ELIDA — Ottawa-Glandorf and Liberty-Benton had little trouble cruising into the district finals Thursday.
The Titans beat Columbus Grove 52-33 in the opener of Thursday’s Division III district semifinal round at Elida. In the nightcap, the Eagles shut the door on LCC 76-38.
Ottawa-Glandorf (22-2) will take on Liberty-Benton (21-2) in the district championship at 3 p.m. Saturday at Elida. On Dec. 17, Liberty-Benton beat Ottawa-Glandorf 65-45.
In Thursday’s semifinal opener, the Titans never trailed. Using aggressive, full-court defense and rebound domination, O-G built a 29-13 lead by halftime. Early in the second quarter, they led 21-9.
“We told the girls to play like a vice,” Ottawa-Glandorf coach Troy Yant said. “If we get up or get down, just keep tightening the pressure.”
The Titans defense forced 19 turnovers in the game and allowed Grove to shoot just 9-for-25 from the field (36 percent). O-G didn’t shoot the lights out either — 20-of-47 (42.5 percent) — but destroyed the boards, outrebounding Grove 31-15. Seventeen of the Titan’s rebounds were offensive.
“(The rebounding edge) was a little more surprising,” Yant said. “Teams have been playing zone against us and they showed zone so this week we’d been working on that. But (Danille) Schroeder and Elissa (Ellerbrock) were able to get to the open seams and get rebounds and put backs.”
Ellerbrock led O-G with 13 points and six rebounds while Anna Bellman had 13 points and Schroeder scored six. Eight Titans scored in the game.
“Playing O-G, you know they’re going to go full-court and man ya,” Grove coach Brian Schroeder said. “You know what’s coming but simulating it in practice and countering it is another thing. They just kind of wore us down and the pressure got to us.”
Julia Wynn finished with nine points for Grove (15-10) while Sydney McCluer had eight points.
In game two, Liberty-Benton standout senior guard Rachel Myers drilled 31 points, making 10-of-15 shots from the field. She hit 3-of-4 3-pointers to go with Nicolette Devincentis’ 5-of-10 shooting from behind the arc. Devincentis finished with 21 points.
“Myers is unbelievable,” LCC coach Katie Krieg said. “We knew she would get her shots, but we were hoping to rotate out on the other shooters.”
Still, LCC was able to hang with top-seeded Liberty-Benton through the first half.
After the first quarter, L-B led 16-12 before hitting a trio of 3-pointers to open the second for a 25-12 lead. Then, the Eagles missed seven-straight shots while LCC freshman Madison Stolly went to work down low.
Stolly led a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 26-22 with only seconds remaining in the half. However, the momentum was drained when Myers hit a half-court 3 at the buzzer for a 28-22 lead.
“To be down by only six, we were happy at halftime,” Krieg said. “In the second quarter, we really stepped it up on the boards and Madison really stepped up.”
Part of the reason Stolly was so successful in the second quarter was that 6-foot-2 junior post Lauren Kotey was on the bench in foul trouble. But Kotey returned in the second half and finished with 14 points as Myers and company took over.
L-B ripped off a 13-0 run midway through the third to build a 47-26 lead with 1:35 remaining. From there, the Eagles poured it on and outscored LCC 48-16 in the second half.
While Liberty-Benton’s offense sizzled their defense dominated, clamping down on the paint while budging hardly anything from beyond the arc. LCC finished with only three 3-pointers and all three came in the first quarter.
“We knew they had great 3-point shooters but not a lot inside,” said Liberty-Benton coach Nate Irwin. “Our number one game plan was to stop their shooters. They’re one of those teams that when they string two, three 3-pointers together they really get the momentum going. They shot (22) 3s but they were all contested and that was the key.”
Stolly finished with 17 points for LCC while Meredith Shepherd had eight points.
Columbus Grove 33
Elissa Ellerbrock 13, Anna Bellman 13, Kristen Miller 6, Danielle Schroeder 6, Kylie White 6, Danio Ellerbrock 4, Erin Basinger 2, Jill Rosselit 2.
Julia Wynn 9, Sydney McCluer 8, Sammi Stechschulte 7, Lynea Diller 4, Rachel Schumacher 2, Kyrah Yinger 2, Mady Vorhees 1.
Liberty Benton 76,
Lima Central Catholic 38
Lima Central Catholic
Madison Stolly 17, Meredith Shepherd 8, Sydney Mohler 4, Sydney Santaguida 4, Kayla Verhoff 3, Natalie Snider 2.
Rachel Myers 31, Nicolette Devincentis 21, Laura Kotey 14, Jensen Hiegel 4, Carrie Reynolds 2, Kayla Trevino 2, Colbi Colchagoff 2.