LIMA — Every kid dreams of hitting the key 3-pointer at the end of a game, even if you’re the tallest guy on the court.
Owen Nichols, a 6-foot-7 forward for Ottawa-Glandorf, hit the game-tying trey with 7.5 seconds remaining in regulation and had a steal with 8 seconds left in overtime to clinch a 56-53 overtime win against Coldwater in the Division III district semifinal at Lima Senior.
“As a kid, you say, ‘3-2-1,’ and you put up your last-second shot,” said Nichols, who scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the second half, including four in overtime. “I love that big shot. It felt great to see it go in and know we were going to play in overtime.”
Ottawa-Glandorf coach Tyson McGlaughlin noted Nichols has hit other big 3-pointers on a team that likes to score by threes this season, but this one was a key to keeping the Titans’ season rolling. The Titans (17-4), the top seed in the district, face second-seeded Wayne Trace (18-6) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Lima Senior. The Raiders beat Bath, 60-45, in Thursday’s second game.
The last 30 seconds of overtime in O-G’s win were wild, with an inbounds pass stolen by each team. That includes Nichols’ steal, which he took to the hoop and was fouled. He hit 1 of 2 free throws to put the Titans up by three with 6.8 seconds left, which held up for the win.
“They came out with a scheme we’d been practicing,” Nichols said. “I saw the point guard’s eyes look at their guy, and I just went for it.”
Collin White added 14 points for the Titans.
The Titans jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first quarter and led 24-15 at half, led by Brennen Blevins’ eight points. Then Coldwater upped its intensity in the second half, scoring the first five points of the second half to pull within one point. From there, it was a back-and-forth affair between two teams that refused to lose, including the Cavaliers gaining their first lead of the game with 1:20 remaining in the third quarter.
“On a typical night, maybe that team was, you know, done,” McGlaughlin said, complimenting the Cavaliers’ efforts. “And their guys made plays to give them a chance to win. … Our guys fought their tails off in probably a game we didn’t deserve to win.”
Coldwater coach Nick Fisher was proud of his team’s resilience, even in defeat. Myles Blasingame scored a team-high 14 points, including 12 in the second half for the Cavaliers, who finished the season 12-12.
“We have nine seniors on this team, and I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Fisher said. “They fought back. That’s who they are, not just as players but as young men.”
Wayne Trace 60, Bath 45
Bath (12-13) trailed by as many as 16 points in the second quarter before roaring back to pull within four points at the start of the fourth quarter against Wayne Trace.
Unfortunately, the Raiders kept finding a way to strike back, even after three-straight 3-pointers by the Wildcats. Bath was without one of its star players, Ian Armentrout, who was injured halfway through the first quarter.
“Ian never comes out of the game for us,” Bath coach Adam Burris said, “so when he tweaked his ankle in the first half, I thought we answered the bell. It was a battle of attrition, and we just got tired. When we got it down to four, I was feeling pretty good, but every time we hit a big shot, they hit a big shot.”
Bradyn Fleharty led the Wildcats with 21 points, including 17 in the second half. Jonah Wauben added 14.
“I thought we accomplished some stuff this year we wanted to. We can’t settle. We tasted cutting down the nets and getting a little farther in tournament. We just have to work hard this summer, and I think we have the crew to do it.”