Updated: 1:24 a.m., Otsego earns district berth by beating Defiance (3-1-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thomas Schmeltz Sentinel Sports Writer   
Saturday, 02 March 2013 00:29
Otsego’s Tommy Rodgers shoots earlier this season. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
SWANTON — For the first time since 2006, Jim Bostdorff’s first season as head coach, Otsego is heading to the Division II district semifinal.
The Knights, behind outstanding offensive efforts from Tommy Rodgers and Ryan Smoyer, were 53-44 winners, Friday night, over Defiance in the sectional final at Swanton High School.
Rodgers and Smoyer each scored 17 points in a game where neither team led by more than seven points. Defiance had won 10 of its last 11 games entering the contest.
“We’ve worked four years for this ... This year was really the year that we were trying to make a run,” Smoyer said. “Special things happened and we just played together tonight.”
Otsego, now 20-4 overall, is heading to the district with a senior class that won its first Northern Buckeye Conference championship this year.
The Knights will play Toledo Scott (12-9) on Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. at Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center.
“It’s a great group of seniors who have absolutely earned this right,” Bostdorff said. “It wasn’t given to them, they worked their way here.”
Rodgers, who scored just one point in Otsego’s sectional semifinal win over Wauseon, was a threat all night. The senior point-guard was able to penetrate into the paint and knock down two 3-pointers, while going 3-of-4 from the free-throw line.
“(Defiance) took away our wings,” Rodgers said. “As a point-guard, when they take away your wings, the only way to beat that is dribble-penetration. When I drove, they didn’t help off. It was there all night.”
“I don’t think anybody, including coach Bostdorff, thought Tommy Rodgers was going to score 17 points here tonight,” Bostdorff added. “But credit to him. He was able to beat his guy off the dribble.”
In addition to Rodgers’ and Smoyer’s scoring efforts, Otsego played phenomenal defense, matching Defiance’s quickness on the perimeter.
The Bulldogs, 16-7 overall, relied on the 3-pointer for a large portion of the game.
“We made sure they had to run offense,” Smoyer said. “When their shots are falling, they’re really good. We got them at a bad time. They started going cold and we took advantage of it.”
Otsego’s effort on the boards also played factor in the outcome. The Knights held a 23-18 rebounding edge, with Smoyer collecting 10 of those.
“Going into the game there were two things we said we had to do if we were going to win this basketball game,” Bostdorff said. “One we were going to have to defend ... and, two, we needed to rebound. And we did both of those.”
The teams were back and forth in the first half before Smoyer’s 3-pointer from the top of the key gave Otsego a 20-18 lead into the half.
Scoring continued to be at a high pace in the third quarter where there were seven lead changes. The Knights eventually held a 37-34 lead after three.
Rodgers opened the fourth with a triple from the left wing but Defiance’s Trey Guilliam, who scored a team-high 16 points, answered with a triple less than a minute later.
After two free throws by Rodgers with 1:03 left in the game, Otsego led 46-39. The Knights held off Defiance by going 7-of-8 from the free-throw line the rest of the way.
“We worked our tails off getting prepared for this game and it showed on the floor we were prepared,” Bostdorff said.
“We worked hard all week. We felt like we had most of their sets on paper and we had most of their calls. Our kids responded.”

Rodgers, 4-2-3—17; Myers, 0-0—0; Downs, 0-0—0; Griffin, 1-1-0—5; Smoyer, 4-1-6—17; Thomas, 1-1-2—7; Limes, 2-3—7. TOTALS: 12-5-14—53.
Tobias, 5-0—10; Guilliam, 3-2-4—16; Detter, 0-2-0—6; Batt, 0-1-2—5; Singleton, 2-1-0—7; Turner, 0-0—0; Schrag, 0-0—0; Pearson, 0-0—0. TOTALS: 10-6-6—44.
OTSEGO    14    6    17    16    —53
DEFIANCE    13    5    16    10    —44
Last Updated on Saturday, 02 March 2013 08:40

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