Final Four: Ottawa-Glandorf’s defense too much for Fairland, 55-27
COLUMBUS — So video games really aren’t as good as the real thing.
Fairland coach Jon Buchanan knew what Ottawa-Glandorf would do, but no video simulator or imposter of a scout team could prepare the Lady Dragons’ for the Lady Titans’ defensive pressure.
The result was 17 turnovers and a 21.9 shooting percentage as Fairland fell to Ottawa-Glandorf 55-27 Thursday night in the Division III state semifinals at the Ohio State University Schottenstein Center.
“We knew what their defense was. Any time you play a team like that, it’s kind of a different style maybe than what we’re used to playing against and you can’t simulate that in practice. When you get to a game it’s a little too late to deal with that,” said Buchanan.
“Obviously, Ottawa was athletic, more than what we’d seen from top to bottom through their roster. We’ve played athletic kids throughout our schedule, but top to bottom the eight kids that they put on the court guard well at every position.”
O-G’s defense wore on the Lady Dragons mentally and physically. First team All-Ohio forward Kelsey Riley was forced to handle the ball more than usual and she admitted it affected her performance.
“I was not really in a position to score from the wing. We switched it up and Emily Chapman stepped up and handled the ball. We had shots, we just didn’t make them the ones we did have,” said Riley.
Fairland leading scorer Caitlin Stone — who had made 80 3-pointers on the season — scored just three points on one trifecta with 1:36 to play.
“We just couldn’t handle the ball, we couldn’t make shots, but it was all because of their defense,” said Stone.
Lady Titans’ coach Troy Yant admitted that Stone was a key target of his team’s defense.
“Basically, keep her from touching the ball,” Yant said of the game plan. “We wanted to keep her from hitting any 3s. Basically the easiest way to keep her from hitting any 3s was keep her from touching the ball. We’d seen some of the things she was capable of doing when she could put the ball up.”
Riley finished with 11 points to lead Fairland who finished 22-6. Mackenzie Riley grabbed five rebounds.
Elissa Ellerbrock had 11 points and nine rebounds while Erin Basinger scored 10 points to lead Ottawa-Glandorf (26-2) who will play Versailles in the state championship at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Versailles upset unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Doyletown Chippewa 54-43 in the earlier game.
O-G took a 6-0 lead to start the game and Fairland finally scored on a layup by Mackenzie Riley at the 5:23 mark.
A 12-footer by Ellerbrock and a layup by Danielle Schroeder gave the Lady Titans a 13-3 lead at the end of the quarter.
“Our message to them was let’s us come out and grind it out on defense first and take the offense as it comes to us. I thought the girls did a real good job of establishing our defense and taking their shooters off their spot and making them work for everything. I think they only made one three and they shot a dozen or so,” said Yant.
Fairland was only 2-of-14 from the field in the first half as they fell behind 27-10 at the half. The Lady Dragons did manage to convert 6-of-11 free throws.
“It was their defense. It really wasn’t our offense. I can’t take anything away from Ottawa,” said Buchanan.
“Now, do I think we played a very good game? Absolutely not. What did we shoot? 7-of-32? 1-of-12 from three? Obviously, not a very good shooting performance, but they had a lot to do with that. I would give credit to their defense before I would say that our offense had a whole lot to do with those breakdowns.”
Fairland fell behind 30-10 to begin the second half, but Kelsey Riley made a layup and then came up with a steal that she turned into a three-point play and cut the deficit to 30-15 with 4:47 on the clock.
But O-G went on a 10-2 run to end the quarter and made two foul shots to begin the fourth quarter to make it 42-17.
“We want to attack them before they attack us. That’s been our motto,” said Yant.
Fairland’s only points early in the fourth quarter came on two foul shots each by Taylor Staten and Emily Chapman.
Kelsey Riley converted a three-point play with 3:58 to play, but the Lady Dragons trailed 45-24.
“Their fours and fives guard very well. They can guard you 90 feet away from the basket. A lot of times other team’s fours and fives are going to guard in the paint. Ottawa can guard you 94 feet away from the basket as well as their guards can,” said Buchanan.
The state tournament trip was the second straight for the Lady Dragons who have posted four straight 20-win seasons and four straight district titles. The senior group has won more than 90 games.
Buchanan said no one gave the team much of a chance to return to the Final Four.
“It was a surprise to the, but there’s 15 people (players) and three coaches who expected to be here. We expect to have success,” said Buchanan.
Fairland 3 7 7 10 = 27
Ottawa-Glandorf 13 14 13 15 = 55
FAIRLAND (22-6): Taylor Staten 0-1 4-5 4, Mackenzie Riley 1-4 2-4 4, Kelsey Riley 4-7 3-5 11, Caitlin Stone 1-10 0-0 3, Jenna Fulks 1-3 1-2 3, Emily Chapman 0-4 2-2 2, Maddie Kazee 0-0 0-0 0, Donyele Edwards 0-0 0-0 0, Morgan Fridley 0-0 0-0 0, Sarah Warnock 0-0 0-0 0, Whitney Huff 0-1 0-0 0, Alesha Simpson 0-2 0-2 0. Totals: 7-32 12-20 27. 3-point goals: 1-12 (Stone 1-6, Staten 0-1, M. Riley 0-1, Chapman 0-3, Huff 0-1). Rebounds: 9-off, 14-def. = 23 (M. Riley 5, Simpson 4, Chapman 3, Stone 3). Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 4 (M. Riley 2, K. Riley 1, Chapman 1). Steals: 5 (Staten, Fridley, Chapman, Stone, K. Riley 1 each). Turnovers: 17. Blocked shots: 2 (Fulks 2). Fouls: 20. Fouled out: M. Riley (4th 3:32), Fulks (4th 3:09).
OTTAWA-GLANDORF (26-2): Dani Ellerbrock 2-6 0-1 5, Elissa Ellerbrock 4-9 2-2 11, Anna Bellman 0-1 1-2 1, Erin Basinger 3-4 4-6 10, Danielle Schroeder 2-7 3-6 7, Kylie White 3-7 0-0 2-3 8, Lexi Schroeder 2-3 1-2 5, Kadie Hempfling 1-2 2-2 4, Sydney Heitmeyer 0-0 0-0 0, Devon Warnecke 0-0 2-2 2, Carri Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Mackenzie Meyer 1-2 0-0 2, Kianna Siefker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-42 17-26 55. 3-point goals: 2-7 (D. Ellerbrock 1-1, E. Ellerbrock 1-2, D. Schroeder 0-4). Rebounds: 17-off. 19-def. = 36 (E. Ellerbrock 9, White 4). Team rebounds: 6. Assists: 13 (D. Ellerbrock 5, E. Ellerbrock 2, L. Schroeder 2, Hempfling 2). Steals: 12 (E. Ellerbrock 3, Hampfling 3, Basinger 2, White 2). Turnovers: 12. Blocked shots: None. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.