Home crowd, defense ignite OHS boys' rally

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

The Ottawa High School boys rode a big momentum shift in the second half Friday night.

Ottawa fell behind rival Eudora in the third quarter and turned up the defensive pressure. The Cyclones fed off the student-section and the largest home crowd of the season to rally for a 48-40 win over the Cardinals.

Ottawa High School sophomore Jake Titus takes the ball right at the Eudora defender in the Cyclones’ 48-40 win.

“They made a nice run to spread it open,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. “Once we got [the lead], it was like dominoes.”

Ottawa played with emotion and intensity not seen this season from start to finish. McCullough credited the crowd for motivating the Cyclones.

“There is no question they were pumped up because they had people here,” McCullough said. “It was a good crowd. We had a student section. You could hear them. The kids in the student section needed to be here. Our kids needed them here. It gave them a sense of normalcy. Gave them a home-court advantage. There is no doubt they fed of off that.

“It was the atmosphere, itt was winning, getting momentum and coming from behind.”

Ottawa’s defense spurred the second-half rally. Ottawa’s press caused Eudora trouble.

“We were going to put pressure on them to see if they could handle the pressure,” McCullough said. “If nothing else, as bad as both teams were playing [offensively], we were going to make it as ugly as we could. We turned them over in the press. We started getting confidence. It did not get ugly. We pressured them into a ton of turnovers and we capitalized on it.

“We would get a turnover and pull it out and run our offense. That is when Jake [Titus] hit is and-one and Brady [Beets] a couple of threes. We did a good job on both ends.”

Ottawa’s defense was solid all game, the coach said.

“Our zone was good,” McCullough said. “We were not boxing out in the first half. I was leery going man. Our man was great against them. Our guys really competed hard against their bigs. Between the press and man, that is why we got back into the game and got the lead.”

The offense attacked Eudora in the half-court.

“We found ways to get to the hole and score,” McCullough said. “Noah [McCullough] did a great job of attacking the big guys and getting them up in the air. The second half, Jake and Brady followed suit.

“When you play tough and hard, good things will happen. That is what we have been stressing to these guys. You have to grind this game out. You can’t take possessions off.”

Ottawa (5-7) plays Tuesday at Coffeyville.