ADA, OH – With their 48-37 victory on Tuesday night at Ohio Northern University the Ottawa Glandorf Titans are headed for their fourth straight regional finals appearance on Saturday afternoon and a chance at a fourth straight appearance in Columbus.
OG scored the first five points of the ballgame on a layup by Ashley Schroeder and a three pointer from Carri Johnson and never trailed as they handed Liberty Benton their second loss of the season. Back in December the Titans visited Findlay and defeated the Eagles 58-53 in come from behind fashion.
Erin Kaufman’s free throw pushed the Ottawa Glandorf lead to 6-0 before Liberty Benton was able to respond on a Caitlin Elseser charity toss and a pass from Savanah Richards to Elseser for two to cut the lead to 6-3. Elseser would lead the normally high flying Eagles offense with 7 of her game high tying 14 points but the Titan trio of Kaufman, Schroeder, and Carri Johnson would team up with Western Buckeye League Player of the Year Kadie Hempfling to help outscore them 17-9 heading into the second period.
Hempfling, who broke the schools scoring record in the District Finals matchup on Saturday against Crestview rode a personal hot streak for all six of her second stanza points and along with a 3 from Schroeder helped to put her club on top at the halftime stoppage 28-17.
Both teams ratcheted up their defensive intensity in the games penultimate quarter as Liberty Benton outscored their rivals 9-8 and cut the lead to 36-26. Balanced scoring from four players pushed the Eagles but OG was pushed by the duo of Hempfling and freshman guard Kelsey Erford who hit a layup and a pair from the free throw line for her only points on the night.
Savanah Richards sliced the Titan defense for a pair of layups but saw her scoring on the evening limited to nearly seven points below her average as she finished with 10. Elseser connected on a jumper and 3 of 4 from the free throw line but saw her team fall when the final quarter came to an end as Ashley Schroeder ended with half of her game high tying 14 take place in the fourth period.
The games final marker came on a long outlet pass from Hempfling to sophomore Brianna Schimmoeller who garnered her only two points on a fast break layup with :06 remaining to secure a 48-37 OG victory.
Liberty Benton has now fallen to the Titans five consecutive times including twice this season and ends their 2017-18 campaign as Blanchard Valley Conference champions and with a 25-2 mark.
Ottawa Glandorf improves to 24-2 on the season and will play the winner of Wednesday night’s matchup in Lexington of Amanda Clearcreek and Western Reserve at 1:30pm on Saturday afternoon in Lexington for the right to advance to the Division 3 Final Four.
ADA, OHIO – It was billed all season long as potentially one of the best matchups in the state as St. Henry took the court against the defending D3 Champions in LCC. For the first half of basketball it was more like a rout as the T-Birds jumped on the Redskins early and often before surviving a big run in the 3rd quarter and earning their 45-44 win Saturday night at ONU.
Led early by Dantez Walton who scored 5 of his team high 16 points in the first stanza, the T-Birds flexed their offensive muscle and led 11-7 after the first quarter and 30-15 at the half before the Redskins came out guns blazing after the break.
St. Henry shot 6/21 in the first half and 0-5 from 3 but shot 10/15 from the field and hit 5/8 triples in the 3rd quarter as they accounted for 20 period points and were found themselves down just four at 39-35 heading to the fourth quarter.
Caleb Bender got things going coming out of the halftime break for the Redskins as he tossed in a three pointer :12 into the third stanza that helped key a 17-9 run aided by triples by Bender, Ryan Mikesell, Mitch Stammen, and one by Evan Prenger that pulled the MAC Champions to 32-26 midway through the quarter just seconds before a Stammen steal and layup that forced LCC to take a timeout up 32-38 with 4:29 left in the 3rd.
Following the timeout and a missed LCC layup by Josh Dixon, the Redskins cut the lead to just a pair as Prenger scored on a layup assisted by Caleb Bender. On the ensuing possession for the T-Birds Aidan O’Connor’s turnover set up a three point play by Mitch Stammen who added a free throw to give his team a 32-31 lead when Josh Dixon picked up his 3rd foul of the game.
Despite being in foul trouble in the second half, Dixon was effective on the offensive end as he stuck back an O’Connor miss off the glass to put LCC back in the lead at 34-33 with 1:07 to go in the games second to last quarter. Cam White, a 6’2 Senior for the Birds connected on a jumper to push the lead to three but Mikesell’s layup just seconds later made it 36-35 LCC. With a trio of fouls on his own late in the third quarter Walton was subbed in defense for offense in the second half but loomed large with the basketball as he drained a fall away three pointer from the right wing at the buzzer to put his squad in front 39-35.
Lima Central Catholic utilized the clock very effectively in the final quarter as Junior Tre Cobbs, who did not get the start due to a shoulder injury showcased his superior ballhandling and dribbling abilities by running almost 3:00 off of the clock near the half court line. There was just 2:43 left in the fourth when Mikesell who was held to just 12 points in the game on 5/14 shooting connected on 1/2 free throws to cut the lead to 39-36.
Dantez Walton grabbed an offensive rebound off of an Aidan O’Connor miss and sent it back outside to Josh Dixon who connected on a three pointer that put LCC up 6 with 1:46 left. Not to be outdone however the Redskins cut the lead to three again on their next possession as Mitch Stammen connected on a triple that was immediately followed by a timeout for MAC Coach of the Year Eric Rosenbeck.
Almost a minute came off of the clock for the T-Birds before a free throw by Cobbs gave LCC a four point advatage at 43-39 with :46 left in the game. St. Henry got the ball next on a rebound by Jesse Niekamp and scored on a Mikesell layup with :16 left to make it 43-41 by Cobbs blazed a trail down the court and got a pair of points on a layup with high right hand that provided the final LCC points. Evan Prenger hit a three pointer with :04 seconds left to provide the final points in the 46-45 loss for the Redskins.
LCC (23-2) who shot a perfect 6/6 from 3 will travel to Bowling Green’s Stroh Center on Wednesday night at for the 6th straight season they will meet the OG Titans, and the 4th straight time in the Regional round as the two will tip off at 8pm in a game that will be broadcast live on www.zsportslive.com
St. Henry ends their season at 22-3 in the last contest for a highly decorated Senior class consisting of Caleb Bender (2nd team MAC), Scott Knapke, Blake Hoying, Evan Prenger, Justin Ahlers, and the 2015 Midwest Athletic Conference and Northwest District Player of the Year and future Dayton Flyer Ryan Mikesell who finishes his prep career with 1540 points.
Dantez Walton 16
Jake Williams 6
Josh Dixon 11
Tre Cobbs 8
Cam White 4
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Ottawa Glandorf Titans and Huron Tigers were supposed to meet one another on Wednesday night in Bowling Green at the Stroh Center, but as she often does Mother Nature had other ideas. Following a postponement and a realignment of games in the state, OG will now meet Huron in Ada at Ohio Northern University on Thursday night at approximately 8pm.
Ottawa Glandorf, the defending Division 3 champions will enter the contest at 15-10 and riding a 3 game winning streak. Despite opening the season at 3-3 through their first six games, OG rallied to finish with 15 wins by stringing together two separate 4 game winning streaks in the middle of their schedule en route to their fourth straight District Championship.
Despite slow starts against both Archbold and Paulding in the District round at the Stroh Center, the Titans were able to survive and advance with blistering fourth quarters at the free throw line and full court pressure defense. In the win over Paulding that earned Ottawa Glandorf another chance to play in Bowling Green, the Titans shot 10-13 from the charity stripe to finish off the Panthers and cut down the Stroh Center nets.
Offensively the Titans are scoring at a 55.6 per game clip, but are giving up 52.6 points per contest, a razor thin margin for a team that has gotten off to such slow starts in the OHSAA Tournament.
Six of the Titans ten losses this season are to teams who played in a District Finals. Two of those six losses are to fellow Western Buckeye League teams in Bath (20-4) and Defiance (21-3), both of whom are still alive in the Division 2 Regional bracket.
First team All-WBL selection Noah Bramlage leads the Titans offensively averaging about 18 points per game. The Junior also leads the team in rebounding as he pulls down 8 rebounds per contest as well. Bramlage has draw noticeable attention from major college programs such as Yale, Wright State, Purdue, and Northwestern among others. Coach James Johnson of Virginia Tech and his staff even made their way to see Bramlage in person earlier this season.
Huron’s Tigers find themselves in uncharted territory as far as the history of their program goes. Thursday night will make the first time in school history that Huron has ever had back to back Regional appearances. Despite losing to Bloom Carroll last season and fall one game short of a Regional Finals matchup with OG last season, the Tigers used the experience as something to build off of and will roll into Ada with an 18-6 mark on the season.
Leading the way for the Sandusky Bay Conference runners up is the Senior duo of Keegan Bollenbacher and Cody Thompson who have been teammates since the fourth grade and know where one another is on the court at all times. Bollenbacher, a Division 3 Northwest District Honorable Mention selection this season is averaging 10.9 points per game and has connected on nearly 100 shots from beyond the arc. Thompson is a two sport athlete who was selected as 2nd Team All-SBC in basketball last season is also a star on the gridiron where he was named 1st Team All-State at Defensive Back in Division 5 averages 10.5 ppg.
Offensively the Tigers average 56.9 points per game and give up 49 per game. Huron has been fantastic on defense as they have yet to allow a team more than 37 points in three tournament matchups during their run. A six game winning streak will be on the line for the Tigers as they last lost on February 15th at Norwalk 56-47.
Despite being a Division 3 team, Huron plays a tough schedule that is laden with Division 1 and 2 squads. Two of Huron’s six losses came at the hand of one team who is still playing in the Division 1 Tournament (25-1 Norwalk), and Division 2 Olmsted Falls who finished the season with 16 wins this year.
Tomorrow will mark the first time that Ottawa Glandorf has ever faced Huron, but it will mark the second time OG has played a team from the Sandusky Bay Conference as they lost to Clyde in the 1995 Regional Finals to Clyde.
One interesting note from the Titans fourth straight Regional trip is that it will mark the 27th consecutive year that at least one team from Putnam County has made it that far.
The game can be heard live on www.zsportslive.com at approx 8pm from the ONU Sports Center with myself, Steve Wiener and Leipsic Vikings Assistant Coach Chris Kuhlman with the winner advancing to the Regional Finals at 7pm on Saturday night against the winner of the earlier game as 21-4 Lima Central Catholic matches up with 18-7 Worthington Christian at 6pm in Ada.
LIMA – It was Hall of Fame night at Lima Stadium Saturday night, but it was Glen Frazier who was on display.
The last time Pickerington and Lima met in June, the Warriors offense gave away some points and the team trailed at the half. That would not be the case on this night however as Lima started the scoring early when on their first offensive play from scrimmage, Justin Henderson tossed a 34 yard pass into the middle of the endzone right into the arms of Billy Cozad to put the home team on the scoreboard and ahead for good 6-0 just 52 seconds in.
Devin Stover recovered his second fumble of the game on the next Wildcats drive, but the Warriors were forced into their only punt of the game on their next drive. Glen Frazier capped off a 10 play 55 yard drive that spanned over five minutes late in the first quarter as he plunged in from 3 yards out to put the Warriors on top 14-0 when Jason Diley added his second extra point on the night.
Riley Bransteter’s interception on the next drive provided the third of six eventual turnovers and once again led to a Frazier touchdown, but through the air this time as Henderson lobbed his second touchdown pass of the day to him from 3 yards out to make it 22-0 following a botched snap and a completed pass from Billy Cozad to Kaene Runion just seconds into the second quarter.
A quick three and out led to Lima utilizing another long scoring drive, this time going 8 plays 62 yards in 5:46 and running the score to 29-0 as Frazier bolted in from 12 yards out for his second rushing td of the game.
Justin Henderson tossed his third of four scoring strikes on the night as he lofted one perfectly down the right sideline that Runion floated under and walked into the endzone for a 62 yard touchdown reception that ran the score to 36-0 with 5:21 left in the half.
Anthony “Tone” Mikesell did what he has done so many times as a Lima Warrior on the ensuing drive, recover a fumble to set up his offense. David Johnson scored on the first of his two touchdown rushes and sent the game to the half with the Warriors on top 43-0.
Once halftime commenced, the Warriors gave back to four members of the organization who have helped to make it what it is today by inducting them as the 2013 Lima Warriors Hall of Fame class.
Jason and Jeremy Bott, Toledo Mitchell, and Debbie Hanlin were inducted on Saturday night in front of the Lima Stadium crowd.
Fireworks started as the second half began as Jay Jay Johnson returned the second half kick 65 yards to the Pickerington 15 yard line. A sure fire future Hall of Famer himself, Justin Henderson tossed touchdown pass number four on the evening to Porfirio Sutton from 8 yards out to put the home team on top 50-0 following Randy Ryan’s first extra point.
David Johnson, who finished with a team leading 5 carries for 60 yards added his second touchdown of the night on the next drive from 6 yards out to put Lima ahead 56-0 following the missed extra point.
One of the best moments in the game came on the very next series as first year Warrior defensive tackle Bennie Woods picked up a Wildcat fumble and rumbled 8 yards into the endzone for his first career touchdown to put his squad ahead 63-0.
Andrew “Baby” Peel added his third interception of the season and returned the ball 45 yards down to the Pickerington 2 yard line before Glen Frazier added touchdown run number three on the night near the end of the third stanza to put Lima ahead 70-0 and tie the team record for points scored in a game held by Bobby Huttis with 24 as well as Jeremy Bott and Chris Brooks’ record of three rushing td’s in a single contest.
The only score of the fourth quarter came as the Warriors finished off a 12 play 68 yard drive that spanned 10:37 with Glen’s adding his 4th rushing touchdown from 1 yard out to end the game 76-0 Lima and give the Warriors the their second highest scoring output ever. The 76-0 win was also the Warriors biggest point differential win in team history.
Glen Frazier finished the night with 30 yards rushing, 30 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns. Justin Henderson finished with 191 yards passing to go alongside his four touchdowns. Kaene Runion led the way catching the ball with 3 catches for 70 yards including his 62 yard reception.
As a team the Warriors outgained the Wildcats 341-43 on the night.
With the loss, Pickerington falls to 1-7 in HFL play while the Warriors up their record to 6-4 overall, but most importantly they move into second place in the HFL South playoff picture at 6-2 before heading on the road next week to take on the Columbus Fire (12-0, 9-0).