Senior makes history in state finals
COLUMBUS – In one of the most memorable individual performances of the last two decades at the state basketball tournament, T.J. beat J.T. to lead O-G.
Ottawa-Glandorf’s T.J. Metzger scored 36 of his team’s 67 points Saturday as the Titans defeated Versailles to win the Division III state championship game, 67-46. While O-G is far from a one-man team, not many of the 13,851 at the Jerome Schottenstein Center will forget his performance any time soon.
Metzger was 11 of 17 from the floor and 9 of 14 from outside the 3-point arc. His nine 3-pointers beat the previous D-III record for any game in a state tournament. J.T. Hoying had eight to lead Sparta Highland to the 1998 title.
“We knew he was capable of going off and shooting, but he was tremendous,” said Versailles coach Scott McEldowney, whose team defeated LaBrae in the semifinals. “My hat’s off to him.”
Metzger also tied the all-division record for 3-pointers. Lima Senior’s Demond Lyles had nine in a 1992 D-I overtime championship loss to West Chester Lakota. Metzger’s career-high in points tied Hoying for most in the D-III title game.
“No, not at all,” said Metzger when asked if he anticipated such a performance. “When I woke up today I was just thinking it was going to be a real tough game. After the first shot went in that gave me a little confidence. That’s what you need playing in front of 13,000 people.”
That first 3-pointer went in just 52 seconds into the game. His last one was a third-quarter buzzer beater that gave the Titans a 51-36 lead.
“He was in a rhythm,” O-G coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. “We always talk about feeding the hot hand. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel.”
Metzger, a 6-foot-1 guard, was first-team all-state in basketball and soccer his senior year. The Titans’ soccer team lost in the regional finals the past three years. Their football team made the playoffs each of the last three seasons, losing in the regional finals last fall.
“You look at the soccer record, you look at the football record, you look at the basketball record, it’s pretty impressive,” McGlaughlin said. “We have all-state players in every sport. This senior class, they’re winners. Winning is contagious and it carries over in all our sports because they genuinely care.”
NO RECORD HERE: Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary had a chance to tie a long-standing mark. The Irish had six state titles going into the D-II title game with Columbus Bishop Watterson. That is one short of Middletown’s record, the last of which came in 1983.
SV-SM remains one short as a last-second 3-pointer from the left wing clanked off the back of the rim and preserved a 55-52 Watterson victory.
O-G THEY’RE BACK: Of the 16 teams vying for championships this weekend, only one was here in 2012. Ottawa-Glandorf lost in a D-II semifinal to Portsmouth a year ago.
LABRAE IS NOT ALONE: Six teams reached the state tournament for the first time.
Aside from LaBrae, Cincinnati Walnut Hills, Watterson, Vincent Warren, Fairfield Christian and Troy Christian reached the final four. Only Watterson was able to capture a title.
A RETIRING LEGEND: Kettering Alter lost to Watterson in a D-II semi. The Knights also lost one of the greatest coaches the state has ever seen.
Joe Petrocelli retired after the game. He’s been head coach for the Knights for 49 years. The 75-year old leaves the sport with a record of 831-305. He won 25 district titles, nine regional championships and three state titles. He is second all-time in wins to Kalida’s Dick Kortokrax.