Bath bounces back in a big way

By Jim Naveau

January 25, 2014

BATH TOWNSHIP – This time they just kept going.

Friday night’s 72-57 win over Van Wert was the first time Bath’s boys basketball team was on the court for a game since letting a 17-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter in a loss to Lima Central Catholic last Saturday night.

This time Bath (10-3, 4-1 Western Buckeye League) started well and finished well.

“We talked about it, we went over the film and talked about it quite a bit then and tried to put it behind us, “ Bath coach Doug Davis said. “It’s good to come out and get a win after that. You always wonder what the mentality of the players is going to be after a game like that.”

The first three minutes of Friday night’s game alleviated any concerns about the Wildcats’ mentality. Or their physicality.

Bath jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the game’s first three minutes when it forced turnovers by Van Wert on five of the Cougars’ first seven possessions.

Van Wert called a timeout 62 seconds into the game and another before the game was three minutes old.

But Bath pushed the lead to 10 points, at 24-14, was up 35-19 at halftime and never let the lead drop below 10 points in the second half.

Colin Gossard scored 22 points to lead the Wildcats. Taren Sullivan had 21 points and seven rebounds and Trent Jones had 15 points and eight rebounds.

“We just wanted to get off to a good start and play fast and that’s what we did tonight,” Gossard said.

Jones said, “It (the fast start) was really big. We were just trying to get on the good side and get up.”

Getting seven first-quarter turnovers and some easy points off those changes of possession was sort of a bonus, Davis said.

“We came out to put pressure on them at the start but it was as much to get us going as anything, making sure we were moving and sprinting up and down the floor. I was a little surprised at how many turnovers we caused at the start of the game,” he said.

But the turnaround from last week probably was bigger than the turnovers.

Bath led LCC 45-28 after three quarters last Saturday night, then was outscored 24-3 over the next 7 minutes, 58 seconds before getting a basket just before the buzzer in a 52-50 loss to the Thunderbirds.

“We talked about it, we went over the film and talked about it quite a bit then and tried to put it behind us,” Davis said.

But the desire to put last week behind them was more than a one-day motivator, Gossard and Jones said.

“We talked about it all week. We had a lot of hard practices to get better,” Jones said.

Gossard said, “This whole week we’ve been talking about it, just trying to get better and learn from that loss. This game, that really helped us. We played well together.”

He said the biggest lesson, after having seven fourth-quarter turnovers last Saturday was, “Don’t have silly turnovers and be stronger with the ball.”

Matt Bidlack, with 26 points, and Connor Holliday, with 17 points, led Van Wert (6-7, 2-3 WBL).

Bidlack scored 17 of his points in the fourth quarter and cut Bath’s lead to 10 points, 62-52, with his third 3-pointer of the game with 2:31 to play. But that was as close as the Cougars could get.

“We continued to compete the whole game,” Davis said. “They made a little run there, and I thought we held up all right.”