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2015 HOF Huddle NEO Showcase Recap

The 2015 Hall of Fame Huddle NEO Showcase took place this past weekend at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio. Event organizer Rich Harland (@HOFHuddle_Rich) welcomed over 100 basketball players ranging from 8th grade to 12th grade from all over the state of Ohio to participate and be seen by college coaches.

With over 20 colleges and universities represented, the second annual event was easily deemed a success. In addition to playing games with new teammates and having to acclimate themselves to a new style of play, the young ladies were also put through a battery of drills and tests for the coaches in attendance to get a look at them and determine if they should be given the opportunity to compete for their respective teams in the future.

Some of the players that stood out to me during the day long event are listed below (note: I did not get a chance to see everyone nearly as much as I would have liked to with over 100 players and 3 games taking place at one time):

Taylor Mikesell (Sophomore, Jackson) – This young lady is not only a fantastic dribbler, but her decision making, court awareness and basketball IQ will put her easily near the top of her recruiting class for most D1 colleges and their wish lists very soon.

Caitlin Tytler (Senior, Jackson) – For the second Showcase in a row the sparkplug from Jackson impressed the coaches and scouts in attendance by doing all of the little things well. A hard nosed defender with a high motor, Tytler is also a very aggressive rebounder and played well for the Lilac team alongside high school teammate Mikesell. Talking with some college coaches during the event, they really liked what they say in Caitlin.

Naudier Becton (Sophomore, Jackson) – If Jackson does not have a banner year with the trio of Mikesell, Tytler and Becton I will be shocked. A lightning quick guard and unselfish passer, Becton makes good decisions on the court to always put her team in prime position to score at will.

Savannah Maynard (Sophomore, Green) – A nice rebounder with a solid nose for the ball, she will be a defensive presence for years to come as she doesn’t graduate until 2018.

Ahmarianna West (Freshman, Toledo Notre Dame) – One of the quickest first steps I have seen out of a young lady in quite some time, Ahmarianna can flat out fly with the basketball in her hands.

Brandie Snow (Senior, Lake) – A standout last season in both the combine and her high school year as a Junior at Lake, Snow has the capability to play a lot of places on the floor and play them well. High basketball IQ and good leadership along with a toughness to do the dirty work make her one of my favorite players to watch play on the court. While she might be a late signer, wherever she ends up will be getting a quality player.

Mikayla Poole (Sophomore, Carrollton) – Not only can she fly with the ball in her hands up and down the floor, but she is also a solid finisher at the rim who is not afraid to take contact and get to the line.

Jenna Strayer (Junior, Bellevue) – One of the best players all day that I saw play in terms of getting herself to the free throw line. During her teams games every time I looked up during the day she was at the free throw line. Gritty player with a toughness about her.

Lexee Miller (Junior, New Philadelphia) – Probably one of the most solid across the board players I watched play all day long, there is not a lot that she did not do well.

Kennedy Schlabach (Sophomore, Hiland) – One of six Hiland Hawks that made their way to the combine this season, it shouldn’t shock you to know she has a great understanding and awareness while on the court as her father, the legendary coach legendary Dave Schlabach. Being a coaches kid I would imagine has its pitfalls, but also its advantages and she has clearly taken his advice to heart as she is a quick and scrappy player.

Jayla Hall (Junior, Amherst) – If you need a forward to do your dirty work and keep the opposing team off of the glass, Jayla is that player. A good defender with room to grow, Jayla pulled down a ton of rebounds for her Cardinal squad while I was watching them and then quickly threw up the floor to start the offensive attack.

Natalie Wilson (Sophomore, Perry) – A smart passer that always has her head up and is looking up court to find an open teammate.

Taylor Geib (Senior, Ravenna) – A young lady with nice length on the front line and who gets a lot of rebounds.

Peyton Banks (Sophomore, Wadsworth) – Tough with a nice drop step, this young lady runs the floor very well and can hit the open jumper with range.

One of the teams that stood out the most for me as a whole was the Red squad coached by Lipscomb University guard Lexi Manos. Manos’ team featured a handful of young ladies that impressed in their abilities individually and in their effort to gel quickly as a team:

Ang Troyer (Junior, Hiland) – Another one of the Hiland players who had a terrific afternoon in North Canton. A solid all-around player who doesn’t seem to overly excel in any one thing on the floor, but does everything well will no doubt help lead the Hawks to another long run in March in the tournament.

Morgan McMillen (Sophomore, Hiland) – A Sophomore point guard transfer, she possesses a high basketball IQ and court awareness that could pretty much describe any of the point guards for Hiland, but none moreso than of McMillen. A nice passer and a solid leader, she raised more than a few eyebrows with the college coaches in attendance and likely will for years to come.

Emma Rankin (Junior, West Branch) – A nice shooter with touch on the wings, there didn’t seem to be very many places Rankin couldn’t knock down a shot from on the afternoon.

Kaylee Pierce (Sophomore, Massillon) – Yet another fantastic Sophomore, Pierce has a quick first step and can terrorize opponents as they attempt to guard her off the dribble. A smart defender as well, she rarely will put herself in a bad position where she will need to call for help.

There were MANY MANY more great ballers that I wish I could have gotten to see more, but trust me there are a ton you will soon be hearing about allover the state of Ohio once the season begins. Please feel free to take a to take a listen to myself and Rich Harland (HOF Huddle Website) discuss the event in the video below:

Pictures from the event:


St. Henry shoots way to Sectional title

St. Henry started slow from the field but got their shots from deep to fall at a fast and furious pace for the final three quarters en route to an 82-39 win.

With the Royals leading 6-4 midway through the first quarter, St. Henry used 5 points from Senior Evan Prenger to help them finish off the stanza on an 8-0 run to lead 12-6 heading to the second.

In the second quarter the game became the Ryan Mikesell show for the fans in attendance at Findlay High School as the future Dayton Flyer poured in 10 of his game high 29 points including a pair of three pointers from well behind the three point line. Caleb Bender, Mitch Stammen, Prenger, and AJ Niekamp all joined the triple parade as the Redskins finished the first half with 7 shots from deep and went into the break with a commanding 40-16 lead on the backs of a 28 point period.

Things wouldn’t get much better for the Royals in the third period as they were only able to amass 9 points against the St. Henry 2-3 zone. On the offensive end the Redskins added the first of consecutive 21 point quarters and were again fueled by Mikesell as he tossed in 11 of his squads markers.

When the final quarter of the game began moments later, the Redskins held a 61-25 advantage over Elmwood. Mikesell would add his final points of the game when his three pointer opened the stanza to push the St. Henry lead to 64-25. before he checked out of the contest for good.

A mixture of starters and bench players would occupy the floor for the final 7:00 for the Redskins, with five players who had not scored in the contest in Evan Lefeld, Paul Stammen, Justin Ahlers, Blake Hoying, and Scott Knapke all got into the scorebook to complete a night in which 11 Redskins scored at least a pair of points.

Elmwood Junior Trevor Solether was the biggest threat of the second half for his squad as he not only connected on 5/6 free throws but also added a bucket in the fourth quarter to score 7 of his 9 points in the contest to lead his team in scoring. Keyon Camden, the only Senior on the roster for the Royals finished with 8 points and was given a standing ovation by the Elmwood fans in attendance as he exited near the end of the contest.

With the loss the Royals finish their season at 12-11 while the Redskins up their record to 21-2 and will play on Thursday night at Ohio Northern University at 7pm against Liberty Benton (61-36 winners against Van Wert in the nightcap at Findlay). You can hear St. Henry vs LB live as it happens on K94.3 fm via the radio or online at http://live.wkki.net/listen.asx

Ryan Mikesell led three players in double figures with 29 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks. Mitch Stammen (11), and Evan Prenger (10) were the other two leading scorers for the Redskins on the evening.


St. Henry (82)

Ryan Mikesell 29
Mitch Stammen 11
Evan Prenger 10
Caleb Bender 7
Scott Knapke 6
AJ Niekamp 5
Evan Lefeld 4
Paul Stammen 4
Justin Ahlers 2
Jesse Niekamp 2
Blake Hoying 2

FG: 29/50 (58%)
3: 12/26 (46.2%) – AJ Niekamp, Bender, M. Stammen 2, S. Knapke 2, Prenger 2, Mikesell 4
FT: 12/15 (80%)
Reb: 25 (11 offensive) – Mikesell 12
Ast: 18 – Mikesell 5
TO: 2
Points in Paint: 32

Elmwood (39):

Deven Peter 6
Tayte Lentz 2
Andy Curtis 2
Jarrett Childress 7
Philip Buckingham 3
Keyon Camden 8
Trevor Solether 9

FG: 14/30 (46.7%)
3: 4/7 (57.1%)- Peter 2, Buckingham, Childress
FT: 7/8 (87.5%)
Reb: 13 (4 offensive) – 4 players with 2 each
Ast: 11 – Solether 5
TO: 14
Points in Paint: 18


Free throws, 3’s propel St. Marys past New Knoxville

With St. Marys undefeated at home and New Knoxville unblemished on the road something had to give Friday night at the two teams matched up inside the Horseshoe. St. Marys struggled to get it going in the first half from beyond the arc (2/13) but utilized timely 3’s and free throws in the second half as they downed the Rangers 51-41.

New Knoxville began the first quarter on fire Friday night as they would shoot 4/4 in the opening stanza behind a pair of triples from Shane Topp for the second game in a row. Logan Leffel and Adam Howe would add shots from deep as well to give New Knoxville a 17-16 advantage after one of the shots would go in at the buzzer from 30 feet away. All of the Roughriders points would come from the duo of Josh Young (8) and Quinn Zaerr (8, 4/4 from the free throw line).

Despite scoring more than their average for 1st quarter points (14) in this game, the second quarter would see the Roughriders only amass one bucket in the stanza, a layup late from Senior forward Michael Hastreiter. New Knoxville would pick up 7 points in the stanza with 3 of those coming from Shane Topp to lead at the break 24-18.

Both teams would come out sharp in the first part of the third quarter but it would be the home team that would utilize a 14-8 stanza behind a trio of triples from Derek Jay (2 3’s, 8 quarter points) and Isaac Fitzgerald (a pair of markers from deep). Despite being outshot in the quarter however the Rangers would find themselves tied at the end of three periods at 32.

Adam Howe, Shane Topp and Jalen Fullenkamp would combine to score just 8 points in the fourth quarter for New Knoxville. St. Marys would utilize two of their eight three pointers made on the night to get and keep a lead for good that changed hands over twenty times on the evening en route to scoring 19 final period points.

Quinn Zaerr led the way for the Roughriders with 15 points (7/7 from the free throw line), and grabbed 13 rebounds on the night to lead his team to the win. Isaac Fitzgerald (11), Derek Jay (11), and Josh Young (10, 6 rebounds) points all finished in double figures for St. Marys as they improved to 5-3 with the win with four of those wins coming at home this season. St. Marys will next play on Friday night 1/9/15 in Western Buckeye League play at Kenton before traveling up Route 66 to do battle against the Spencerville Bearcats in an NWC-WBL matchup.

New Knoxville falls to 2-5 on the year with the loss and were led by 11 points from Shane Topp and 10 from Adam Howe. The Rangers will return home next Friday night as they play host to St. Henry in MAC action and hit the road Saturday night to play Botkins in non-league play.


St. Marys (51):

Quinn Zaerr 15
Derek Jay 11
Isaac Fitzgerald 11
Josh Young 10
Nathan Wilker 2
Michael Hastreiter 2

17/36 from the field (46%)
8/23 from 3 (6/10 in the 2nd half) – Fitzgerald 3, Jay 3, Young 2
9/10 from the FT line (Zaerr 7/7, Young 2/2, Fitzgerald 0/1)
31 rebounds (10 offensive, 20 defensive – 13 Zaerr, Young 6)
2 bench points (Hastreiter)

New Knoxville (41):

Shane Topp 11
Adam Howe 10
Logan Leffel 7
Jalen Fullenkamp 6
Andrew Arnett 4
Nick Topp 3

16/40 from the field
6/17 from 3
3/7 from the FT line (Fullenkamp 2/2, Nick Topp 1/2, Leffel 0/3)
18 rebounds (2 offensive, 16 defensive – 4 Fullenkamp)
7 bench points (Leffel 7)

JV: St. Marys 38-31 OT


NEO Girls Basketball Combine Showcase

The first ever Northeast Ohio Combine & Showcase took place this past Sunday, September 7th at Tuslaw High School in Massillon, Ohio and was a rousing success according to Rich Harland who operates Hall of Fame Huddle, one of the two organizers of the event:

Jim Dabbelt of the Dabbelt Report, the Dayton girls basketball guru who is hosting his own event in Tipp City on September 21st for young ladies looking to get college exposure also stated he too was more than happy with how well the event went, “I think it went very well and is a great starting point for future events here in Northeast Ohio.”

With many college scouts in attendance, the event got started at 9am with a multitude of skills challenges such as a standing vertical measurement and a lane agility test for all of the 80 young ladies in attendance.

One of the most impressive measurements of the day that I caught a glimpse of was the 74 inch wingspan displayed by Triniti Lee, a Freshman from nearby Massillon Jackson. IMG_0465

Following completion of the measurements and a few drills, the girls were split up into teams to each play a pair of games inside the Tuslaw High School and Middle School gyms.

The first game of the day in the HS gym featured the Purple and Pink teams matching up. Coming into the combine I had heard a lot about a young lady who is the reigning NBC player of the year in Ali Poole, and the Junior from Carrollton lived up to her billing. One of the things I was most impressed with during the course of the two games were the quick hands that Ali showed off as she pilfered a couple of balls and led her team on easy drives to the basket on the opposite end, as she is fantastic with the ball in the open court and as a finisher.

Junior Caitlin Tytler really impressed me underneath the basket in the two games I saw of her as she has a tough personality on the court and is a terrific rebounder with a real nose for the basketball. On one possession in the first game I watched her in awe as she used her body to position herself for three straight offensive boards before being fouled while trying to score one herself.

On the other side of the ball, the pink team had two players jump out at me right away in Karlee Pireu (Junior, Perry) for her high basketball IQ and her quick jumpshot from the perimeter. I’ve got a feeling that Perry is going to be quite good this season between Karlee and teammate Kimmie Borck who is one of the toughest finishers at the rim I saw all day. Gabby Mitchell, a much heralded Freshman who will be plying her trade for the Solon Comets this season also impressed the heck out of me with her great range and ability to hit from deep as she drilled a pair of three pointers with a hand in her face from the wing in the first contest.

#54 Karlee Pireu – SO, Perry
#54 Karlee Pireu – SO, Perry

With each team playing 25 minute halves, it gave the spectators a chance to rotate gyms and check out a couple of games at a time, something I took full advantage of at halftime to catch a half of the Green vs Orange matchup in the much warmer Tuslaw Middle School gym.

Each team featured a handful of players I was looking forward to seeing, but none moreso than Orange’s Taylor Mikesell (Freshman from Jackson) who is already receiving interest from every major college program (Notre Dame, Florida State, Indiana, Iowa) before she even laces up her Nikes for the first time in a high school game, and the Green squad’s Brandie Snow (Junior, Lake) who had impressed me earlier in the morning during the skills portion of the day.

Both players were true warriors for their respective squads and got a real challenge for being the best player on the court from their teammates in the Green team’s aforementioned Gabby Mitchell (Fr, Solon) who is beyond lightning quick in transition, and the Orange’s Bethany Koons (Jr, Tuslaw) who impressed me with her ability to create her own shots and turn those opportunities into chances at the free throw line. I only got to witness the second half of this one, but it held up the rest of the day as one of the best games of the day. A funny moment from it came however when the Orange team hit a 3 point basket to break a 27-27 tie but was then realized by the referee that both teams were going the wrong way to open the second half before the score was changed to reflect the mistake.


Back in the HS gym it was time for the Red squad to take on the Light Blue squad in what turned out to be quite a physical battle later in the game. Light Blue jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first 3 minutes of the game and kept the Red team scoreless until the 16:06 mark when they dented the scoring column with a 13 foot jumper.

With the whole team full of players who impressed me throughout the day it was hard to pick just a couple of players who stood out, especially for the Light Blue squad. Two of the young ladies that stuck out in the first half of this one were Caitlyn Kroll (JR, Bridgeport) for her ability to read the passing lane on defense and use of her size and Lindsey Baker (JR, Wheeling Central (WV) ) who was one of the days best shooters.

While those two young ladies as well as teammate Cortney Huffman (SR, Sandy Valley) were all impressive to me, it was Hoover Junior Lexi Manos that stole the show. With her astonishing court vision and dribbling skills that the Globetrotters would be envious of, Lexi put her team in a prime position to be up on the scoreboard at all times. It is easy to see that being a part of a Hoover team who made it to the State Championship game has given this young lady worlds of confidence as the leads her team this season.

Team Red has some very nice young scorers on their team that were on display as Camille Adelman (SR, Field) showed off her ballhandling skills with both hands and quick scoring ability on multiple trips down the floor. Camille was joined in throwing in a big performance by Izzy Meese (JR, Garaway) who showed she is a beast to deal with near the rim and will work hard to finish a play at all times.

Caitlyn Kroll (Blue) works against Olivia Belknap (Red)
Caitlyn Kroll (Blue) works against Olivia Belknap (Red)

Destinee Lee (Soph, Jackson) really stood out to me for the Maroon team in the final game of the day in a high scoring contest against the aforementioned Light Blue squad. Her ability to defend and rebound really stood out and helped her team while she was in. Unfortunately for her however, her teammates could not keep up with the frantic and pinpoint rhythm set by Manos and Baker. Jackson is going to have a VERY nice team this year I think because of Destinee and Caitlyn Tytler who both put on solid displays for the scouts in attendance.

Dani Norquest (Blue) working hard under the bucket
Dani Norquest (Blue) working hard under the bucket

If I had to wittle down all of the players I was most impressed with to an “All Combine Team” so to speak it would be these 5:

Lindsey Baker – The Junior from Wheeling Central West Virginia is a nice shooter and all around selfless player.

Taylor Mikesell – I mean come on, there’s a reason BIG schools are after her before her FIRST HIGH SCHOOL GAME.

Ali Poole – I thought she got off to a slow start in the morning but really picked it up and is a fantastic leader/scorer.

Brandie Snow – Lake’s Junior really jumped off the charts at me early in the morning as one of the best all-around players and did nothing to hurt that.

Lexi Manos – There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this young lady. A Magic Johnson-esque touch with the basketball jumps her to the head of the class, schools have to be drooling to get her onto their campus.

A big thank you to all of you for reading this and for Jim and Rich for bringing me in to cover this. If you’d like to send me your thoughts just hit me up on twitter @michaelhirnpbp. Be sure to check out the photo gallery from the event by liking my facebook page at www.facebook.com/michaelhirnpbp



District 8 All Star Games results

For the final time tonight the Seniors in the 8th District of the Coaches Association took the court at the Elida Fieldhouse.

The first game of the night was the Division 1-2-3 contest where Taren Sullivan and Martyce Kimbrough of Bath and LCC respectively combined to put on a show the likes of which only their respective fanbases have been privy to this season.

Kimbrough, fresh off of a 22 point performance in the Division 3 championship game win over VASJ on Saturday wasted no time getting it going in this game as he hit 6 first half three pointers en route to 8 total and over 30 points for the East squad in his last high school game before heading off to the University of Indianapolis in the fall. Taren Sullivan added an array of spectacular dunks, including one off of a 4 man tip drill as time expired to finish himself with over 30 points in the contest. Sullivan will play college ball with 2 of his teammates tonight in Bath teammate Colin Gossard and Findlay Trojan star Adam Twining.

The game also featured 22 dunks from 6 different players.

The West was led by 3’s from OG point guard Alex Schroeder, Coldwater’s Brandon Wolters and Shawnee’s Trey Brock.

The East defeated the West 150-97, here the broadcast with myself and Steve Wiener here:

The nightcap at the Fieldhouse was a much closer affair as the last 5 minutes of the contest provided the most defense on the night between the two squads. Elijah Kahlig of Ft. Recovery nailed a late 3 pointer that seemingly was set to give the West the win at 121-118 with just 7 seconds left, but the East’s Bruce Hodges (Perry) flew down the court on the opposite side and buried a triple to send the game to a 3 minute overtime period tied at 121.

In the extra period, again the defense of both teams kicked in to high gear, but the shooting of the West squad proved to be too much as they prevailed 135-129 behind strong performances behind the State Champion Crestview Knights trio of Tyson Bolenbaugh, Cam Etzler and NWC Player of the Year Damian Helm along with a plethora of threes from ultra deep range from Kahlig.

Will Vorhees led the East squad with 36 points and some powerful throwdowns.

Here the broadcast here with myself and Steve Wiener via www.zsportslive.com :

@michaelhirnpbp on twitter


Wapak outlasts Van Wert

Friday night after a rough start the Wapakoneta Redskins got back on track against the Van Wert Cougars and found a way to pick up their first home win in the series since 2006. In the 53-46 victory the Redskins were led by Kodi Morgan with 17. Wapak moved to 5-12 overall and 2-6 in WBL play with the win while Van Wert who was led in scoring by Connor Holiday’s 13 points fell to 9-11 overall and 2-6 in Western Buckeye League contests this season.

The game aired on Game Face Ohio (www.gamefaceohio.com) and can be seen in it’s entirety here with myself and Rick Bowersock on the call:


Bulldogs down Titans

Listen to the broadcast here: Elida vs OG Broadcast

Friday night Robert J. Hermiller Gymnasium in Ottawa was packed to capacity and was rocking early as the Elida Bulldogs came into town to take on the defending Division 3 state champion OG Titans. Both teams were trying to keep pace in the Western Buckeye League race as Elida entered at 5-1 in the conference while OG came in 4-2 in the WBL race.

Elida got off to a hot start as future Purdue Boilermaker Dakota Mathis picked up 12 quick points out of the gate behind a trio of three pointers from 23, 24 and finally 25 feet with an OG defender’s hand in his face to give his squad a 13-3 lead just two minutes in before the Titans had to call their first timeout to regroup. The Bulldogs would finish the quarter leading 28-12 behind 17 opening stanza markers from Mathis who came into the contest just 51 points away from breaking Reggie McAdams (now at the University of Akron) Elida high school scoring record.

The second quarter didn’t yield much for Ottawa Glandorf in the way of luck as every ball on the floor seemed to be bouncing right to the Bulldogs. One play in particular saw the ball come off of the backboard and then off the side of the head of guard Louis Gray before being fired up court by Mathias to a teammate for an easy layup.

As the teams headed into the break, the Bulldogs led 42-21 behind 20 from Mathis and 10 from Gray. Tyler Zender led the Titans with 7 first half points.

Whatever the halftime speech OG coach Tyson McGlaughlin gave his troops had them fired up as the 3rd quarter began as they climbed on the back of Zender and began to cut into the Elida lead with a quick 6-0 run. As they had done all game however, Elida roared back with a run of their own keyed by a trio of made free throws by Mathias after he was fouled in the act of shooting a three pointer (of which he finished 7 for 15 on the night).

Elida led 71-46 after three quarters of action between the two schools and put themselves in position for their 21st win in 53 contests against the Titans.

Despite checking out midway through the fourth quarter, Mathis finished as the games leading scorer and Zsportslive.com player of the game with 38 points, 5 rebounds and 4 beautiful assists. Louis Gray chipped in 20 points as one of three Bulldogs in double figures in the 89-69 win.

Elida with the win improves to 14-3 overall and 6-1 in the Western Buckeye League and remains in a 3 way tie for 1st while the Titans drop to 11-7 overall and 4-3 in WBL play.

Ottawa Glandorf will play host to the Leipsic Vikings and newly minted 1,000 point scorer Zach Kuhlman who surpassed the point plateau with 24 in a Friday night win over the Pandora Gilboa Rockets. OG vs Leipsic can be heard on www.zsportslive.com with myself and Rudy Lomeli on the call.

Elida returns home to the Fieldhouse Saturday night where they will play host to the Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds who were winners over Bloom Carroll on Friday night 76-67. In the tipoff at the beginning of the season, LCC defeated Elida 77-62 back in November.

Don’t forget to follow @michaelhirnpbp for scores and updates from around the area.


Bearcats outlast Bulldogs

COLUMBUS GROVE – Four quarters of basketball wasn’t enough to settle things between Spencerville and Columbus Grove so they played an extra stanza in front of a capacity crowd Friday night.

A back and forth first quarter of action between the two teams ended as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 17-16 lead at the end thanks to a late basket. In the second stanza both teams continued to shoot a torrid pace and protect the ball with only 1 turnover apiece. For the half the Bearcats shot a respectable 41%, but were matched by the Bulldogs who made 50% of their shots.

Spencerville led going into the lockerroom at the half by a 30-29 margin.

Looking to prove they could continue to do damage from the field, each team tore it up in the 3rd quarter with the Bearcats throwing in 14 while the Dogs followed right behind with 10.

One of the biggest plays of the game came midway through the 4th when following a steal of a Bearcat defender, Will Vorhees used his 6’7 frame to slam one home on a fast break to the delight of the home fans in attendance to ignite a quick Bulldog rally and pull them within a point of the Cats lead.

As the quarter ran down, the Bearcats had a chance to win it with 20 seconds left but a Ben Bowers shot from just beyond the free throw line wouldn’t drop. Columbus Grove’s chance to win came on the ensuing possession but ended just as empty as Logan Diller’s 23 foot heave hit the front of the rim to send the game to overtime tied at 49.

A four minute overtime period began with neither team able to get a shot to fall until Zach Goecke’s three point play opened the 7-4 scoring advantage the Bearcats used to put the game away.

Will Vorhees led the way for the Bulldogs with 18, followed by Jace Darbyshire with 15. Columbus Grove shot 21-46 from the field in the game and 7-9 from the free throw line while committing just 4 turnovers.

Spencerville was led by Ben Bowers with 18, Zach Goecke with 15 and Dakota Pritchard with 10. For the game the Bearcats shot 19-47 from the field and 6-8 from the free throw line including 3-4 from the charity stripe in the overtime in the win.

Goecke, a Sophomore for the Bearcats was named as the Zsportslive.com player of the game as he went 2-3 from the line in the overtime to secure the win for Spencerville.

Spencerville with the win improves to 11-3 overall and 5-0 in the Northwest Conference and will play host to Delphos St. Johns on Saturday night at 7pm inside the walk-in closet. Columbus Grove drops to 7-5 on the season and 2-2 in the NWC, their contest on Saturday night will see them play host to the defending OHSAA Division 3 State Champion Ottawa Glandorf Titans.

Grove vs OG can be heard live as it happens on www.zsportslive.com with myself and Mark Roney on the call around 7pm weather permitting.

Hear the game in it’s entirety here: Spencerville vs Grove broadcast


Titans Survive and Advance

Columbus – Survive and Advance, the motto of one Jim Valvano and his 1983 North Carolina State Wolfpack became the credo of Ottawa Glandorf this morning.

For the second straight year the Titans came into the State Semifinals but unlike last year they will advance to play for a Division 3 State Championship after surviving multiple runs from Ironton to win 61-60 in overtime.

After the first quarter Ironton led 19-12 behind 7 points in the opening stanza by Fighting Tigers 6 foot 7 power forward Trey Fletcher. Following a jumper and layup to open the second quarter from Fletcher to make it 23-12 in favor of Ironton the Titans responded with a 16-5 run to finish the quarter led by 9 points in the quarter and 17 in the half by TJ Metzger to tie at 28 heading into the break.

In the first half the Titans shot only 39.3% from the field (4-11 from 3) while Ironton shot 55% from the field (3-6 from 3). Neither team got to the free throw line that much in the first half as the Titans went 2-3 and the Fighting Tigers 3-4 from the charity stripe.

When the second half began, both teams had clearly changed their strategy from looking to shoot on the wing to a more post balanced draw the foul and get to the line oriented gameplan. Nobody was better from the free throw line in the second half than Ironton’s duo of Trey Fletcher and Trevor White who combined to finish 12-16 in their opportunities.

Ottawa Glandorf won the 3rd quarter 13-10 and lead after three 41-38. With both teams going to the ground and pound attack inside, the fouls began to mount up in bunches. The first casualty of the game came near the end of the half when Senior Trevor White fouled out for Ironton and finished his day with 14 points on a 3-3 from the field and 8-10 from the line performance in his last game for the Fighting Tigers.

With White gone the Titans went down inside to Rosebrock (3-13 shooting, 8 points 9 rebounds in 33 minutes) and Noah Bramlage(4-11 from the field, 8 points 4 rebounds in 34 minutes of work) to counter Fletcher’s unquestioned brute strength in the paint on offense.

The big guys down low may have been getting all of the looks on offense and from the refs, but it was Matthew “Chewey” Kaufman who was the most important “little” guy when it mattered as his layup with 2 seconds on the clock in regulation in which he knifed down the lane between three Fighting Tiger defenders pulled the Titans even at 56 heading into OT.

If the first half was all about the perimeter shooting(or supposed lack thereof) for both teams and the second half was all about the post players, the overtime was about how well each team could shoot from the free throw line. Ottawa Glandorf on the season only shoots 60.8% as a team from the charity stripe but didn’t show signs they aren’t the best in the state at it as Metzger iced the 61-60 win by hitting one of two free throws with 1 second remaining on the clock.

TJ Metzger finished the game with 25 points on 7-14 shooting (4-10 from 3), but it was fellow Senior Chewey Kaufman who stole away the player of the game award with his 11 point 6 assist 5 rebound performance. Kaufman came up huge all night long both in protecting the basketball and holding 1st Team All-Ohio guard Zac Carter of Ironton to 12 points on 4-16 shooting.

With the win the Titans up their record to 25-3 while the Fighting Tigers season ends at 23-3.

Who is next for OG you ask, well that would be none other than Midwest Athletic Conference’s 4th place regular season team in the 23-5 Versailles Tigers. Versailles defeated Leavittsburg Labrea 64-52 behind 21 points apiece from Damien Richard and All-Ohio selection in Sophomore Kyle Ahrens.

For Ottawa Glandorf to win their third state title overall and first since 2008 they will need to beat a very fast and streaky shooting Tigers squad much like themselves averaging 62.2 points per game.

Listen live to the game on www.zsportslive.com channel z1 on Saturday as pregame will begin around 10:20am with myself and Steve Wiener on the call. Can Ottawa Glandorf finish the mission? Tune in on Saturday to find out.


Titans return to state, Leipsic earns first birth since 1925

For the second straight year the OHSAA State Basketball Championships will feature a team from Putnam County……or two.

Joining the Ottawa Glandorf Titans in Columbus will be the Leipsic Vikings and Coach Scott Maag. Leipsic utilized their pressure and outstanding play from D4 All-Ohio First Team selection Devin Mangas to earn the schools first state birth since Calvin Coolidge was President of the United States. 5 of the 16 schools involved in the tournament the last time the Vikings made it are no longer in existence even.

Can Mangas continue the sensational run he has been on as of late in which he has put up multiple 30 point games en route to leading Leipsic to a 24-4 record and a spot in the Division 4 State Semifinals on Friday? To get his team to state and a possible matchup against likely Cleveland area powerhouse Villa Angela St Joseph he will need some help from his teammates, most notably Austin Brown and Aric Schroeder to apply the pressure to advance past 25-2 Lancaster Fairfield Christian. The Knights are led by Steven Carpenter, a 6-3 junior averaging 20 points per game, and 6-7 senior center Justin Potochnik who is averaging 18.4 points per contest. The contest will take place at 2pm from Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio and can be head on www.zsportslive.com channel z1 with Rudy Lomeli and Dave Boninsegna on the call.

Both teams starting lineups:
G   3  Devin Mangas, 6-0, Sr., 18.0 ppg
F   5  Derek Steffan, 6-3, Sr., 5.4 ppg
F 10 Austin Brown, 6-3, Sr., 12.5 ppg
G 14 Caleb Barrera, 6-2, Sr., 6.3 ppg
G 24 Aric Schroeder, 5-10, Sr., 4.3 ppg

Fairfield Christian:
G 10 Zach Sullivan, 6-0, Sr., 7.5 ppg
G  11  Steven Carpenter, 6-3, Jr., 20.0 ppg
C   3  Justin Potochnik, 6-7, Sr., 18.4
F  14  Nick Spurgus, 6-4, Jr., 7.6 ppg
F  24  Tyler Stevens, 6-1, Jr., 3.9 ppg

Ottawa Glandorf’s 2011-2012 season ended in disappointing fashion as the Titans fell short of their goal of reaching the State Championship as they lost in heartbreaking fashion to Portsmouth.

OG comes into the game this year with a renewed focus and a ton of experience at the state level as they return senior and Northwest District Player of the year and D3 All-Ohio First Team selection TJ Metzger, as well as classmates and starting 5 members in Matthew “Chewey” Kaufman, Caleb Siefker and Michael Rosebrock. Experience will not be a problem for this Titans team as their starting 5 in completely intact from last season, something rare in Division 3 teams.

Matthew Kaufman cutting down the net

After getting a measure of redemption against LCC who beat them earlier in the season, the Titans dispatched a very strong shooting Bloom Carroll Bulldogs team that up to that point had only incurred one loss on the season 60-56  in OT to up their all-time record in tournament at BG to 25-4. Noah Bramlage led OG with 15 points/9 rebounds while Rosebrock and Metzger each poured in 13. Kaufman handed out 6 assists in the win, but was most dominant on defense by playing the point in the 3-2 Titans defense that was able to force Isaac McGlone (headed to Eastern Kentucky and had 30 in the game) to taking bad shots late in preserving the victory and sending Ottawa Glandorf back to Columbus.

Headed to OG in BG

OG(24-3) will face Ironton (23-2) whose only two losses this year took place at an early season tournament in Florida. Here’s a look at both teams starting lineups:
G  30  Zac Carter, 5-9, Sr., 23.9 ppg
G  34  Josh Glover, 5-10, Sr., 3.4 ppg
F 44 Trey Fletcher, 6-6, Sr., 20.4 ppg
F  42  Trevor White, 6-4, Sr., 9.2 ppg
C 45 Aaron Stephens, 6-4, Sr., 3.0 ppg

G 4 Matthew Kaufman, 6-0, 4.6 ppg
G  24  Caleb Siefker, 6-4, Sr., 6.0 ppg
F 23 Michael Rosebrock, 6-4, Sr., 12.9 ppg
F  31  Noah Bramlage, 6-7, So., 10.5 ppg
G  32  T.J. Metzger, 6-1, Sr., 16.1 3 ppg

Listen to the Zsportslive Postgame Show with myself and Rudy Lomeli as we interviewed Kaufman, Rosebrock and Noah Bramlage after the big victory: http://chirb.it/0aLIHh

OG after cutting down the nets

Ottawa Glandorf and Ironton will tipoff from the Value City Arena in Columbus at 10:45am on Thursday morning as myself and Steve Wiener will bring you the action live on www.zsportslive.com on channel z1.