Ohio High School Basketball: St. Henry, Ottawa-Glandorf surprise district finalists in Elida


Elida Division III District
Justin Shomaeker helped spark Ottawa-Glandorf to a 22-6 run that helped it pull away from Rockford Parkway Wednesday in a Division III boys district semifinal at Elida High School. In the other semifinal, St. Henry pulled a shocking upset, handing No. 1 ranked Liberty-Benton its first loss of the season and a ticket home.

ELIDA – Justin Shomaeker jacked up a 3-pointer from the corner early in the third quarter and nailed it, pumping his fists as he ran back down the floor, the crowd roaring to its feet as Ottawa-Glandorf closed the gap to a single point in a tournament tilt against Parkway Wednesday night.

It wasn't long before the Titans had control of the game as Shomaker's trey was part of a descisive 22-6 run that stretched into the fourth and propelled O-G to a 72-59 win over the Panthers in a Division III district semifinal at the Elida Fieldhouse.

In the other semifinal top-ranked Liberty-Benton (21-1) came up short in its bid to stay on track for a second consecutive trip to state, falling 51-38 to St. Henry (14-8).

Parkway led 35-29 with 6:20 to play in the third. Less than two minutes later, Shomaeker was making a layup that gave the Titans (18-5) the lead for good at 40-39.

By the time its run was over, O-G was on top 51-41 and well on its way to a trip to the district final at 1 p.m. Saturday against the Redskins.

“It was a great feeling hitting that shot, especially in a tournament game” said Shomaeker, a senior forward who lit up the Panthers (12-11) for 21 points. The crowd got into it and we fed off that.”

As good as Shomaeker was on this night, his teammates were just as effective, particularly Jacob Moening, who scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth to help the Titans seal the deal.

Jake Meyer pumped in 13 points for O-G, which shook off a sluggish first-half shooting performance (10-of-27) and finished the game knocking down 28 of its 54 attempts from the floor.

“We started being more aggressive,” Titans head coach Josh Leslie said. “We hit some big shots and we became more effective on defense when we switched to a zone. We don't play it a lot but I thought it worked well, especially with them not having much luck at all hitting their shots from the perimeter.”

Leslie was pleased with the way Moening stepped up in the fourth as well as he, along with Shomaker, helped break open a game that O-G trailed 29-25 at halftime. The Titans led 47-41 going into the final period.

“Jacob stepped up and made some big shots and gave us a huge lift,” Leslie said. “He played a big part in us being able to pull away in the fourth quarter.”

Shomaker said the Titans are at their best when several players provide offensive help.

“It definitely helps a lot to have different guys step up,” Shomaker said. “We are a better team when we get good balance and we need to have balanced scoring if we want to keep going in the tournament.”

Parkway certainly didn't make life easy for the Titans, playing with a tremendous amount of poise and passion as it looked nothing like a team that had lost 10 games.

Josh Fisher (20 points) and Jordan Thompson (19) led the charge, chasing down loose balls and getting second-chance scoring opportunities to keep the Titans from building an early lead.

O-G led 13-8 at one point in the first only to watch as the Panthers trimmed their deficit to 15-14 by the end of the quarter.

Trailing 20-14 with 6:54 left in the second, Parkway closed the half on a 15-5 run, the exclamation point coming when Fisher stole a pass and raced down the floor for a layuup. He was fouled, hit the free throw and Parkway had a 29-25 lead at halftime.

“They were making all the hustle plays and that is the reason why we were down four at halftime,” Leslie said. “I could count eight or 10 points that came from straight hustle plays. You can't let that happen in the tournament or you are going to get beat.”

The Titans corrected their problem in the second half and forced the Panthers to shoot just 12-of-39 from the floor in the final two quarters. Parkway was 23-of-61 overall, including a 2-of-22 showing from beyond the arc.

“Everything starts with how we play defense,” Shomaeker said. “We dug deep and played with more intensity. Everything else fell into place.”

The Titans now face off against St. Henry.

Shomaker is confident the Titans can get the job done.

“We feel pretty good about the way we are playing,” Shomaeker said. “We have had a pretty good season and that is a credit to the team chemistry we have. All of us get along well and it's played a big role in our success.”

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