OTTOVILLE – Ottoville came out scrappy and hustling.
But feisty can only take you so far against one of the top teams in the state.
Bath’s press provided turnovers and the Wildkittens cashed in during a third-quarter surge in a 51-29 girls basketball victory Tuesday at Ottoville.
Bath stands 14-1. Ottoville, which is starting two freshmen, is 7-7.
Bath led 7-3 after the first quarter and Ottoville was playing with Bath until halftime, when the Wildkittens led, 21-10. Ottoville was outrebounding Bath at the break, 20-16.
Bath coach Greg Mauk didn’t use playing Sunday at Columbus as an excuse. Bath defeated Gahanna Lincoln in the Pickerington Classic 58-33.
“I told the girls in no uncertain terms at halftime that they played harder than we did in the first half,” Mauk said. “They were winning every loose-ball battle and winning every rebound battle.”
Bath’s press-and-run game locked in during the third quarter when the Wildkittens started the second half with an 8-0 run to take a 29-12 lead.
During the run, Bri Smith knocked down two 3-pointers, and Madison Dackin scored on a fast-break layup.
“I don’t think we started slow because we played Sunday. I think it was we didn’t have school today and we were out of sync,” Smith said.
Mauk said the key was moving more in the press and not fouling, which halted the game many times in the first half.
Bath forced 22 turnovers for the game, including nine in the third quarter.
Dackin led Bath with 14 points. Most of her points came on drives to the basket.
The 6-foot Smith had 10 points and six rebounds, with three 3-pointers.
“Smith has been lights out,” Mauk said. “She’s played well, offensively, and is our hardest worker, defensively.”
Added Smith, “I’ve got my shot figured out. Coach Mauk helped me out with it.”
The 6-1 Danielle VanDyne added eight points, five rebounds and four blocks for the Wildkittens. VanDyne is a senior, but is playing her first year of high school basketball.
“She’s our third-leading scorer coming off the bench and I’m really happy for the progress she’s making,” Mauk said of VanDyne.
Bath used plenty of zone press and a 2-3 zone in the halfcourt Tuesday.
“One reason was I didn’t like the way we were man-to-man pressing and fouling, and I also wanted to save some legs for Thursday, since we were playing Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday,” Mauk said.
Bath pulled away in the third quarter, as it took a 40-17 lead into the final quarter.
Ottoville was led by Annie Lindeman’s seven points, six rebounds and two blocks. Freshman Brooke Mangas had six points.
Ottoville ended up winning the boards, 31-23.
“We didn’t have enough firepower to compete with Greg this year,” Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said. “We have some good, young kids, but they have a good team. They have speed, everybody can shoot, they share the ball. They’re great, defensively. They have everything they need.”
You can contact Tom Usher at 419-993-2089 or on Twitter at Lima_Usher