|Lancer girls out-defend Bulldogs|
|Friday, December 21, 2012 1:26 PM|
All night long, the two teams’ offenses were searching for answers to solve the other’s defense. And while both teams struggled shooting, the Lady Lancers found just enough offense to get by the Bulldogs 32-23.
The Lady Lancers moved to 2-1 in the NWC and 6-2 overall, while the Bulldogs are 0-3 in the conference and 1-8 overall.
On the night, the Lancers were 10-26 shooting, while the Bulldogs were 9-27.
The first quarter set the stage for this low-scoring contest as they were a combined nine points scored. Columbus Grove scored their only points of the quarter in the opening minute of the game as junior Sammi Stechschulte got loose down low and knocked down a short jumper. While the Lancers had some opportunities, they were unable to cash any in until nearly four minutes of the quarter had been played.
With 4:28 left in the opening quarter, Julia Thatcher tied the game with a basket, then broke it with a free throw for a 3-point play. Two free throws by Kaitlyn Brant and a basket by her gave the Lancers a 7-2 lead after the opening quarter.
Lincolnview opened the second-quarter scoring with three points by Brant as she hit a free throw, then later added a basket. Much like the first quarter, the Bulldog offense struggled against the Lancer defense as they were dribbling the ball around the perimeter looking for a good shot, which was hard to find against the Lancers’ man-to-man defense. The Bulldogs broke over an 8-minute scoring drought when Stechschulte stepped behind the arc and knocked down a 3-pointer, making it a 10-5 game.
Lincolnview answered back with a Brant basket before Renee Karhoff hit two free throws for the Bulldogs. Two free throws by Julia Thatcher and a basket by Hope Schroeder ended the first-half scoring.
While the Lancers chiseled out a first-half lead, one thing Lancer coach Dan Williamson knew at halftime was that they needed to get more players involved in the game as Thatcher and Brant combined for all 14 first-half points for the Lancers.
“We’ve been scoring a lot of points the last couple of games. To look up at halftime and see it was 14-9 — it wasn’t that we were taking bad shots; we just were not making them,” Williamson said. “That happens some times and you just have to find some other ways to win and we were able to do that.”
A third Lancer reached the scorebook early in the third quarter as Katie Dye scored. That was matched by the Bulldogs’ Stechschulte as she grabbed a miss and scored. While both teams continued to struggle offensively, the Lancers did score four points in a 10-second span of the quarter: Thatcher knocked home two free throws, then seconds later, Dye came up with a steal and scored that forced Columbus Grove to use a timeout.
Thatcher pushed the Lancer lead to 11 points with 4:25 left to play when she dropped home two points. After scoring early in the quarter, the Bulldogs couldn’t score again until Rachel Schumacher nailed a 3-pointer that made it 22-14. A basket by Kaylee Thatcher ended the third-quarter scoring as Hannah McCleery had a chance to join the scoring parade but missed two free throws.
Despite struggling all night, the Bulldog offense had a quick outburst to start the fourth quarter as Stechschulte hit a free throw, then after McCleery scored for the Lancers, Stechschulte came back with a basket. Despite the good start to the quarter, the Grove offense, along with the Lancer offense, went silent for the next 4-plus minutes until Megan Verhoff grabbed a miss and scored, making it a 7-point game with 3:05 left.
Lincolnview grabbed a double-digit lead with 2:16 left as Brant scored and Julia Thatcher hit two free throws. Columbus Grove responded with a basket by Schumacher with 1:59 left but Thatcher hit 2-of-4 free throws that finished Lancer scoring. The Bulldogs’ final points came when Verhoff knocked down a short jumper.
“I didn’t know really what to expect coming over here. We haven’t played well against them the past couple of years,” Williamson added. “Any game you can win is good. I knew they were athletic, I knew they were scrappy and they were going to play hard and they did. Lucky for us they didn’t shoot well and we didn’t shoot well, either, but we made enough plays defensively — and offensively — to get the win. That’s what it’s about; making just enough plays to get the win.”
“When you are 1-8, it’s tough to find a bright spot, but I thought our defense was good,” Grove coach Chad Ricker said. “We held Claire Dye without a point and she is averaging around 14 points per game. We talked about their key players and limiting a couple of them was good for us. We held them to 32 points, which is good. Offensively, we have some shortcomings and some of that is due to their defense, but lately we have not been able to score and it’s something we need to work on.”
Columbus Grove won the junior varsity game 40-32. Madison Vorhees scored 13 points for the Bulldogs and Devann Springer had 10 points for the Lancers.