First half run by Glandorf ends Western's season

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Mar 10, 2018 at 8:01 PM

LEXINGTON — It worked for about a quarter.

But given the challenge the Western Reserve girls basketball team was facing in Saturday’s Division III regional championship game — it was going to take all 32 minutes.

The Roughriders jumped out to a 12-8 lead with under 90 seconds left in the first quarter against Ottawa-Glandorf, which was seeking its fourth straight regional title.

But then the Titans and standout Kadie Hempfling got things rolling, and the ‘Riders couldn’t slow them down. O-G (25-2) went on a 20-2 scoring run to close the first and start the second quarter en route to a 62-40 win at Lexington High School.

The Titans — ranked No. 9 in the final Associated Press state poll — advance to the state semifinals again, while Western concludes a historic season at 23-4. The ‘Riders equaled their best finish in program history with the regional runners-up trophy, which last happened in 2010.

“That second quarter obviously really hurt,” Western Reserve coach Brett Robson said of the 16-4 scoring edge for the Titans. “Their pressure didn’t cause so much problems early as much as they picked up their intensity and started hitting the boards hard.

“They started getting second opportunities down there, and then they took advantage of it,” he added.

Western started fast, getting two early baskets from Cora Wyers, then six straight points from Brooke Ommert for a 10-6 lead. A driving layup by Andrea Robson gave the ‘Riders a 12-8 lead at the 1:27 mark of the first quarter.

But Erin Kaufman scored a basket and was fouled, but missed the free throw. However, Hempfling, a Bowling Green commit, was there for the rebound and putback to tie the game at 12. Hempfling then closed the quarter with a driving basket to put the Titans up 14-12 after one.

“We were mixing some things up in the first quarter, and it didn’t work for us,” Glandorf coach Troy Yant said. “We were going back and forth from man-to-man to zone defense, then we went straight to man and put a little more pressure on them.

“It’s what we do, so once we got out of zone because they were big, we got back to what we do,” he added.

Wyers opened the second quarter with a basket to tie the game at 14 — but it was all Titans from there.

Glandorf went on a 14-0 scoring run over the next 5:16 of the quarter to open up a 28-14 lead with 1:38 left in the half.

Hempfling led the fast break with steals and key passes to ignite the run, and scored four points herself in the stretch.

It was a 30-16 halftime lead, with O-G shooting 14-of-28 in the 16 minutes compared to just 5-of-21 for Western.

“We tried to put Kadie in a situation where she could read and get deflections or steals,” Yant said of Hempfling, who finished with 17 points (8-of-10 shooting), six rebounds, four assists and 10 steals.

“Western did a real good job early on breaking our pressure and getting down the floor,” Yant said. “Robson got to the rack a few times and made some nice passes to their bigs. We made some minor adjustments to fix that, and it kind of sealed the deal.”

In the second half, Wyers scored again for the ‘Riders to get within 12 (30-18) — but Western got no closer.

The Titans extended the lead to 48-28 through three quarters, and essentially held serve from there with a 14-12 scoring edge in the fourth.

“There is a reason they are 112-11 these past four years,” Robson said. “That is a quality team and program that did what they needed to do to win the game. They’ve certainly earned a fourth straight trip to state, so give them a lot of credit.”

Kaufman added 14 points for Glandorf, with Paige Sutter adding 10 as the Titans shot 28-of-54 (52 percent) and held a 36-16 scoring advantage in the paint.

Wyers led Western with 13 points, while Ommert and Robson each added eight.

To reach the Elite Eight, the ‘Riders pulled off last-minute wins over Seneca East (43-41), Margaretta (44-40, 2OT) and Amanda-Clearcreek (34-30).

“We told the kids we were proud of their accomplishments and efforts,” Brett Robson said. “We didn’t get any breaks or gimmies to get to this game, we earned the right to be here by beating three really good teams.

“The bottom line is we just played a good, quality team — and gave them what we had,” he added.

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