LEXINGTON — The rematch turned into a little revenge for Ottawa-Glandorf.
Last year, the Titans were ousted from the postseason when Africentric beat them in the regional finals. But this year, O-G was celebrating the trip to the final four after downing the Nubians in a hard-fought, 38-30, victory in the Division III regional finals Saturday.
The Titans will face Apple Creek Waynesdale at the University of Dayton at 5 p.m. Thursday. Africentric ends its year with an 11-3 mark.
Defense has paved the way for the Titans in the postseason and this game was no different after stymieing the Nubian offense throughout the game.
“The girls were locked in and I think they were pretty excited before the game and they were pumped in pregame and we gave them the keys to success and they executed them,” O-G head coach Troy Yant said. “I thought the defense hung with them and did a pretty great job.
Yant added that they bolstered the schedule this year to prepare for teams like Africentric and said the girls treated this one as just another game.
“I don’t think they saw Africentric as the state champs, dominating perennial power that they are but just the next team on the list and that is the way they played tonight,” Yant said.
In this postseason runs, the Titans have not given up 40 points or more in a game and are giving up an average of 30.2 points in the four tournament contests.
“Defense is probably 90 percent of what we practice so if we lay an egg on defense we are probably getting beat,” Yant said.
Rebounding also played a big role in the Titans’ wins, especially on the offensive end where O-G grabbed 17 caroms on their end and 35 for the game. This allowed the Titans a number of second-chance baskets and on the defensive end the Nubians were limited to one shot on their possessions. Africentric finished with 25 rebounds.
“I thought our three big girls did a really good job, both Kaufmans (Kate and Erin) and Chloe Glenn,” Yant said. “We had a couple of breakdowns on box outs but especially on the defensive end I thought we were pretty locked in to give us some extra possessions on offense.
Offensively, Kelsey Erford led the team with 13 points and Glenn added 10. Erford was clutch from the free throw line in the final two periods, going 8 of 10 from the charity stripe.
“To play this game we had to have all five people playing at the same time, engaged and focused and this is the definition of a team win,” Erford said. “I think the beginning of the season and with so many younger girls they were pretty wary about buying into the definition of Titan defense and I think we are getting to the point where every one has bought in and doing what they have to do to win. The coaches are doing everything they can. We are getting great scouting reports so we know everyone’s tendencies and we are all on the same page and every one is doing what they can to win.”
Perhaps the biggest stand came in the third quarter and the onset of the fourth quarter.
Going into the second half, O-G held a slim, 13-12 lead and both teams struggled to put points on the board for the first four minutes as the two teams managed to score a combined three points and O-G holding onto a 15-14 advantage with 3:57 left.
But then came the run that provided O-G with breathing room. It was not a huge run, 7-0, but it was enough to open up the biggest lead of the game for the Titans. In that scoring outburst, the biggest bucket came from Anna Siekfer who drained a 3-pointer with 1:30 left in the third quarter to up the lead to 19-14 and then a buzzer beating layup by Chloe Glenn that added a big exclamation point to the Titans’ pivotal run.
The Siefker trey was Ottawa-Glandorf’s only 3-pointer of the night.
“Coming out of the locker room we gave them some small keys to address and I thought they did a really good job of keying in that, especially with the starters,” Yant said. “We have a few breakdowns but we made some minor adjustments on personnel but once the girls ironed through what we were doing, the girls were locked in for the finish. Once they saw that we could play with them in the first half they believed and it was pretty much done.”
An 8-3 run, again not huge but in a game like this it was, in the first five minutes of the final quarter upped the lead to 29-17 and despite a late charge by the Nubians, the Titans took the win.,
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.