By MICHAEL BURWELL
PAULDING — Tyson McGlaughlin wasn’t feeling the best throughout the day on Friday.
But after the final buzzer sounded in Ottawa-Glandorf’s Division II boys basketball sectional final against Bryan, the Titans’ head coach could breathe easy.
O-G used a 3-point barrage in the first quarter and had balanced scoring throughout the game as the Titans won their 12th straight sectional title with a 72-56 win over Bryan at Paulding High School.
“It wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination one of our better games of the year, but the first game of the tournament’s always the scary one,” McGlaughlin said. “I had an uneasy feeling all day today and to get out of here with a ‘W,’ that’s the most important thing.”
O-G (21-2), the No. 1 seed in the Ada district and No. 5 team in the final Associated Press Division II poll, advanced to take on Elida at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Ohio Northern University.
Elida, the No. 4 seed, topped No. 6 Van Wert 64-58 in the second game at Paulding on Friday.
O-G had the height advantage over Bryan (14-10) with junior forwards Jay Kaufman (6-foot-4) and Jake Dible (6-6). The Golden Bears, whose tallest starter was Peyton Lamberson (6-1), tried to pack it inside to slow down the Titans’ duo.
That opened things up from the outside for the Titans.
O-G had four players combine to make 5 of 6 shots from beyond the arc as the Titans took a 24-13 lead after the first quarter.
Sophomore point guard Owen Hiegel knocked down a pair of “3s”, while Connor Niese, Bryce Schroeder and Ethan White also hit a trey.
The biggest thing was we had to stop the Kaufman kid and Dible down low and I thought we did OK with that,” Bryan coach Brandon Fisher said. “For our size, I thought we kind of stopped that and made them adjust.
“But a couple guys that we were playing off, trying to help off of, hit some 3s on us early. So that kind of backfired pretty quickly.”
The Golden Bears, however, had some firepower from beyond the arc as well as Colt Arthur drained three 3-pointers in a four-minute span in the first and second quarters. His third trey with 4:36 left trimmed the Titans’ lead to 28-21.
O-G, though, closed the half on a 9-0 run. Even with Kaufman, who had game highs of 18 points and nine rebounds, on the bench with two fouls, the Titans expanded their lead.
White scored on a drive to the bucket to start the run. Schroeder, a 5-9 junior, skied for a putback and drained a 3-pointer off Hiegel’s pass.
Hiegel’s jumper at the free throw line with one second left gave the Titans a 37-21 halftime cushion.
“We had a great spurt there,” McGlaughlin said. “White came in there and did a great job and we just got balance from a lot of different guys.
“That’s the key to a good team, when probably your all-stater goes out and you got three or four guys able to come in there and not just keep the lead but extend that lead. That was huge for us.”
Five O-G players scored at least eight points.
Dible scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, including a pair of putbacks in the fourth quarter on back-to-back possessions. Hiegel had 14 points, White nine and Schroeder eight.
The Titans built a 50-31 lead after three quarters on White’s putback at the buzzer. O-G extended its lead to 55-31 after Kaufman found Hiegel on a backdoor cut and drained a 3-pointer.
But the Golden Bears kept hanging around.
Bryan forced seven of O-G’s 10 turnovers in the fourth quarter and trimmed its deficit to 13 with 2:19 left.
Jaden Valderas found Lamberson on a cut to the basket, and Valderas scored off a turnover to cut the Titans’ lead to 62-48 with 2:32 left. After a Kaufman free throw, Evan Smith’s bucket made the score 63-50.
That was as close as the Golden Bears would get.
“We’ve got to have more urgency early,” Fisher said. “I thought we had it in the second half but you’ve got to have it for four quarters against a team like that to be able to compete.”
O-G shot 54 percent (26 of 48) from the floor, including 37 percent (7 of 19) from 3-point range. The Titans had a 30-23 rebounding advantage as Dible snatched eight boards, White five and Hiegel three.
Smith scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, while Lamberson (seven rebounds) and Valderas both added 13 points. The Golden Bears shot 46 percent (22 of 48) from the floor and also had 10 turnovers.
Smith 6-0–15, Valderas 5-3–13, Lamberson 5-3–13, Arthur 3-0–9, Cupp 2-0–4, Jones 1-0–2. TOTALS: 22-48 6-10–56.
Kaufman 5-7–18, Dible 7-1–15, Hiegel 6-0–14, White 3-2–9, Schroeder 3-0–8, Niese 1-1–4, Siefker 1-1–3, Fortman 0-1–1. TOTALS: 26-48 13-19–72.
Bryan 13 8 10 25 — 56
Ottawa-Glandorf 24 13 13 22 — 72
3-POINT GOALS: Bryan 6-19 (Smith & Arthur 3); Ottawa-Glandorf 7-19 (Hiegel & Schroeder 2, Kaufman, White & Niese).
REBOUNDS: Bryan 23 (Lamberson 7); Ottawa-Glandorf 30 (Kaufman 9).
TURNOVERS: Bryan 10, Ottawa-Glandorf 10.
Send an E-mail to Mike Burwell
Boys Basketball: O-G claims 12th straight sectional crown
By MICHAEL BURWELL