COLUMBUS - It was just Tyson McGlaughlin’s first year at the helm of the Ottawa-Glandorf basketball program. But the 2000 O-G graduate knows a thing or two about what it means to put on the blue-and-gold uniform.
After losing to Portsmouth 74-66 in the Division III state semifinals on Thursday evening, McGlaughlin was surprisingly upbeat.
“The growth of this team was off the charts,” McGlaughlin said about how his squad has improved since the start of this season.
A 6-4 beginning to the campaign was hardly Titan-like basketball. After all, this is a program that has brought home two state titles under two different head coaches in the past decade.
But at O-G it’s not how you start, but how you finish.
For McGlaughlin, how you finish doesn’t just end on the basketball court.
There’s more than a scoreboard keeping that score.
“The biggest thing as a head coach is I take pride in building relationships,” McGlaughlin said. “Our goal is to turn these guys into men.”
That means learning ... no matter if you win or lose on that scoreboard.
“At the start of the year we had a lot of boys,” McGlaughlin explained. “We had a lot of new faces and sprinkled a freshman (Noah Bramlage) in there. The way these seniors kept everything together and always put the team first ... there’s no doubt in my mind these three seniors will be successful.”
While John Lammers, Logan Koch and Isaac Recker were not starters for the Titans, all were key figures in helping the Titans earn a state berth for the third time in nine years.
Recker, a standout on the gridiron, was a “football player trying to play basketball” according to McGlaughlin.
Koch started early in the year but relinquished that position to Bramlage for the betterment of the team midway through the regular season.
And Lammers - “5-8 on a good day” - was a sparkplug off the bench, the type all teams dream of having at the high school level.
Scoring just a notch above his 4.0 grade point average, Lammers showed his grit on Thursday with a career-high 19 points. He scored 10 straight points in the fourth quarter as the Titans tried to rally. Not bad for someone that entered the game with 89 points on the season.
“John made a few threes to keep us in the game,” noted junior T.J. Metzger, O-G’s leading scorer on the season.
It was no surprise to his first-year head coach.
“Talk about heart,” McGlaughlin said of Lammers. “He played his tail off.”
But there was more to it.
“He has a partially torn oblique,” McGlaughlin said of Lammers, who will be going to college in the fall at Notre Dame. “He hasn’t practiced the last month of the season. But that’s what we are - blue-collar guys.
“Matt Kaufman is playing with a broken wrist ... that’s the type of kids we have at O-G.”
While the scoreboard on Thursday said loser, in real life McGlaughlin knows his team is a winner.
It’s why he’s in the sport as a coach and what his father Kevin McGlaughlin, a long-time head coach at Miller City and now an assistant with the Titans, taught him.
“That’s what it’s all about,” the O-G mentor said. “I call them my players but they’re my friends. It’s truly been a privilege to coach them.”