BOWLING GREEN — Ottawa Hills owned the Division IV regional semifinal against Colonel Crawford last night at the Stroh Center.
R.J. Coil and Lucas Janowicz scored 14 and 10 points, respectively, to lead the Green Bears to a decisive 53-40 victory over an overmatched Eagles team.
Ottawa Hills owned a lead most of the way and led by as many as 22 points in the second half before Colonel Crawford trimmed the lead late with members of the Green Bears’ starting lineup sitting comfortably on the bench.
"The old saying is, 'You want to be playing your best basketball in March,' and right now, we are," Ottawa Hills coach John Lindsay said.
Ottawa Hills will play in a regional final on Friday at the Stroh Center against Leipsic, which knocked off Edgerton 57-49 in a matchup that took place prior to Ottawa Hills' victory on Bowling Green State University's home court.
A win over Leipsic will send Ottawa Hills to the D-IV state semifinals for the second time in four seasons.
"We've worked hard all year for this," said Coil, who also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
PHOTO GALLERY: Ottawa Hills defeats Colonel Crawford
Yet, with an obvious size advantage in the frontcourt, led by 6-foot-8 Coil, 6-6 Geoff Beans, and 6-4 Janowicz, the Green Bears made it look easy defeating a talented, but undersized Colonel Crawford team whose tallest player stood 6-4.
The Green Bears finished out the first quarter owning a 15-6 lead over the Eagles, and their size worked well in their favor in the early part of the game.
The Green Bears won the rebounding battle (23-18) and, oftentimes, scored on putbacks to outdo the Eagles 20-10 in points scored in the paint. Defensively, their edge near the basket allowed few second-chance looks at the rim for the Eagles.
"We've hit a pretty good stride right now," Lindsay said. "What we're doing well is executing at the offensive end."
Ben Silverman and Beans added nine points each and Blake Pappas scored eight to give Ottawa Hills (22-4) a balanced attack against Colonel Crawford (20-6).
Despite facing a team for the first time with a player taller than 6-4, Colonel Crawford coach Dave Sheldon thought the Eagles' problems weren't entirely due to the Green Bears' size advantage in the frontcourt.
"The bottom line is we didn't make shots, and this is a night we couldn't throw it into the post because of 6-9, 6-6, and 6-4 in the post," Sheldon said, referring to Ottawa Hills' frontcourt of Coil, Beans, and Janowicz. "We just didn't throw it into the ocean tonight."
Nonetheless, the Eagles went into halftime only down by seven points to the Green Bears after Silverman swished a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer sounded to give Ottawa Hills a 20-13 cushion.
The Green Bears came out plenty charged up in the second half and scored the first eight points in the third quarter to increase their lead to 28-13 over the Eagles.
Beans, who failed to score in the first half, opened the period with a basket to make it 22-13. Pappas gave the Green Bears a 26-13 lead moments later when he came away with a clean steal and scored on a layup with 6:41 left in the quarter. Janowicz followed with a basket from close range to make it 28-13 with 6:13 remaining in the quarter and the beginning of the end of the Eagles' hopes of a comeback were in the works.
Colonel Crawford's Spencer Tackett finally broke the scoring drought in the third quarter when he came up with an offensive rebound and scored on a putback to make it 28-15 with 5:16 left in the period.
Ottawa Hills outscored Colonel Crawford 18-6 during the quarter and went into the fourth quarter with a 38-19 advantage after Pappas scored on an uncontested fastbreak layup with one second left to play in the quarter.
"It was a game-changer the way we came out in the third quarter," Pappas said.
Only a complete collapse in the fourth quarter by the Green Bears appeared to be the only opportunity for the Eagles to climb back into the game against an Ottawa Hills team that was basically controlling every aspect of the contest.
And the Green Bears didn't allow that to occur.
Nate Keingenberger and Connor McCreary led Colonel Crawford with 12 points apiece.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.