|First half propels Grove past Jefferson|
|Monday, February 25, 2013 10:48 AM|
DELPHOS — Columbus Grove put together an excellent first half Friday night on The Stage of Jefferson Middle School.
That was enough as the visiting Bulldogs grabbed a 53-35 Northwest Conference boys hardwood victory over the Wildcats.
The Wildcats (4-17, 2-7 NWC) had two seniors: Zach Ricker (5 points, 2 boards, 1 steal) and Seth Wollenhaupt; play their final home games at The Stage.
“We gave up way too much penetration the first half, no matter what defense we used; (Jace) Darbyshire and (Collin) Grothaus got into the paint whenever they wanted. It’s going to be a long night for your defense when that happens,” Jefferson coach Marc Smith explained. “That meant we had to rotate defensively and that put us out of position on rebounding, as well as looking to get into transition. We didn’t get to the line at all the first half as a result and when we aren’t getting there, it hurts our offense.”
Jefferson scored first off the opening tap as junior Ross Thompson (a familiar double-double of 11 markers and 14 boards) hit a jumper form the left elbow 24 ticks into the game. However, Grove (17-4, 6-3 NWC) tied it on a putback by senior Brady Shafer (11 counters) 20 seconds later and another putback by Shafer at 6:30 to take the lead for good. That just started a strong first period for the Bulldogs, with Shafer adding another basket to lead the way. Grove shot a solid 9-of-17 from the floor against the Jefferson zones, fueled by their dribble penetration that Coach Smith referred to. When senior Josh Tussing hit a 3-ball from the right wing with 1.1 ticks on the board, Grove’s lead was 20-8.
The Grove attack slowed down some in the second period but not a whole lot. This time, 6-6 junior Will Vorhees (12 counters, 8 boards, 2 blocks) dropped in six counters to lead the way. The Wildcats struggled with some ballhandling — committing five of their game-total of 13 turnovers — and couldn’t overcome that by only hitting 4-of-9 against the Grove 2-3 matchup zone. They tried to stay close but fell behind by as much as 20 — 36-16 on a triple by senior Collin Grothaus at 1:02 — but when freshman Trey Smith (8 points) slice his way to the hoop with 47 ticks on the board, the halftime score was 36-18.
Jefferson switched out of its zone into man-to-man to start the second half and that seemed to do the trick, at least throwing the Bulldogs out of rhythm. The Wildcats sliced their deficit to 14 markers twice — the second time on a Thompson layin at 1:21 — but when Grothaus swished a 3-pointer just inside the half-court line as time expired, Grove led 45-28.
“That’s the story of our season: we have a half like tonight or even a quarter where we look like we can do some damage in the tournament, then we struggle,” Grove coach Ryan Stechschulte noted. “It’s not the same pattern, either; it can be the first half we play well, like tonight, but then it might be the second half we play well. I felt we got the same good shots the second half we did the first but couldn’t make them.”
The closest the Wildcats could get from then on was the 17-point barrier and the largest Grove lead was 21 a pair of times.
In sum, Grove canned 23-of-56 from the floor, 5-of-13 beyond the arc, for 41.4 percent; 2-of-4 free throws (50%); secured 34 boards, 14 offensive, as senior Derek Rieman had 11 (to go with 4 assists and 2 blocks); and added a mere four errors and 11 fouls. The Bulldogs are off until 6:15 p.m. Friday as they will take on the McComb/Pandora-Gilboa winner at the Division IV Ottawa-Glandorf sectional.
“We went man and we were better the second half but still gave up too much penetration; we were fortunate that Grove missed some shots,” Smith added. “We also rebounded better the second half. The game was officiated where it was clear not many fouls were going to be called and that’s fine; you have to adjust to that but we aren’t physically strong enough yet to quite play through the contact. We expected them to play zone — we prepared for it all week.” Jefferson finished 14-of-41 shooting, 2-of-15 downtown, for 34.1 percent; 5-of-10 singles (50%); with 30 boards (9 offensive) as junior Austin Jettinghoff added four (and 5 assists); and 10 fouls. They take on Allen East 7 p.m. Tuesday (single game) in the opening round of the Wapakoneta Division III sectional.
“We expected them to come out in something different the second half; Coach Smith knows what he’s doing and he was looking to try something different,” Stechschulte added. “You expect that when you score 36 points in a half. Just for us, I’d like to see us put together that 4-quarter game, which we have yet to do.” In junior varsity action, Grove closed out the season with a 35-22 victory, outscoring Jefferson (4-16, 0-9) 13-0 in the fourth period.
Freshman Logan Diller led the victors with 11, while junior Tyler Rice dropped in 14 (4 treys) for the Wildcats.
COLUMBUS GROVE (53)
Blake Hoffman 2-0-5, Jace Darbyshire 2-0-4, Collin Grothaus 3-0-8, Josh Tussing 1-0-3, Will Vorhees 5-2-12, Brady Shafer 5-0-11, Derek Rieman 4-0-8, Joey Warnecke 1-0-2. Totals 18-5-2/4-53.
Austin Jettinghoff 1-0-3, Zach Ricker 2-1-5, Ross Thompson 5-1-11, Trey Smith 4-0-8, Seth Wollenhaupt 0-0-0, Tyler Mox 2-0-5, Dalton Hicks 0-3-3. Totals 12-2-5/10-35.
Score by Quarters:
Col. Grove 20 16 9 8 - 53
Jefferson 8 10 10 7 - 35
Three-point goals: Columbus Grove, Grothaus 2, Hoffman, Tussing, Shafer; Jefferson, Jettinghoff, Mox.
COLUMBUS GROVE (35)
David Bogart 0-2-2, Tanner Neu 1-0-2, Marshall Downing 0-0-0, Noah Kohls 2-0-4, Elisha Jones 0-1-1, Corey Schroeder 0-0-0, Colton Grothaus 3-0-6, Bryce Sharritz 0-2-2, Logan Diller 2-7-11, Gabe Stechschulte 0-0-0, Bailey Clement 0-0-0, Riley Brubaker 3-0-7. Totals 10-1-12/14-35.
Ryan Goergens 0-0-0, Kurt Wollenhaupt 0-0-0, Josh Teman 0-0-0, Alex Neubert 0-0-0, Joe Gorman 0-0-0, Justin Stewart 1-0-2, Zavier Buzard 0-0-0, Jordan Herron 1-0-2, Grant Wallace 0-0-0, Carter Mox 1-2-4, Tyler Rice 4-2-14. Totals 3-4-4/10-22.
Score by Quarters:
Col. Grove 8 12 2 13 - 35
Jefferson 5 6 11 0 - 22
Three-point goals: Columbus Grove, Brubaker; Jefferson, Rice 4.