The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

Cougars lose double OT heartbreaker

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

Friday night’s double overtime game between Van Wert and No. 4 Ottawa-Glandorf was not short on thrills.

Among other things, the back-and-forth game featured a 30-point outburst by Van Wert’s Aidan Pratt, 46 free throws attempts, including 32 by Ottawa-Glandorf and a late three pointer by Luke Wessell that forced a second overtime. When the game ended, the Titans escaped with a 64-62 win. It was the fourth time the Cougars (8-5, 1-4 WBL) lost a two-point game this season.

Aidan Pratt (15) shrugs off two Ottawa-Glandorf defenders for two of his 30 points. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

“That was a fantastic basketball game in my opinion, other than the outcome from our point of view,” Van Wert head coach Ben Laudick said. “A great game between two good teams and we showed out resiliency again – eventually that resiliency will get us a two-point victory instead of a two-point loss.”

The game didn’t exactly get off to a fast start. Van Wert was just 2-of-16 shooting in the first quarter, including a buzzer-beating layup by Nate Phillips. The Titans didn’t fare much better and led 9-6 entering the second quarter.

Ottawa-Glandorf extended the lead to 14-6 in the second quarter, only to see the Cougars score 12 unanswered points to take an 18-14 lead. Carson Smith scored six points of his 10 points and Pratt added a pair of buckets during the run. By halftime, the Titans led 23-21.

Pratt came out on fire and scored the first nine points of the third quarter, giving Van Wert a 30-23 lead. The Cougars later had a 36-29 lead, but the Titans scored 10 unanswered points and went on to lead 41-40 at the end of the quarter.

“Absolutely Aidan was the spark,” Laudick said of Pratt’s big third quarter. “We drew something up at halftime to get him going and he ripped off a great quarter and a fantastic game. That was huge for us.”

In the fourth quarter, AJ Proffitt snapped a 43-43 tie with a triple, but Grant Schroeder responded with one of his own. Pratt later tied the game 51-51 with a basket and foul shot, and the 6-4 senior forward forced overtime with a layup with 2.9 seconds left in regulation.

Ottawa-Glandorf’s Colin White put in the first points of the first overtime with a basket and ensuing foul shot with 53 seconds left, but Wessell answered with a left corner trey with 10 seconds left that tied the game 57-57. In the second overtime, Van Wert led twice – 59-57 on a layup by Garett Gunter and 62-59 on a foul shot by Nate Phillips and a bucket by Wessell. However, Ottawa-Glandorf would score the final five points of the game on a basket and free throw by White then a trey by Hunter Stetchschulte with 12 seconds left. The Cougars had one more possession but turned it over in the closing seconds.

Van Wert finished the game 24-of-57 from the floor and 10-of-14 from the foul line. Ottawa-Glandorf was 18-of-45 shooting and 24-of-32 from the free throw line, including 16-of-21 by White. The Cougars had a 26-24 rebounding advantage and committed fewer turnovers, six, compared to 10 by the Titans.

The Cougars will play at Coldwater tonight.

“Their season started a little slow but they’re playing a lot better now,” Laudick said of the Cavaliers. “They’re going to present some challenges…they have some height and they have some good players who can shoot and do some different things. We have to lick our wounds and come back tomorrow.”

Box score

Titans 9 14 18 13 3 7 – 64
Cougars 6 15 19 14 3 5 – 62

Ottawa-Glandorf: Grant Schroeder 1-0-3; Theo Maag 2-1-5; Hunter Stechschulte 4-2-11; Colin White 5-16-25; Caden Erford 5-5-17

Van Wert: Nate Phillips 3-1-8; Kaden Shaffer 1-0-2; AJ Proffitt 1-0-3; Luke Wessell 2-0-5; Carson Smith 5-0-10; Aidan Pratt 10-9-30
JV: Van Wert 56-51

POSTED: 01/20/23 at 11:33 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports