GROVE — Bluffton’s game plan was to limit the scoring of Columbus
Grove’s big three — Paige Bellman, Jade Clement and Macy McCluer — and
make other girls pick up the load.
It didn’t take long for the Pirates’ game plan to go down the drain.
11 first-quarter points from sophomore guard Rylee Sybert and a
3-pointer from Lauren Schroeder, the Bulldogs bolted out to a big lead
and were never challenged in recording a 69-24 Northwest Conference win
With the win, Columbus Grove, fifth ranked in
Division III, repeats as outright NWC champion with an 8-0 record and
are 20-1 overall.
The Pirates dropped to 7-1 in the NWC and 16-6 overall.
The Lady Bulldogs have now won 13 straight games since a 1-point loss to Ottawa-Glandorf in December.
just happy for the girls,” Columbus Grove coach Brian Schroeder said.
“It was really cool that it came down to the last game, both communities
came out to support their team, it was a great environment. We were
lucky enough to come away with it.”
Columbus Grove missed their
first three shots of the game, but it didn’t take long for the Bulldogs
to take command of the game as Bellman scored on an offensive rebound to
start the scoring and Clement later hit a 3-pointer for a quick 5-0
lead. Sybert then took over scoring 11 points the rest of the quarter as
she knocked down three 3-pointers and went coast to coast for a layup
after getting a rebound.
Lauren Schroeder came off the bench to
hit a 3-pointer and Columbus Grove was able to turn two Pirate turnovers
into points as the Bulldogs had a 27-4 lead after eight minutes.
switches defenses up quite a bit and we felt they would come out with
something we hadn’t seen before,” coach Schroeder said. “They left a
couple of girls open and Rylee Sybert just had herself a quarter with 11
points. In big games like this, I think it’s important to start fast
and everything just seems to get easier. Once someone starts hitting
shots, it’s contagious and everything starts snowballing.”
the Bulldog offense came out firing, hitting 5-of-8 first quarter
threes, the Pirates could never solve Columbus Grove’s aggressive 2-3
zone. The Pirates were just 1-of-13 shooting the first half — a
3-pointer by Katie Prater in the first quarter — and turned the ball
over 16 times. For the game, Bluffton finished 5-of-9 from 2-point
range, but just 8-of-28 overall (28 percent) with 28 turnovers.
thought our defensive intensity was great holding them to six points in
the first half,” Schroeder said. “Bluffton is a great shooting team and
I thought we did a nice job covering the perimeter. Our perimeter
players did a good job of locating their three-point shooters and Paige
was inside communicating to them.”
Bluffton managed only two
points, two free throws, in the second quarter as the Bulldogs outscored
them 18-2 as six different players scored for Grove in the quarter.
Columbus Grove started the third quarter with an 8-2 run as coach
Schroeder pulled his starters with 3:40 left in the quarter. The
Bulldogs still managed a 13-4 scoring run as Bluffton reached double
digits with 2:55 left in the quarter.
“We were trying to take away
Bellman, Clement and even (Macy) McCluer to make the Sybert and
Schroeder girls beat us,” Bluffton coach Eric Garmatter said. “The girls
we wanted to take the shots missed a couple of early, but they were
just getting too many offensive rebounds, then they started hitting
those shots. It just snowballed from there. And they just extended us so
far, defensively, and wore us out as we are not very deep.”
Clement led the Bulldogs with 14 points, while Sybert had 11 points and Bellman 10 points, nine rebounds and five steals.
Abbie Parkins had eight points to lead the Pirates, six of them coming in the fourth quarter on two three-pointers.
* * *
8-28 5-8 24: Alivia Koenig 1-1-3; Abbie Parkins 2-2-8; Averey Rumer
2-0-4; Katie Prater 1-0-3; Kayla White 0-0-0; Libby Schaddt 1-2-4;
Brinkley Garmatter 1-0-2.
Columbus Grove 26-46 7-13 69: Macy
McCluer 3-0-8; Jenny Ellerbrock 2-0-4; Rylee Sybert 4-0-11; Lauren
Birkemeier 2-0-5; Jade Clement 5-2-14; Danielle Caudill 0-0-0; Carlee
McCluer 0-3-3; Lauren Schroeder 2-0-6; Grace Schroeder 1-0-2; Hallie
Malsam 1-1-3; Paige Bellman 5-0-10; Amy Vorst 1-1-3.
Bluffton 4 2 4 14 - 24
Columbus Grove 27 18 13 11 - 69
goals: Bluffton 3-19 (Parkins 2, Prater 1); Columbus Grove 10-20 (M.
McCluer 2, Sybert 3, Birkemeier 1, Clement 2, L. Schroeder 2).
Rebounds: Bluffton 18; Columbus Grove 27 (Bellman 9).
Turnovers: Bluffton 28, Columbus Grove 10.