanted to back to it but obviously against a really good team with their defense it came back and got us in the second half.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.