SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Both coaches continually made defensive moves like it was a high-level chess match.
In the end, Bath had a few more pieces to move around.
Bath held on at the end for a 62-57 victory over Shawnee in a boys basketball game Friday at Shawnee.
Colin Gossard had 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists for Bath. Taren Sullivan had 16 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.
Sullivan finished the game with a career total of 981 points.
Shawnee’s Ja’Quan Tucker hit 9 of 14 from the field for 25 points with three 3-pointers.
It was a game in which Bath appeared on the verge of blowing it wide open, taking a 26-17 lead after the first quarter. But Shawnee came back within three at the half and tied the game at 44 in the third quarter.
The game wasn’t anything like the matchup the teams had on Nov. 30 in the Tip-Off Tournament. Bath won that game, 82-56.
“I think we kind of underestimated them at the beginning and their crowd really stepped up when they started coming back,” Sullivan said. “It kind of got to us at first, but I’m glad we came together as a team and came back. (In the second half) we picked the pressure up and took our time on offense and got good shots.”
Bath stands 11-3, 5-1 in the Western Buckeye League. Shawnee is 5-11, 2-4 in the WBL.
Bath hit 9 of 12 from the field in the first quarter when it went up nine by ripping through the Indians’ man-to-man defense.
To start the second quarter, Shawnee switched to a 3-2 zone, which immediately had Bath looking like it was slogging through quicksand.
“Bath is a very good shooting team, and you kind of have to pick your poison with what you’re going to do,” Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said. “They were absolutely beating us up with their man so we had to make an adjustment. … We flew around and made some plays. Unfortunately, they made a few more than we did.”
In the second quarter against the 3-2 zone, Bath shot 3 of 20 from the field and and 0 of 10 on 3-pointers.
“When they went to the zone, I didn’t think we were taking bad shots, but we weren’t making the shots,” Bath coach Doug Davis said. “At halftime, we talked about if no one was in front of you, how about taking the ball to the basket. We needed to get some penetration, and we needed to score inside a little bit and we did that.”
Gossard scored six in the third quarter, with all three baskets coming inside.
“He’s creating his own shot and getting his own rebounds and doing everything you could ask from a teammate,” Sullivan said of Gossard.
Shawnee countered with Tucker driving to the rim through the Bath man-to-man. The 6-foot-1 junior scored 11 of his points in the third quarter. His driving layup tied the game at 44 with 2:20 left in the third.
Bath took the lead to stay on an alley-oop slam by Sullivan, on a pass from Gossard. That gave Bath a 46-44 lead with 1:36 left in the third quarter.
Bath was able to hold Tucker to three points in the final quarter by going mostly to a 1-3-1 zone, with the 6-6 Sullivan up top. When Bath went man, it was Sullivan who followed Tucker in the final few minutes.
“We wanted to stop his (Tucker’s) penetration, because that was what was really hurting us,” Davis said. “I thought we’d take a look at the 1-3-1, which I thought for a short time gave them a little difficulty with it.”
Tucker’s 3-pointer brought Shawnee within 58-56 with 2:32 to go.
“He (Tucker) played fantastic,” Triplett said.
Sullivan hit 3 of 4 at the foul line in the final 27 seconds to put the game away. His two free throws with 11 seconds left made it 62-57.
Shawnee hit 41 percent from the field and 4 of 11 on 3-pointers. Bath shot 40 percent from the field and was 5 of 22 on threes.
Bath won the rebounds, 37-28. Bath also forced the Indians into 15 turnovers.
“That was the key for us, to rebound,” Davis said.