MOUNT BLANCHARD Fostoria coach Rick Renz game planned to take Otsego's Jalen Myers out of the game.?And he did.
Myers was held to four points Wednesday night in a Division II sectional semifinal at Riverdale High School.
In Renz' mind, it was a case of making the rest of the Knights beat them.
Fostoria’s Kagen Brown puts up a shot while being defended by Otsego’s Jalen?Myers (3) and Josh Horseman.
Schyler Scherff and John Thomas took that to heart. The pair of Knights played like kings as they combined to outscore Fostoria themselves with 39 points as Otsego rolled past Fostoria, 58-36.
"Coming into it, our kids executed our game plan perfectly defensively. We wanted to take Jalen out of the game as much as we could," Renz said. "We wanted some of their off players (to beat us). We really did a great job of defending (Myers). If you would have told me that he had less than 10 points, I would have thought I would have been standing here with more of a victory speech."
Scherff had 18 of his 24 points in the first half.
"That's the thing you risk (with our strategy)," Renz said. "We told the kids there's probably going to be somebody that will step up and start making some shots. It's going to happen. We just have to survive that and stay in the game."
Thomas came on with 15 points and the combo combined for six steals and nine rebounds.
Otsego coach Jim Bostdorff said his team exposed some mismatches caused by Fostoria's attention to Myers.
"(Myers) had a rotten night," he said. "They had their two big kids playing on our point guard Jalen, who is our best player, and that gave us a little bit of a mismatch sizewise. (Scherff) got around him two or three times and he ran the floor well. And he can shoot the ball when he's left open. He played a great game here tonight."
Fostoria (2-20) led 7-5 when Kaleb Bemis scored a bucket with 5:18 to go in the first quarter.
"I thought we came out with the right intensity," Renz said. "Probably the Achilles' heel for us this season has been the first three minutes of the game, where we get down big, and we were right there, trading punches with them the first several minutes."
But Otsego answered with a 13-0 run and didn't look back. By half, Otsego had stretched the lead to 32-19. In the third quarter, the Knights (10-13) went up as many as 20 before Fostoria had a little surge to cut it back to 12, 41-29. Otsego then went on an 8-0 run, spanning into the fourth quarter to put the game away.
"We played a good game. A little sloppy at times. We would get a nice lead and then we'd deviate from the plan and let them creep back in," Bostdorff said. "I thought our halfcourt press was tough on them and we had mismatches that we probably exploited. Fostoria kids didn't go away. They made a run at us at the end of the second and again in the third when our kids just got comfortable and we can't do that."
Fostoria had trouble with Otsego's press, causing 21 turnovers, including 15 steals.
"At the beginning of the year, we struggled against the press. We had a lot of problems with it," Renz said. "We had gotten pretty good against it and we hadn't been seeing much pressure because of our ability to handle it and make teams pay at the other end. I don't know if it was the tournament pressure or what but we just looked like we hadn't seen the press out there."
It led to a lot of easy buckets in transition as Otsego was 17 of 30 inside the arc.
Bemis led Fostoria with eight points. Hunter Abell had six points and five boards.
"It's always tough when you lose this game and that's the last game for your seniors," Renz said. "I felt bad for the seniors. I thought they gave it their all. I thought everybody did."?
Otsego moves on to face Upper Sandusky in a sectional final at Riverdale High School. That game starts at 6:15 p.m. with Columbian tangling with Kenton in the nightcap.