Ottawa-Glandorf is returning to the Division III regionals and the Titans needed to fend off Fairview for the second straight season to capture the district title with a 47-38 Saturday at Elida Field House.
With the win, the Titans (23-2), who beat Fairview 64-43 last season, will take on Delta (15-7) in Lexington at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Fairview ends its year with a 20-4 mark. Earlier in the year, O-G lost to Delta 51-37.
Ottawa-Glandorf head coach Troy Yant said the team was fortunate to hold on and said Fairview proved to be a tough opponent.
“They are very good and very athletic and you saw how aggressive they were and they were probably more aggressive than we were tonight and it seemed like a lot of the calls went to them instead of us and that is just how it works but I think that is what kept them in the game because they were so aggressive.”
In the game, Ottawa-Glandorf had more turnovers 19-17 than Fairview to demonstrate how tenacious the Apache defense was pressuring the Titans.
But in crunch time, the Titans’ defense came on strong to limit the Apaches to four points to curb the late Fairview charge and secure the win.
“They play really good defense and good help side defense,” Fairview head coach Russell Zeedyk said. “I guess it was a little tougher than I thought to get shots off. We finally got the intensity in the fourth quarter to attack the pressure which we knew coming into the the game we would have to and I thought the first couple of quarters we were timid and that is a credit to their defense and their program. That is just how tough they are.”
Going into the final eight minutes, it appeared the Titans had game in hand, owning a 33-16 advantage. In the third quarter, Ottawa-Glandorf had held them to three points.
However, the Apaches, like last year, had one last push in them and began to chip away at the Titan lead and with some missed shots on the front end of the one and one and some aggressive Apache play, Fairview narrowed the lead to 40-34 with 2:33 left in the game.
But the Titan defense, which was effective in the first three quarters, came up with a block and a steal on Fairview’s next two possessions and O-G sank 3 of 4 free throws in that stretch to push the lead back to nine and the Apaches never threatened again.
In that fourth quarter, the Apaches scored 22 points, six more than they had scored in the first three periods combined.
“We talked about what was happening in the first half and just focusing and I think we were more focused on them attacking than we were on finishing, and I think we did a better job of that in the third quarter and made some buckets,” said Yant who also added that losing Chloe Glenn to fouls in the final stanza hampered the Titans’ efforts.
In the playoffs, the Titans are giving up an average of 33.3 points a contest. For the year, Fairview came into the game averaging 57.4 points a contest.
Offensively, the Titans’ Myka Aldrich and Erin Kaufman each had 12 points.
Fairview’s Karrie Smith ended the game with 13 points.