BATH TOWNSHIP — If you like teams that press, this may have been your night.
Bath and Wadsworth both rolled out a suffocating man-to-man press. And both gobbled up steals and converted the turnovers into fast-break points at the other end.
Bath cruised past Lima Central Catholic 70-28 in the opening round of the Bath McDonald’s Holiday Tournament on Friday at Bath.
In the other opening-round game of the tournament, Wadsworth, from northeast Ohio, ran past Minster, 54-25.
That sets up a 7:30 p.m. championship game tonight between Bath (9-0) and Division I Wadsworth (9-0). In the 6 p.m. consolation game, LCC (6-3) will play Minster (6-2).
“You want to play teams that will help you grow as a team, and I feel Wadsworth is that type of program. It’s going to be a good battle,” Bath coach Greg Mauk said.
In the second game of the night, Bath forced LCC into 20 turnovers in the first half and 30 for the game.
The Wildkittens’ man press forced nine turnovers in the opening quarter. That helped Bath rip off a 17-0 run to pull out to a 23-5 lead. Bri Smith’s 5-footer gave Bath the lead to stay 6-5 before the Wildkittens hit their power surge.
Leading the spurt was Bath guard Alyssa Manley, who scored eight points during the 17-0 run. Manley, who scored 10 in the first quarter, finished with a game-high 22 points. Most of Manley’s points came on her ability to drive and weave her way through traffic to the basket.
“We were up on them and quick,” Manley said of the press. “We really didn’t want them to have a look on the ball.”
Mauk said, “When she (Manley) attacks the rim, it opens up her game and the floor. Tonight they couldn’t stop her from getting to the rim.”
Madison Dackin also drove to the basket for 11 points for Bath. Danielle VanDyne had six points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Audrey Brandon added six points and seven rebounds.
But the key was the Bath press, which the LCC guards had difficulty negotiating.
“We have to be able to get after people in the full court, that’s what gets our game going,” Mauk said.
Bath led 43-14 at the half wasn’t challenged in the second half.
Bath won the boards, 36-30. Bath shot 45 percent from the field, while LCC shot 22 percent.
Wadsworth 54, Minster 25
Wadsworth used its man-to-man press to force Minster into 15 turnovers by the half and 24 for the game.
The press-and-run game kicked in the Wadsworth transition game, which helped it roll off a 14-0 run to close the second quarter. Wadsworth took a 16-13 lead and converted it into a 30-13 lead at the half.
“Our bread and butter is probably our man-to-man run and jump,” Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth said. “We always play that. We just mix in a zone (press) to mix things up. That’s the way we like to play. I wouldn’t claim us to be the most athletic team, but our kids play hard and I think they are very good at what they do, in terms of pressure defense. We really don’t know how to play any other way. We want to try to play as fast as we can.”
Booth’s daughter, Peyton Booth, had 12 points, six rebounds and five assists. Jodi Johnson led Wadsworth with 20 points.
Wadsworth made the trip across northern Ohio for the tournament after Bath made the trek to northeast Ohio last year.
“I met Greg (Mauk) a number of years ago and struck up a good friendship, and he agreed to come to our place last year,” Booth said. “So when he came over, he said we have to play in his tournament. We’ll go where we have to go to play good teams.”