BOWLING GREEN – Remember the Titans.
You can be sure that LCC will as Wednesday night it was the Titans from Ottawa Glandorf who avenged an early season 51-48 home loss to the same Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds 60-52 in front of a sell-out crowd of 4,700 in Bowling Green at the Stroh Center.
OG improved their all-time OHSAA tournament record to 24-4 in games played in the city of Bowling Green with one of the best 2-3 zone defenses they have played all season. “We went with the 2-3 zone because we thought it would alter some of the things they like to do. (But) did I think it would get us a 15-point cushion at the half … I did not,” Titan coach Tyson McGlaughlin said after his defense stifled every LCC shooter not named Tre’on Johnson who finished his brilliant T-Bird career with a 26 points output. Johnson was especially on fire in the fourth quarter as he dazzled the crowd with fantastic dribbling and deep shots while connecting on 6 of 9 shots from beyond the arc.
After jumping on the athletic T-Birds early the Titans poured it on in the first quarter to lead 17-7 as the clock hit zero. The second stanza was just as cold and unforgiving as the Titans opened the quarter on an 11-0 run and led at the break by a 31-16 score. One of the big keys going into the game was that it would need to be the inside play of OG that would have to have a big night against the undersized T-Bird defenders. Michael Rosebrock and Noah Bramlage responded for the Titans as they led paint points by a 10-0 margin as the two squads headed to their locker rooms for a breather and some words of encouragement from their coaches.
With OG able to key on Johnson they could continue to sit back in their 2-3 zone and wait for the shooters to come to them in the second half as they held every other shooter for LCC to 7 points or less in the game. As fouls began to mount in the second half they began to take their toll on the LCC starting lineup as Martyce Kimbrough picked up his fourth foul early in the fourth and was relatively ineffective for the rest of the game as he finished with only 4 points, well under his almost 14 points per game average on the season.
Following a third quarter in which both teams scored 11 points the fans who didn’t head for the exits early were treated to a fantastic back and forth quarter that saw the veteran Thunderbirds take on the personality of their Coach Frank Kill when he played and won a state title with Lincolnview in the 90’s by never giving up and cutting it to as low as 3 before the Titans pulled away for good. TJ Metzger who finished with a team high 23 points iced the game late as he knifed through the lane, hit a spinning reverse layup and the ensuing free throw to give his team a 57-50 lead with just 50 seconds remaining. “TJ is the Northwest District Player of the Year for a reason. He’s a baller,” Kill said.
In addition to the 23 from Metzger, his teammate Caleb Siefker finished with 21 to go along with his 10 rebounds. OG outrebounded LCC 37-30 in the game, but got the big rebounds when it counted too.
With the win the Titans improve to 23-3 on the season while ending LCC’s 2012-2013 campaign at 23-3.
Saturday night Ottawa Glandorf will look to sell out the Stroh Center once again as they head north to BG to take on the 26-1 Bloom Carroll Bulldogs at 7:30pm for a chance to play next weekend in Columbus for a State Championship. Bloom Carroll defeated Huron 62-54 to win their first Regional Semi-Finals game since 2005. The Bulldogs will be led by Joey Schmitz who scored 26 in the win.