By Michael Burwell
OTTAWA —The bleeding has stopped for Ottawa-Glandorf’s boys basketball team.
After losing three straight games against tough teams in Findlay, Defiance and Lima Senior, the Titans bounced back Friday with a balanced offensive attack in their 67-37 win over Kenton in a Western Buckeye League matchup.
Four Titans scored in double figures. Noah Bramlage, a 6-foot-7 junior who has led O-G throughout the season, had a game-high 17 points despite sitting most of the second quarter because of foul trouble.
“We’re looking for guys to come in and spread the floor a little bit,” O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. “We have to have guys come in there to alleviate some of that pressure.
“If Noah catches the ball with two guys in the area, that’s one thing. The last three games, we’ve had three guys in his area and that’s just too many. So, guys stepping up, that gives them more confidence, gives Noah more confidence and it’s going to make us a better team.”
The third quarter was the difference for the Titans.
O-G (8-6, 3-2 WBL) held a 28-21 lead after a “dry” and “laid back” first half in the eyes of McGlaughlin. But the Titans came out with a 1-3-1 half-court defense with Bramlage up top and forced a couple Kenton turnovers in the first two minutes of the third quarter.
“We play the 1-3-1 sporadically,” McGlaughlin said. “It’s one of those things we do a possession here and there, just try to disrupt their flow. One thing we saw in film was they struggled a little bit against that. We don’t do it a ton, but a possession here and there has been very effective for us.”
The Titans’ zone defense and full-court press led to scoring opportunities on the other end. Kenton got into foul trouble and O-G made the Wildcats pay at the free-throw line.
O-G shot 11 of 12 from the foul line in the third quarter. For the game, the Titans were 23 of 30 (77 percent) as opposed to Kenton’s 10 of 17 (59 percent), and an 18-9 third-quarter scoring advantage increased the lead to 46-30.
“We had some careless turnovers, careless fouls and before you knew it, they were up 15-20 points just like that,” Kenton head coach Matt McCullough said.
The Wildcats (4-6, 0-4 WBL) changed their game plan by slowing things down on offense. Kenton had the ball out front for nearly a minute early in the first quarter before Colyn Blackford made a free throw to give Kenton a 3-2 lead.
“We came in with the game plan of trying to slow down a little bit, limit their possessions, take some time off the clock,” McCullough said. “Our defense has been pretty shaky lately giving up a lot of points. If you’re on the road, trying to limit their possessions would be our best approach to give us a chance later in the game.”
Grant Sherman, a 6-foot-5 senior who shined for the Wildcats on the football field, played for only two minutes in the first half and saw limited playing time because of foul trouble. Sherman usually starts, but he didn’t play the entire first quarter because of “reasons I can’t really say right now,” according to McCullough.
O-G senior point guard Alex Schroeder scored 14 points, including two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter from the same spot on the floor, to increase O-G’s lead to a commanding 60-30.
Zach Kuhlman and Tyler Zender added 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Titans. Zender also grabbed a team-high six rebounds as O-G had a 23-11 advantage on the glass.
Bramlage got things going in the second quarter with a basket down low over Sherman to put O-G ahead 18-10 with 7:50 left until halftime. Later in the quarter, Jordan Verhoff’s 3-pointer off an offensive rebound by Blake Blevins put the Titans ahead 24-14.
Austin Phillips scored 13 points to lead Kenton, with nine of them coming in the first half. Matt Bahr was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 10 points.
kenton (4-6, 0-4 WBL)
Bushong 0-1—1, Sherman 1-0—2, Tra. Downing 2-0–5, Tre. Downing 0-2—2, Bahr 5-0—10, Blackford 0-3—3, Oates 0-1—1, Phillips 5-3—13. TOTALS: 13 10-17—37.
Ottawa-Glandorf (8-6, 3-2 WBL)
Schroeder 4-4—14, Verhoff 2-2—8, Trampe-Kindt 1-1—3, Kuhlman 3-7—13, Zender 3-4—10, Blevins 1-0—2, Bramlage 6-5—17. TOTALS: 20 23-30—67.
Kenton 10 11 9 7 — 37
Ottawa-Glandorf 16 12 18 21 — 67
3-Point GOALS: Kenton 1-4 (Tra. Downing); Ottawa-Glandorf 4-10 (Schroeder 2, Verhoff 2).
rebounds: Kenton 11, Ottawa-Glandorf 23 (Zender 6).
turnovers: Kenton 20, Ottawa-Glandorf 8.
junior varsity: Ottawa-Glandorf, 80-29.