BATH TOWNSHIP — A senior night crowd and a game against a long-time foe seemed to send a spark into Bath’s girls basketball team Thursday.
The Wildkittens bolted past visiting Shawnee 62-36 in a Western Buckeye League game. Bath improved to 16-1 overall and 7-0 in the WBL while Shawnee is 7-10, 3-4.
“I thought we got back on track,” Bath coach Greg Mauk said. “We had a detour of playing several games in a row, four games in eight days last week, and we started to wear down a little bit.
“I thought we came out with energy tonight. We came out and played the way we’re capable of playing.”
A pair of early 3-pointers helped Shawnee hang with Bath early. The Wildkittens led 8-6 at about the five-minute mark as Maddie Dackin started to heat up, hitting three 3-pointers in the first quarter to help the Wildkittens move to a 17-12 lead.
In the second quarter, Dackin got things going with an old fashioned 3-point play and Bath sizzled the rest of the period, outscoring the Indians 18-3 for a 35-15 lead at intermission. In the second half, Bath never let up and outscored Shawnee 27-21.
Dackin finished with 17 points, six rebounds, two assists and four steals.
“I thought Maddie Dackin was lights out, just lights out,” Mauk said. “I mean, she was smooth.”
Senior Daniel VanDyne struck for 16 points, six boards and two blocks while Alyssa Manley added 12 points and seven assists.
“Offensively (VanDyne) is very, very skilled,” Mauk said. “The best part of her game shows up when she’s really making a lot of effort on the defensive end, which allows her to get into the flow. She did that tonight. She was bothering them at the rim, bothering shots, blocking shots.”
The 6-foot-1 forward knocked down two 3-pointers and looked slick taking the ball to the hoop.
VanDyne is increasingly getting into more of a rhythm in her first season playing basketball since her eighth grade year. Prior to this season, she concentrated on volleyball. However, this past offseason, she talked to coach Mauk about coming out for the team.
“I’ve been doing workouts through the summer,” VanDyne said. “Coach Mauk said he heard I wanted to play. I thought, might as well, it’s my senior year.
“Basketball was always my first love. It’s been so great coming back, the girls have all been great. I wouldn’t trade this season for the world.”
VanDyne said one reason she didn’t play from her freshman year till this season was she didn’t think she was big enough. As a sophomore, she was 5-foot-7 about 110 pounds. But between then and now, she shot up to 6-1.
Early in the season, Mauk said VanDyne struggled to get in synch with the team. But once she began to learn the Bath system, she’s played very well. VanDyne said every part of her game — from footwork, to rebounding — needs to continue to improve.
She also thinks her team has plenty more to show.
“I think there’s no limit, we’re a really close team, and we trust each other,” she said. “I think there’s even more room for improvement.”
The Shawnee offense shot 24-of-56 from the field and forced the Shawnee offense into 31 turnovers. Jaden Marlowe led Shawnee with nine points while Rachel Evans had eight points.
“Bath did an outstanding job of turning us over and speeding us up,” Shawnee coach Paul Moss said. “And they converted too on their end of the court. We came out with a good level of intensity but we struggled offensively.”
Shawnee has never beaten Bath in girls basketball, a streak of 54 games.
“We’ve never beaten Bath, and we have a hard time digesting that,” Moss said. “The girls are still learning what we’re trying to put in here at Shawnee, and they’re giving us great effort. It’s just a matter of time for them to understand what we’re doing.”