Van Wert’s Caylee Phillips (23) drives to the basket for a shot as Ottawa-Glandorf’s Jasmin Rich (40) defends on the play.
Van Wert’s Caylee Phillips (23) drives to the basket for a shot as Ottawa-Glandorf’s Jasmin Rich (40) defends on the play.

OTTAWA — Ottawa-Glandorf’s defensive pressure is hard to prepare for.

No matter how well teams think they are prepared for it, it’s hard to simulate the pressure an O-G defense could look like in practice. Van Wert’s girls basketball team found this out Thursday evening.

The Titans pressure led to several turnovers by the Cougars early allowing O-G to build a quick lead. That lead continued to grow throughout the night as the Titans raced past the Cougars 78-35 in Western Buckeye League action.

O-G, ranked fourth in Division III, is now 4-0 in the WBL and 12-1 overall. The Titans sit atop the league standings alone after previous unbeatens Defiance and Wapakoneta both lost Thursday night. Bath, Defiance and Wapakoneta are all 3-1 in the league.

It didn’t take long for Ottawa-Glandorf to get their defensive pressure established Thursday evening. Of their first 12 points, four baskets came after a Cougar miscue, plus they forced a handful more turnovers that they didn’t turn into points. For the game, Van Wert turned the ball over 44 times (according to the O-G stats).

“It’s (the O-G defense) hard to prepare for,” Van Wert coach Rob Adams said. “We had too many turnovers that first quarter and that’s hard for us.We bank on having a very, very small margin for error with the girls we have. When you face pressure like that, you can’t look at that in practice. We prepare, we practice to get where we want to be, but O-G is a different beast. Coach (Troy) Yant has a heck of a team and I look forward to them making another long tournament run.”

O-G scored the first 10 points of the game as six points were the result of Van Wert turnovers and they scored two points after grabbing an offensive rebounds. Sierra Shaffer broke the Titan run with a free throw as the Cougars would not score their first basket until their was 3:10 left in the quarter when Abby Jackson hit a jumper. The Titans had a 15-3 lead at that point and ended the quarter up 20-6 after the Cougars’ Jerica Huebner and O-G’s Kasey Ellerbrock traded three’s to end the first eight minutes.

Things didn’t get any better for Van Wert in the second quarter as O-G scored the first 10 points of the quarter for a 30-6 lead. Jackson broke the Cougars dry spell with a basket with 5:04 left in the half. Despite two three-pointers by Alexis Metz late in the quarter the Titans had a 42-16 halftime lead.

“We threw a new press out that we have been practicing here for the last day or two to see how it would work,” O-G coach Yant said. “I thought the girls responded well. We didn’t really know what we were doing, but they were playing aggressive, maybe more so than what we were doing creating turnovers. I thought even when they fumbled the ball or there was a long rebound, at least the first half, we won every 50-50 ball. We talked about it in the pregame when you gobble up all those extra resources it makes it a lot easier to play basketball.”

Ottawa-Glandorf’s best offensive quarter was the third when they outscored the Cougars 23-8. The Titans went on a 15-0 run in the quarter as they took a 62-21 lead. With the big lead only one O-G starter saw the floor in the fourth quarter.

“That’s a well skilled, well oiled machine,” Adams said. “They return some girls from last year that played with Kadie Hempfling. They have that leadership experience and they play well together. They know where to cut, where to go, how to get open. I told our girls that what’s what good teams should do and we are still developing. The girls understand that.”

Senior Erin Kaufman led O-G with 16 points and freshman Erin Kaufman finished with 15. Ellerbrock added 12 points as 10 Titans scored in the game.

Metz and Jackson both had eight points for the Cougars (0-4, 2-9).

* * *

Van Wert 12- 6- 35: Shaffer 1-1-3; Metz 2-2-8; Smith 0-0-0; Rickard 1-0-2; Carr 1-0-3; Priest 0-0-0; Phillips 1-0-2; Huebner 2-0-6; Schaufelberger 1-1-3; Jackson 3-2-8.

Ottawa-Glandorf 31- 8 - 78: Schroeder 4-1-9; Erford 2-2-6; Sutter 3-0-6; E. Kaufman (Sr.) 6-3-16; Schimmoeller 2-0-5; Ellerbrock 4-0-12; E. Kaufman (Fr.) 6-2-15; Warnecke 0-0-0; Balbaugh 1-0-3; Rich 0-0-0; Siefker 2-0-4; Diller 1-0-2.

Van Wert 6 10 8 11 - 35

Ottawa-Glandorf 20 22 23 13 - 78

Junior Varsity: Ottawa-Glandorf 43-37.

Three-point goals: Van Wert 5 (Metz 2, Carr 1, Huebner 2); Ottawa-Glandorf 8 (E. Kaufman (Sr.) 1, Schimmoeller 1, Ellerbrock 4, E. Kaufman (Fr.) 1, Balbaugh 1).

Rebounds: Van Wert 19, Ottawa-Glandorf 26.

Turnovers: Van Wert 44, Ottawa-Glandorf 17.