DAYTON — Ottawa-Glandorf proved it could play under the bright lights in more ways than one in its 46-36 win over Apple Creek Waynedale in a Division III girls basketball state tournament semifinal at the University of Dayton Arena on Thursday.
The Titans, who have only one senior in their starting lineup and just two seniors on their roster, had no problems with the bright lights and big stage of the state tournament. They were behind for a total of only 14 seconds in their victory, which sent them on to the Division III state championship game against Berlin Hiland, a 47-40 winner against Purcell Marian, on Saturday.
And they weren’t bothered by what O-G coach Troy Yant thought was an exceptionally brightly lit basketball court at UD Arena.
“It’s awfully bright out there. I don’t know if you realize how bright that floor is. It’s like playing on the sun, almost,” Yant said.
Ottawa-Glandorf jumped out to a 17-5 lead in the game’s first five minutes before Waynedale cut that lead down to a single basket by halftime, then took its only lead of the game on a 3-pointer on its first possession of the second half.
“They did a great of hanging around and hanging around and finally taking the lead. You never know how your girls are going to respond. We’ve got Kelsey (Erford) but the rest of the group are underclassmen and you never know how they’re going to respond in a game like that on a big stage,” Yant said.
Chloee Glenn scored 17 points and Erin Kaufman had 11 points to lead the Titans (26-2) and both of them had seven rebounds.
Brooklyn Troyer led Waynedale (25-2) with 16 points before fouling out with 4:13 left in the game and O-G leading 42-33.
The marquee match-up in the game was Ottawa-Glandorf’s size, with Kaufman, a 6-foot junior, and Glenn, a 5-10 sophomore, against Waynedale’s smaller lineup, which had made 256 three-pointers this season before Thursday’s game.
The Titans won that matchup led by the efforts of Glenn and Kaufman and with a defense that held the Golden Bears to only 6 of 16 shooting on threes.
“The tale of the game was kind of what we knew going in — their size and our ability to spread their size out and score on the perimeter. Their two tall girls played really, really well,” Waynedale coach Rick Geiser said.
“We felt pretty good at halftime after making a run to cut it to two. But credit to them, Kelsey (Wolfe) hit that first shot to open up the third quarter and then we had trouble finding the basket again. They’re very disciplined defensively and did a good job,” he said.
Wolfe said, “I think we knew what we were going into. We knew we were going to be undersized . We just had to match their physicality. We just didn’t have the best offensive day and they played really well.”
Glenn said, “We knew they were a shorter team so we were going to pound it into the post. Our guards did a great job of getting Erin and me the ball and it was just our job to finish it.”
Glenn and Kaufman combined for 14 of Ottawa-Glandorf’s 21 points in the second half.
“I thought we started out real well right out of the gate. The girls did exactly what we wanted to defensively. When they made their run I thought the girls held their composure for the most part,” Yant said.
“We weren’t playing our game. They (Waynedale) was being a little more aggressive and there were some things we needed to remind them of at halftime. When they did take the lead our girls responded immediately and got right back into the flow of the game. All in all they answered the bell and did what they needed to do,” he said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.