COLUMBUS — With its biggest battles having already been waged during the state basketball tournament, Ottawa-Glandorf found cruise control yesterday in the Division II championship game.
The third-ranked Titans (27-1) proved they were No. 1 with a convincing 75-42 pounding of Canal Fulton Northwest (25-2) before a capacity crowd of 18,200 at Value City Arena.
O-G took a 33-19 lead to halftime, then put the game away by pushing its edge to 58-31 with a 25-12 third quarter.
Although 6-5 senior twin brothers Tim and Eric Pollitz again set the pace for O-G, a balanced attack secured the school's first state title in four final-four appearances.
Eric Pollitz led O-G with game highs of 21 points (9-of-12 shooting), 15 rebounds, eight assists and three steals before exiting with 3:06 left and his team ahead 70-39.
Brother Tim, although limited to 18 minutes by foul trouble, chipped in with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting to cap his 31/2 year varsity career with a school-record 1,689 points.
“We played an outstanding game today, there's no doubt about that,” Titans coach Dave Sweet said. “We played probably the most solid game [all season] defensively and offensively from start to finish.
“One of the big keys was in the second quarter when Tim went to the bench in some foul trouble and we went to halftime with a 14-point lead because of play from Eric Lammers, Craig Fortman and Matt Fought. The rest of the team came in and contributed in big fashion, and Eric showed good leadership.”
When asked where they will play college basketball, the twins said they were still undecided, bringing an editorial aside from their coach.
“Their stock better go up,” said Sweet about their lack of Division I college offers.
Sophomore forward Fought added 10 points and senior forward Fortman nine as 11 players scored for the Titans, who had been denied a trip to the final four the prior two years by losses in regional finals in Toledo against basketball phenom LeBron James and his Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary squad.
“Obviously that was a big obstacle to go around,” Eric Pollitz said of James and SVSM. “Losing to him was heartbreaking the last two years in the regional final.
“With this being our senior year, we felt it was our time. Beating Akron really helped us out going into the state tournament. It gave us a lot of confidence.”
The runaway final was somewhat of an anticlimactic experience for O-G, which had battled to close wins over Walsh Jesuit (58-55) and SVSM (54-52) in the regional, and Dover (61-60) in Friday's state semifinal.
The final margin represented the Titans' most lopsided win since they opened with a 75-39 pounding of Lima Bath in sectional play.
It also eliminated any late-game drama for Sweet (439-150 over 25 seasons), whose 1996 O-G team lost 64-63 to Orrville in the D-II state final. A miscommunication on an inbounds play in the closing seconds prevented the Titans, who had rallied from an 18-point deficit, from getting off a potential game-winning shot in that game.
“It slams it out of my mind big time,” Sweet said when asked if this will help him forget '96.
The sellout crowd was the sixth since the state tournament moved to Value City Arena in 1999, and the first one not involving LeBron James and Akron SVSM, which had three state titles and a runner-up finish (2000-2003).
Northwest had its only lead of the game 24 seconds in when Vince Baiera hit a 15-foot jumper from the left baseline to open the scoring.
O-G guard Garrett Lauf answered 18 seconds later with a 15-footer from the right wing and, when Tim Pollitz hit one of two free throws for the Titans at the 6:27 mark, O-G took the lead for good.
“Ottawa has a great basketball team and they took us out of the things we wanted to do early and we just never got into the flow of the game,” Northwest coach Jim Lower said. “That's a credit to them. We got ourselves down and we just could never get back in. We were playing from behind the whole time.”
“They're just great players,” Lower said of the Pollitz twins. “They handle the ball so well, they see the court well, they're 6-5 and they can play anyplace on the basketball court. You don't find too many people who can play inside and outside like that.”
Ottawa-Glandorf was 30-of-54 (56 percent) from the field, 14-of-26 from the line, and hammered the Indian on the boards 45-25. Northwest was 15-of-51 (29 percent) from the field and 10-of-19 from the line.
Vinnie Sette topped the Indians with 12 points.