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01-15-04: WBL heavyweights to battle in St. Marys


All eyes should be pointing towards St. Marys this Friday, when two of the three remaining undefeated teams in the Western Buckeye League will square off when St. Marys hosts Ottawa-Glandorf at McBroom Gymnasium.
The game should have a little extra hype, as the Titans enter the contest undefeated at 9-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state’s opening poll for Division II.
Both St. Marys and O-G stand at 2-0 in the WBL and are joined by Shawnee at the top of the league.
For St. Marys this game represents a big chance to help establish its program as one of the top in the WBL.
The ’Riders have steadily improved over the past few seasons, and a win over the top-ranked Titans should go a long way in establishing St. Marys as more than a football power.
Unfortunately, comments from St. Marys coach Josh Leslie weren’t available, as Leslie was sick this week. His coaching status for Friday’s game was unknown as of press time.
A big challenge for the Roughriders will be trying to find a way to slow down two of the WBL’s top players in Tim Pollitz and Eric Pollitz.
Tim Pollitz is averaging a robust 20.6 points per game while brother Eric has a respectable 17.8 points per ball game.
“They’re doing real well, both of them have expanded their games to some extent, they’re doing a few different things than what they did last year. They’re also helping the other guys play better as well,” said O-G coach Dave Sweet.
The Titans also feature four players that are averaging at least five points a game, although Sweet said he’s still looking for a solid third scorer.
“We have a number of people that have stepped up at critical times in the game,” Sweet said. “Our chemistry is starting to come together real well, I can’t say we have a consistent third scorer, but we have a number of people that can do that and there are about four or five people that can’t be overlooked because on any given night they can give us some point and rebound production.”
If the ’Riders hold true to form, then they’ll most likely try to stop the Titans by mixing their defenses between zone and man-to-man, while adding some three-quarter court pressure.
Sweet said he expects a number of looks from the ‘Riders defense, but added his squad has been able to adjust to a variety of schemes from opposing teams.
“That’s one thing I’m real happy about this team right now, we seem to be able to adjust to styles of teams to some extent, we’ve been able to adjust and handle what teams are throwing at us,” Sweet said. “They’re going to play a mix of defenses, they’ve done some trapping and zone as well as man-to-man.”
Offensively, Tom Burke has been the ’Riders top outside shooting threat by knocking down 33 percent of his three-point attempts. As a team, St. Marys is only connecting on 26 percent of its threes, something that will have to improve to win Friday.
Scott Vossler has been one guy that the ’Riders have pretty much been able to count on every night to score some points as the senior is averaging 17.2 points per game.
Wes Clark also provided a big scoring punch in last week’s WBL win with 24 points against Wapakoneta.
The ‘Riders offense appears most effective when it gets out in the open court, and Sweet said his team will be ready to push the ball if needed.
“That doesn’t bother us, we like to get down the court as well, but I think against Elida we showed that we’re capable of playing a slow down game too,” Sweet said. “I think it’s a pretty solid basketball team and they have confidence because they’re winning right now. It’s going to be a challenge going down to St. Marys and playing a solid game because they’re going to be very aggressive on the defensive end.”
Of course for O-G there’s also the question of revenge, as St. Marys was able to pick up a big win on the Titans home floor a year ago.
“I hope that game is still in the back of our minds, but it’s still last year and our players still have to play for themselves this year,” Sweet said. “The bottom line is this team has to play for themselves and what they want to get accomplished. I’m not going to even bring that up, if that’s something that’s in the back of their minds and it motivates them, then great.”


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