VAN WERT — Ohio’s third-ranked Division III team, Ottawa-Glandorf, came to Van Wert Thursday night and, as expected, went back to Ottawa with its 12th win against only one loss (to Ottoville). The Lady Titans, however, had to work hard for their 68-43 win against a feisty bunch of Lady Cougars. O-G is now 4-0 in the Western Buckeye League. Van Wert is 0-4 in the WBL and 2-10 overall.
“We knew they were gonna be fast-paced, every rebound they get is coming up the court quick, they’re excellent on the outlet pass — but I thought we hung in there,” said Van Wert coach Rob Adams. “They had a few runs on us, and that’s the ballgame when you’re playing a nice team like that.”
The Cougs stayed in it early thanks to the 3-point shooting of junior sharpshooter Alexis Metz. She had two triples in the first quarter, during which there were three lead changes. Unfortunately for Van Wert, those were the only Cougar fielders, and the Titans ended the period on a 9-1 run to lead 15-8 at the break.
Metz’s third three of the game got the Cougars within 17-11 with 7:00 left in the second period, but O-G slowly inched away from there. Van Wert sophomore Jerica Huebner rattled in a three from the right wing at 2:20 to make it 30-20, but the visitors ended the period with another run, this one an 8-2 job, to lead 38-22 at the half.
If there remained any doubt about the outcome, that ended quickly in the third quarter as the Cougars went ice-cold from the field and committed a rash of turnovers. A breakaway layup by junior Reagan Priest was Van Wert’s only third-quarter field goal out of ten attempts. O-G also shot badly (5 of 16 from the field) during those eight minutes but still led 48-27 after three.
Seven of the Cougars’ 14 field goals came in an action-packed fourth quarter. That was the only period during which Van Wert shot well from the field (7 of 16), as the Cougs held their own.
Ottawa-Glandorf was solid from the field at 43 percent (30 of 69) with many of those buckets coming in transition. The Titans shot only 29 percent (4 of 14) from three. Van Wert shot an icy 28 percent (14 of 50) from the field, including 26 percent (6 of 23) from long range.
With so many missed shots by both teams, there were plenty of rebounds to be had, and O-G had a 38-30 edge there. The Titans also had fewer turnovers, 11-18.
Van Wert fans were eager to see BGSU-bound two-time WBL Player of the Year Kadie Hempfling in action. She didn’t disappoint, although many of her highlights came via her passing and ball-handling, not her shooting. She playing only a little over half of the game while hitting 7 of 11 field goal attempts for 14 points. Junior Ashley Schroeder also hit double digits with 14, mostly in transition. Thirteen Titans played in the game, and 10 of them scored.
Metz led Van Wert’s scoring with 12 on four 3-pointers. Priest added 9 including 5 of 6 from the line. Ten Cougars saw action in the game and eight of them scored.
“Tonight was about pulling ourselves together and getting ready for the stretch run,” said Adams. “We’ve got ten games left that we think we can be extremely competitive in. That’s our motto from here on out; we want to get competitive in these last games.We’re still learning how to win. We’re laying the foundation right now.”