ELIDA — Archbold appeared to be on their way to a win over Ottawa-Glandorf in the final minutes of Wednesday’s Division III boys basketball regional semifinal…until the Titans stormed back. Their pressure defense forced the Blue Streaks to become erratic, and the Titans took advantage, orchestrating a 14-4 run over the final four minutes to earn a 52-48 win.
O-G went on to defeat Johnstown-Monrow 64-56 in the regional final Saturday back at Elida, thus earning a trip to the state tournament.
On the other side, Archbold closes the book on an impressive season in which they posted a 21-5 record.
“I am as proud as I can possibly be of this team,” said head coach Joe Frank. “We overcame a lot of early-season adversity with quarantines and were 3-3 at the end of December. We lost only one regular season game in January and February combined (Toledo Christian) and won NWOAL, sectional, and district titles. The seniors were absolutely tremendous in providing leadership and work ethic for this team. Noah Gomez, Trey Theobald, Austin Roth, Jayden Schulze, Kenny Williams, and Kobe Kennedy — who was injured for most of his junior and senior season — all played vital roles in the success of this team. The underclassmen had great role models to follow, both on and off the court, and the seniors will certainly be missed.”
The Streaks were led by Ashton Kammeyer’s 18 points and DJ Newman who scored 15.
The two teams were tied at 37 entering the fourth quarter after Newman and the Titans’ Owen Nichols traded baskets in the final 45 seconds of the third.
In the first two minutes of the fourth a Kammeyer floater, plus his fastbreak bucket off a dish from Noah Gomez gave Archbold a four-point edge with 6:07 left. Kammeyer scored 12 of his 18 in the second half.
“Ashton played his best game of the year offensively and played with a lot of confidence,” said Frank of Kammeyer’s night. “It wasn’t a complete surprise because we have seen glimpses of this before — especially in practice. He was a huge reason behind our competing with a very good O-G squad.”
A Blue Streak turnover which ultimately led to Frank getting a technical called on him for arguing with the officials, gave the Titans a chance at the foul line where Brennen Blevins split a pair. However, Archbold’s Austin Roth drilled a 3-pointer with just under four minutes to go that made it a 44-38 advantage.
Ottawa-Glandorf’s Carter Schimmoeller got a friendly bounce on his three at the 3:44 mark, slicing the Archbold lead in half.
Then the turnovers came.
After the first, the Streaks fouled Blevins who hit on a pair at the line. Another Blue Streak giveaway led to a trip to the foul line for Nichols, who went 1 for 2 to tie the game with 2:26 remaining.
The Titans went on top 46-44 45 seconds later after Eli Schmenk was found on a backdoor cut to the hoop following an O-G steal. They stole it again on the ensuing Archbold possession and Blevins turned it into a three-point play that put them up five with 1:21 to go.
“I just think that O-G played with a greater sense of urgency and we had trouble handling their traps all over the floor. We handled what they threw at us the first three and a half quarters with only five turnovers but had five in the last three minutes or so,” said Frank on how the Titans’ pressure affected his team down the stretch.
With nine seconds left Kammeyer got the Streaks within a deuce, 50-48, but O-G closed it out with a pair of free throws from Nichols.
Nichols led all scorers with 22 points. He had 11 in each half. Blevins finished with 13 points for the Titans.
Behind Nichols’ stellar play O-G led by as many as nine in the first half. But, despite trailing 16-10 after the first quarter, Archbold limited the Titans to half that point total in the second quarter — a frame where they held a 9-8 edge.
This put the margin at 24-19 at the half in favor of O-G.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.