O-G ready for a rematch

OTTAWA – Three hundred sixty-five days later Ottawa-Glandorf and Columbus Africentric will be back where they were a year ago.

The Titans (24-3) and the Nubians (23-5) will match up in a Division III semifinal at 10:45 a.m. Saturday at the boys state basketball tournament at the University of Dayton Arena.

It will be a rematch of a Division III state semifinal played exactly one year before on March 18, 2022 at UD which the Titans won 53-48 to advance to the state championship game.

Ottawa-Glandorf has two returning starters from last season. Africentric has three returning starters plus a transfer who is its second-leading scorer.

O-G comes into this game on a 14-game winning streak since a Jan. 14 loss to Lima Senior.

Dailyn Swain, a 6-8 senior who signed with Xavier, leads Africentric in scoring at 18.9 points a game, in rebounding at 8.2 and assists at 7.5.

Cortez Freeman, a 6-2 junior who transferred from Canal Winchester this season, is scoring 17.6 points a game. Preston Steele, a 6-6 junior who averages 10.3 points and 10.8 rebounds a game, started last year, as did defensive specialist Dyson Bibins, a 6-2 senior. Laron Fuller, a 5-11 junior who played but did not start against O-G last season, is scoring 11 points a game.

Otttawa-Glandorf’s returning starters are 6-6 junior Colin White, who averages 20.5 points a game and 6-7 senior Theo Maag, who averages 12.0 points a game. The Titans’ other starters are 6-4 junior Caden Erford (13.9 points per game), 6-2 senior Hunter Stechschulte (9.1 points a game) and 6-1 junior Grant Schroeder (4.5 points a game).

White scored 31 of O-G’s 53 points in last year’s game and Swain had 32 of Africentric’s 48 points on a day when his teammates combined to shoot 19 percent.

As it has all season, an opposing team’s scouting report starts with those two players.

“They’re so talented. They’ve got multiple guys. Obviously, it starts with Dailyn Swain and his ability to make shots,” O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said about the Nubians and their best player earlier this week.. “He can impact the game in so many different ways with his length and athleticism. He’s just a match-up nightmare.

“The point guard they brought in is extremely talented and can really shoot the basketball. It’s really important for us to make them take tough shots. That’s something we’re really harping on with our guys, to make sure we’re containing the ball and making them shoot over the top of us.

“Their athleticism and ability to crash the offensive glass is something we’re taking notice of every day in practice and we’re going to have to address that on Saturday,” he said.

Trying to contain Swain takes a team effort, McGlaughlin said. “We’re going to throw multiple guys at him. We don’t have that one guy to put out there, nor do I think anyone in the state of Ohio has one guy they think is Dailyn Swain’s stopper. It’s going to be a collective effort for us. We’re going to throw a lot of bodies at him and try to make it as difficult for him as possible.”

Africentric coach Michael Bates described Swain as “a 6-8 guy who can do 5-8 guy things.”

“He’s a very smart basketball player. He processes things very quickly. He’s an amazing basketball talent and it’s been a pleasure the last four years to work with him,” he said on Tuesday.

Bates’ impressions of O-G started with White.

“Colin White is an absolute bucket,” Bates said. “He can do it all. He can get it off the bounce, he can shoot the mid-range, he can step out and hit the three. He can get it going left, he can get it going right.

“He’s a very talented player. But you can’t forget about Erford, he pops out on film. They’re very solid at the point guard. You can tell Theo Maag got stronger and added some things to his offensive package,” he said.

O-G is in the state tournament for the third consecutive season. The experience gained in those trips and some lessons that were learned could help the Titans this season.

“I thought last year in our game against Africentric and then Cincinnati Taft (in the state championship game) that they were the more physical team. That’s something we really took to heart from that state tournament run last year. Our guys got in the weight room and changed some of their work habits and became stronger physically,” McGlaughlin said.

Bates said getting stronger was also a point of emphasis for Africentric after last season.

“I felt the exact same way they did based on the way we played against them and how they moved us around on the floor. A big part of our offeseason program was to get stronger,” he said.

Ottawa-Glandorf has played in 10 boys basketball state tournaments. It won state championships in 2004, 2008 and 2013 and was runner-up last season and in 1996.

Division II

Rocky River Lutheran West (24-3) vs. Dayton Chaminade Julienne (26-2), Friday, 10:45 a.m.

Columbus Bishop Ready (28-0) vs. Akron Buchtel (21-6), Friday, 2 p.m.

Division II State Championship: Sunday, 10:45 a.m.

Division IV

Berlin Hiland (19-9) vs. Convoy Crestview (24-3), Friday, 5:15 p.m.

Russia (25-3) vs. Richmond Heights (27-0), Friday, 8:30 p.m.

Division IV State Championship: Sunday, 2 p.m.

Division III

Ottawa-Glandorf (24-3) vs. Columbus Africentric (23-5), Saturday, 10:45 a.m.

Canal Winchester Harvest Prep (21-6) vs. Cleveland Heights Lutheran East (20-5), Saturday, 2 p.m.

Division III State Championship: Sunday, 5:15 p.m.

Division I

Centerville (25-3) vs. Pickerington Central (23-5), Saturday, 5:15 p.m.

Akron Archbishop Hoban (24-3) vs. Toledo St. John’s (19-9), Saturday, 8:30 p.m.

Division I State Championship: Sunday, 8:30 p.m.

Jim Naveau
Jim Naveau has covered local and high school sports for The Lima News since 1978 and Ohio State football since 1992. His OSU coverage appears in more than 30 newspapers. Naveau, a Miami University graduate, also worked at the Greenville Advocate and the Piqua Daily Call. He has seen every boys state basketball tournament since 1977. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0414.