Pirates beat Plano 70-45
SANDWICH — Plano was hoping Ottawa's late-season struggles would carry into Wednesday.
The Pirates, ranked throughout the season in Class 3A, dropped their final two games of the regular season.
"We had seen (Ottawa's) shooting troubles the past couple games and were kind of hoping that would bleed into tonight," Plano coach Kyle Kee said. "But I don't have to say anything about how good Ottawa is. Everybody knows what kind of a quality team they are."
Ottawa provided another reminder Wednesday, building a double-digit lead in the first six-plus minutes and going on to a 70-45 win in the Class 3A Sandwich Regional semifinal.
Ottawa (24-4) moves on to play the host Indians (21-9) in Friday's 7 p.m. regional final. Ottawa will be aiming for its first regional championship since the 2006-07 season.
"We talked about, if we had inside us what we thought we had inside us, we'd have a response tonight," to the season-ending losses to Moline and La Salle-Peru," Ottawa coach Mark Cooper said. "I thought we had some postseason jitters early, but once we settled into the game we shared the ball, moved it, and defensively were in the right spots.
"We're pleased with how things went ... and now we'll practice on Thursday like we always do. Our guys have been very good all year about having a professional approach to our preparation.
"They'll be prepared on Friday night."
Plano (17-14), which received 12 points from Demond Williams Jr. and seven from Ka'Jon Smith, led 5-3 two minutes in after a Smith basket. But that lead lasted for only 21 seconds.
Ottawa responded by embarking on an 8-0 run that ballooned into a 20-1 run, with Ottawa's selfless and at times spectacular passing game on full display at one end and its solid defense getting it done on the other — with some help from an at-times-impatient Reapers offense.
Tyler Carson scored 17 points and Dakota Deverteuil had 15 points for Ottawa, which led 18-6 after a quarter and 37-14 by halftime. Plano shot just 23 percent in the first half, 32 percent for the game.
"I think if we could have made some, I thought, easy shots, we might have stayed in it a little longer," Kee said, "but we would've had to have played really great tonight to beat that team. We just didn't have it."
Robbie Taylor also scored seven points and Griffin Cross had six for the Reapers.