GIBSONBURG - The Ottawa Hills boys basketball team didn't shoot very well last night.
The Green Bears struggled to make shots in the first three quarters of their Division IV district semifinal against Monroeville. In the final quarter, OH missed five of its first eight free throws.
But Ottawa Hills did so many things right, especially on defense and in rebounding, the Green Bears were able to claim a 59-41 win over the Eagles.
"At this point in the season, it's all about results," said senior guard Eliot Browarsky, who finished with 26 points. "No matter how you get [wins] - whether it's sloppy or it's pretty - you just have to get them. We get to play Friday, and that's all that matters."
The Green Bears improve to 21-1 overall entering its district final against Norwalk St. Paul Friday.
Ottawa Hills made just 4 of 14 shots (28.6 percent) in the first quarter, but a run of nine straight points in a three-minute span late in the period gave the Green Bears a 13-8 lead.
OH shot a little better in the second, making just 6 of 15 shots (40 percent). But that was due mainly to an impressive effort on the boards that saw the Green Bears corral seven offensive rebounds and turn them into easy baskets.
"We felt we had an advantage rebounding because we were a little quicker to the ball around the basket than they were," Ottawa Hills coach John Lindsay said. "We tried to make the effort to not only attack the offensive glass, but to finish [and get points]."
Leading by 10 at the break, the Green Bears held Monroeville scoreless over the first 4:37 of the third quarter to expand their lead to 34-19. Ottawa Hills got a pair of 3-pointers by Andrew Jamieson late in the quarter to lead 42-21 entering the final period.
The Eagles made a bit of a run in the fourth quarter, cutting their deficit to 50-39 with 2:46 left. The biggest problem for Ottawa Hills was that string of early misses at the foul line.
"The free-throw shooting at the end bothered me," Lindsay said. "I've got a lot of confidence in our guys. Eliot is a gamer; if you keep fouling him, he'll start hitting [the free throws].
"But in addition to us not hitting free throws, we had at least three defensive breakdowns that let them get to the basket. I think in the end we did a little better job of tightening up the defense, communicating on switches, and packing the paint."
Browarsky made his last seven free throws to sew up the win.
Jamieson finished with 17 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while Browarsky had seven boards and freshman Lucas Janowicz added six. J.J. Buckey also finished in double figures with 11 points.
Skylar Old had 14 points - 12 of which came in the fourth quarter - to lead Monroeville (11-12), while Cory Long had 10. The Eagles' leading scorer, Ryan Stowar, had only three.
"Defense is a big part of our team," Browarsky said. "Bobby Brunner did a great job on their best player [Stower]. But our defense also was a team effort.
"And our rebounding may speak to us wanting it more. We got the final last year and lost by one point, so we're hungry this year."
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