Aly Lindeman of Jefferson avoids defenders as she heads for the basket in Thursday's game. (DHI Media/Joe Dray)
Aly Lindeman of Jefferson avoids defenders as she heads for the basket in Thursday's game. (DHI Media/Joe Dray)

DELPHOS — The Lady Cats passed their first test in the D-IV tournament Thursday, defeating Defiance Tinora 55-19 in the Sectional Semifinals. Freshman Lyv Lindeman put on a show with 21 points including a pair from 3-point land to usher Jefferson into a matchup with Paulding on Saturday.

“From start to finish, it was a great game,” said Jefferson head coach Denise Lindeman. “The girls are playing solid right now and they are having fun playing defense.”

Josie McGue hit her 20th 3-pointer of the season to open the game and gave the Lady Cats an early advantage. Aly Lindeman stretched the lead to 5-0 with a steal and a score to make it 5-0, Delphos.

Amanda Meyer put the Rams on the board with a pair from the charity stripe but Lyv Lindeman hit a jumper and a 3-point basket as Jefferson took a commanding lead. Aly Lindeman drained a 3-pointer to keep the Cats rolling and Kaylee Buzard sunk a triple with time running down in the first quarter to make it 20-9, Wildcats after one.

Scoring was hard to come by for the Rams in the final three periods. They were held to just one field goal in the second quarter and none in the third. Meanwhile, the Lady Cats offense continued to pound the rock with 36 points before halftime. Jefferson began the second quarter on a 7-0 run that included a 3-pointer from McGue. Hannah Wiltsie had a long 2-point basket as the Cats attack continued. After a basket and a free throw by the Rams, Delphos closed out the period the same way it began, a 7-0 run as they stretched their lead to 36-12 at the break.

“Hannah Wiltsie has been doing very well at practice and she stepped up tonight. We have big plans for her and it was nice to see her build confidence on the court tonight,” coach Lindeman added.

The Wildcats have outscored their opponents 287-183 in the third quarter this year and Thursday night’s game had similar results. Tinora went 2-for-4 from the free-throw line for their only points of the period while Jefferson scored nine-unanswered points. The Cats looked to runaway with the game as they headed to the fourth quarter, leading 47-14.

Lyv Lindeman drew a foul from behind the 3-point line to open the fourth quarter and connected on all three attempts at the line. Her shots increased the spread to over 30 points and began a running clock to close out the game. Lyv Lindeman drained another 3-pointer and went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe in the final 8:00 as Jefferson secured their spot in the Sectional Final on Saturday.

“All 13 girls had playing time tonight and gained experience in a tournament game. I’m very proud of them and the way they played defense tonight. Defense wins games,” concluded Lindeman.

The Lady Cats shot an impressive 10-for-11 from the free-throw line in the game and improve to 19-4 with the win.

Tinora 9 3 2 5 - 19

Jefferson 20 16 11 6 - 55

Tinora (19)

Liv Miller 8, Amanda Meyer 3, Emily Harr 3, Tristen Norden 2, Karli Okuley 2, Anna Frazer 1

Jefferson (55)

Lyv Lindeman 21, Josie McGue 9, Kaylee Buzard 9, Aly Lindeman 8, Lauren French 6, Hannah Wiltsie 2