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A basketball family: O-G boys, girls both count on an Erford

Mar. 12—OTTAWA — Last Saturday was a very crazy, hectic day for the Erford family. They couldn't have loved it any more.

First, they all headed out to watch their son, Ottawa-Glandorf senior Caden Erford, play in a heated district semifinal game against Spencerville, which the Titans won, 56-52, in overtime in front of a packed house at Lima Senior.

A few hours later, they crossed Lima to see their daughter, sophomore Karsyn Erford, score 12 points in a 44-26 win against Margaretta in the regional finals at the Elida Fieldhouse.

"The whole day, from the time we woke up to the time we went to bed, was Titan basketball," said their mother, Mandie Erford. "It's like you got one game down under your belt, and you felt like, 'Whew.' Then you turn around, and you're like, 'We've got to do this all over again.'"

Despite the stress and exhaustion, they're hoping for a repeat performance this week.

The Titan girls (25-2), ranked No. 3 in the final Associated Press poll, play in the Division III state semifinal against Portsmouth at 8 p.m. Thursday at the University of Dayton, with a possible state championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The O-G boys (22-3), ranked No. 1 in the final AP poll, face Toledo Emmanuel Christian School at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Bowling Green State University, with a possible regional final appearance scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at BGSU.

"There's nothing better than watching your kids work hard all year and then see success at the end of the year," said their father, Kyle Erford, "and then to watch them with their teammates at the end. There's nothing better than to see them enjoy the fruits of their labor."

It's safe to say the Erfords are a basketball family. Caden's and Karsyn's older sister, Kelsey, was the Western Buckeye League player of the year in the 2019-20 season. In the early 1990s, their mom played basketball at Ottawa-Glandorf, and their dad played basketball for Miller City.

Their uncle, Tyson McGlaughlin, is O-G's boys basketball coach. Their grandfather, Kevin McGlaughlin, was Miller City's boys basketball head coach for 19 years and now serves as Tyson's assistant. They even have an uncle on the boys' coaching staff, Josh Johnson. Mandie said her earliest memories included a basketball court.

"It kind of goes back to basketball just runs in the family," Caden said. "It is what it is. You've got to embrace it. You know, we always say 'embrace the bull's-eye.'"

Both Erfords have been pivotal to their state-ranked teams' successes. Both were first-team all-Western Buckeye League selections and first-team District 8 picks.

Caden, a 6-foot-4 forward, averaged 14.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in the regular season, including setting a school record with 10 3-pointers against Celina.

Karsyn, a 5-foot-8 sophomore, averaged 12.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 steals per game. She was also a second-team all-Northwest District selection.

They practice long and hard, in-season and in the offseason. Both play AAU basketball. Both spend extra time at the gym. And both hate to lose.

"Some of those driveway games got pretty intense," Karsyn recalled.

Mandie added, "There was a little too much competitiveness."

Karsyn responded there were "a couple of tears shed here and there," before Caden got the last word on the topic.

"I can promise I never lost a driveway game," said Caden, who hasn't decided yet where or if he'll continue playing after high school graduation.

It's common for the family to talk about basketball, whether it's watching college games on ESPN or local games on WOSN. They'll talk about scouting reports and strategies about how to involve their teammates better.

Karsyn acknowledged her big brother is a better shooter, but she wanted to keep practicing to catch up. Kyle said he'll remember how hard his son worked to recover from a broken ankle his freshman year, just so he could warm up with the team at the state tournament. His mother recalled him hitting a key 3-pointer against Wayne Trace after making a mistake and fouling earlier in the game last year.

Kyle admitted with Karsyn, he "can't get over her smile," which popped up at pivotal times during games despite her competitiveness. Her mother enjoyed watching her mature into a team leader, especially in the past month. Caden appreciates that they both "play the game the right way."

Kyle said he appreciated the relationships he's made along the way while watching his kids' teams play well. Mandie acknowledged the unique support from Titans' fans.

"We are absolutely blessed that we have the support that this community gives both of our basketball programs," she said. "It's phenomenal. It's unlike really anywhere else."

The Titans benefit from this family's shared love of basketball.

"It looks like it turned out pretty good for both of us. It looks like it paid off for our teams," Karsyn said.

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.