Girls basketball: Kaufman, O-G battle back for district title

ELIDA — If Saturday was the end for Ottawa-Glandorf’s Katie Kaufman, she wasn’t going to let it end because of a lack of effort.

The Titans came back from eight points down in the first half to edge Delphos Jefferson, 47-45, in the Division III district championship at the Elida Fieldhouse. Kaufman scored 12 of her 17 points and grabbed nine of her 14 rebounds in the second half.

“I kept thinking to myself, ‘This is your time. No one else is going to do the work for you. Your teammates here want another game. You want another game. You don’t want it to end like this,’” said Kaufman, who had three blocks, including a momentum-changing one with 22 seconds left in the game. “So I just kicked it up a bit.”

The Titans (22-2), ranked No. 3 in the final Associated Press poll of the year, returned to the regionals with the victory. They face the winner of Saturday night’s Tinora-Liberty Center district championship at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Elida Fieldhouse.

The Titans overcame an inspiring effort by Delphos Jefferson’s Lyv Lindeman. Lindeman, who injured her leg a week ago, scored 33 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Wildcats (21-4). During the postgame awards ceremonies, teammates helped carry her to the court, as she had trouble walking after the game.

Karsyn Erford added 16 points in the game after tallying 11 in the first half. When Delphos Jefferson tried a diamond-and-one defense to neutralize Erford, she just attracted defenders by driving into the paint before dishing to Kaufman.

“That was all Katie. She found a way to get open,” Erford said. Once they came up on me, I knew she was going to be open in the low block. She’s really good at that. … I mean, they couldn’t defend both of us.”

The first half was all Delphos Jefferson, as the Wildcats jumped out to a 21-13 lead with less than three minutes left in the first half. The Titans closed out the first half with a 7-0 run, including Carlie Brinkman stealing the ball from Lindeman and hitting a layup as the Wildcats tried to stall. It would’ve been a one-point game at the half if Lindeman didn’t respond with a three-quarters court 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“It seemed like we were trying to be perfect instead of just playing basketball,” O-G coach Troy Yant said. “The idea was, ‘Let’s be aggressive. Let’s just play basketball and see where the basketball goes. If we’re aggressive, the ball will find the hole.’”

The Titans wrestled for control early in the second half, though, getting their first lead since it was 2-0 at the beginning of the game on Erford’s short shot after an offensive rebound on her own miss. The Titans led by as many as six points halfway into the fourth quarter, 46-40.

Lindeman and the Wildcats weren’t going away that easily. Lauren French, who battled Kaufman all night for every rebound and finished with 11 rebounds, scored her first points of the game at the 2:40 mark. Lindeman pulled Jefferson within two with a drive to the basket, including a nifty around-the-world movement of the ball behind her back to keep it from defenders to pull within 46-44. She also hit a free throw with 1:13 left in the game, making it 46-45.

It looked like Lindeman might pull the Wildcats back ahead, as she drove to the basket with 22.2 seconds left on the clock. Kaufman came away with the rare block of the Northwest Conference’s player of the year.

“She was coming at me full speed, and I was like, ‘I’ve got to try my best to stuff her and get the ball,’” said Kaufman, who said she was also relieved officials didn’t call a foul on her block.

The Titans got a free throw from Brinkman, and the Wildcats just never got another good shot off after getting the ball back with 6.6 seconds left.

”That score doesn’t tell me my team aren’t winners. They’re winners,” said Jefferson coach Denise Lindeman. “They battled hard for all that time, from the time the ball tipped until the very end. We had a chance at the end. We had a shot.”

Ottawa-Glandorf 47, Delphos Jefferson 45

Delphos Jefferson 13 11 10 11 — 45

Ottawa-Glandorf 9 11 14 13 — 47


Madison Burris 5, Lyv Lindeman 33, Carolyn Mueller 3, Lauren French 2, Claire Brinkman 2. Totals: 14-11-45.


Karsyn Erford 16, Carlie Brinkman 5, Katie Kaufman 17, Myka Aldrich 2, Kaitlyn Kimmet 2, Megan Horstman 3, Alivia Grothause 2. Totals: 21-3-47.

3-pointers: DJ-Lindeman 4, Burris 1, Mueller 1. O-G-Erford 1, Horstman 1.

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.