Two of northwest Ohio’s most consistently successful boys basketball programs will converge on Wednesday as third-ranked, three-time state champion Ottawa-Glandorf faces 11th-ranked Archbold in the 8 p.m. Division III regional semifinal at Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center.
Under seventh-year head coach Tyson McGlaughlin (146-38 record), O-G opened the season at 19-0 before having its unbeaten season spoiled in a 54-53 loss Feb. 10 at Lexington.
The Titans have rolled into regionals with three one-sided tourney wins — beating Spencerville (88-42) in sectional action before downing Paulding (82-40) and Coldwater (87-67) in district play. They are outscoring foes by an average of 76.6 to 53.8 per game this season.
O-G has made seven trips to the state final four, winning titles in 2004 under coach Dave Sweet (Division II, 27-1), in 2008 under coach Josh Leslie (D-III, 23-5), and in 2013 under McGlaughlin (D-III, 26-3).
The Titans (24-1) were D-II state runners-up in 1996 and also reached state semifinals in 1977, 1978, and 2012.
Archbold (21-3) has its own impressive resume, but that doesn’t stop 34th-year coach Doug Krauss from admiring O-G’s accomplishments.
“We have the utmost respect for O-G basketball,” Krauss said, “but at the same time we feel we do things pretty well around here too.
“What they've accomplished throughout the years has been the benchmark for northwest Ohio public school teams. Their success is a result of good players, fine coaching, and great community support.”
During the Krauss regime, Archbold is 561-218 overall with 18 Northwest Ohio Athletic League titles, has reached 10 regionals, and has advanced to the state final four five times.
His top-ranked 1996 team finished 26-1 with a loss in the D-III state championship game, and Krauss also guided teams to D-III state semifinals in 2003, 2005, 2006, and last season.
The Blue Streaks returned four starters from last year’s state team, a group that includes first-team all-district wing Bryce Williams, a 6-foot-3 senior who averages 14.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Williams’ 30-point effort keyed Archbold’s 74-65 district-final win against fifth-ranked Cardinal Stritch (23-2) last Saturday.
“I felt our district [field] was the toughest of the northwest Ohio districts, and whoever came out to regional will have earned it,” said Krauss, whose Streaks topped 18-7 Eastwood in the district semifinals. “We played two teams who had a total of 41 wins.
“Both Eastwood and Stritch were athletic, and I felt our guys competed and stayed poised, as in both games we had to get through some tough spots.”
The Streaks’ other returning starters are seniors Eli Miller (5-9 guard, 6.2 points, 4.7 assists) and Kaiden Bedsole (6-0 forward, 5.8 points) and junior Rigo Ramos (6-5 forward, 11.2 points, 4.1 rebounds).
Junior starter Austin Wiemken (10.7 points, 4.3 rebounds), a 6-2 forward, was a sub on last year’s team. He scored 18 points in Saturday’s win against Stritch.
“Many of our guys have been through some nice tourney runs,” Krauss said. “Having that experience, particularly at the guard position, is huge.
“There's no guarantees, and our guys understand that it takes 32 minutes a night to give yourself a chance to play again.”
Archbold is outscoring opponents 63.1 to 41.5 per game this season.
Their three losses this season have all come against teams ranked among the top three spots in the final Ohio polls — a 60-54 nonleague loss at Wauseon on Dec. 2, a 67-56 NWOAL loss to those same Indians on Jan. 19, and a 70-65 setback at Ottawa-Glandorf on Dec. 23.
NWOAL champion Wauseon (25-0) is the top-ranked team in Division II, and will be facing Lexington in a regional semifinal at BGSU at 8 p.m. Thursday.
O-G’s Titans are led by 6-5 senior forward Jay Kaufman, who was named northwest Ohio district player of the year after averaging 18.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists during the regular season.
Owen Hiegel, a crafty 5-10 junior point guard, was a second-team all-district selection on the strength of his 15.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game, and third-team district honors went to 6-4 junior forward Ethan White (10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.1 steals). Another force inside with Kaufman is 6-6, 220-pound senior center Jake Dible.
“They’ve been really shooting it well and of course they will bring the pressure,” Krauss said of O-G. “A key factor will be to limit their second-chance points and to make them work offensively.
“We will also need to attack their pressure, and not back down. Hiegel, Kaufman, and Dible have all been keys to their success. The fact we played them is positive, but that game will have nothing to do with what happens Wednesday.”
The Archbold/O-G winner will play in Saturday’s 7 p.m. regional final against the winner of Wednesday’s 6:15 p.m. semifinal between Carey (20-6) and 10th-ranked Columbus Africentric (19-6).
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