By Gary R. Rasberry
The last time Josh Leslie walked out of McBroom Gym, he had guided the St. Marys boys basketball team to one of its best seasons in school history.
When he walks back in on Friday, he'll be on the other side of the bench that he called home for years.
Leslie makes his return to St. Marys as the coach of Ottawa-Glandorf when the Titans come into McBroom to face the Roughriders in a game that has a lot of Western Buckeye League title implications.
Leslie took over for legendary Titan coach Dave Sweet and inherited a lot of talent from a team that did have a rough season after capturing the Division II title two seasons ago.
Leslie, whose team is coming in at 7-3, will face off against a team that has done well under new first-year Roughriders head coach Cort Hamilton. While the overall record stands at 5-5, the Roughriders are 2-1 in the WBL -- as are the Titans -- and just a game back of leaders Elida and Van Wert in the WBL standings. A good number of Titans should be familiar to Roughrider fans who went up to the football game in the fall. Matt Fought is a solid forward for the Titans. The 6-4 senior averages 11 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Jordan Pothast starts as a wing for Leslie and is averaging 10.3 points per game and has 11 three-pointers on the season.
The Titans will look to get the ball inside to Ronnie Maynard. Maynard leads the team in scoring (14.0 ppg.) and rebounds (9.5 rpg.) and has a solid 53 percent shooting percentage.
From the outside, Nathan Pothast is the Titans' top threat to shoot. Pothast has connected on 47 percent of his three-point attempts on the season (16-of-34) and is hitting 46 percent from the field overall.
Garrett Lauf runs the offense for O-G offense, averaging 3.1 assists per game. Jay Laubenthal, quarterback of the football team, also helps out running the offense, averaging 2.9 assists per game.
Leslie will go deep on his bench. Five players have played all 40 quarters this season with 10 players playing at least 24 quarters on the season.
The Roughriders had a rough past weekend, losing to two Auglaize County foes to finish the county circuit of games 0-3 after a loss at Minster earlier in the year. The losses to Wapakoneta and New Bremen ranged from blowouts (73-50 to Wapak) to close battles (51-43 to Bremen) that has the team looking to recover.
Junior post player Adam Johns continues to be the go-to player for the 'Riders. The 6-6 Johns is back over double digits in both scoring (15.2 ppg.) and rebounds (10.3 rpg.).
Aaron Pfeffenberger continues to be a sharpshooter at 10.5 ppg., but the Roughriders will need another player to step up and help out if the Titans can find a way to keep Johns under wraps in the post. Doug Burke (4.6 ppg.) and Cotie Ibarra (4.1 ppg.) have had the hot hand at times this season but Hamilton is looking for consistency out of the two St. Marys guards.