ADA — It’s a familiar sight to watch the Bath girls battle Toledo Rogers in the regional basketball tournament.
What’s not so familiar is to see the Rams prevail in the contest.
Rogers defeated Bath 58-46 on Tuesday evening in the Division II regional semifinal game at Ohio Northern University’s Sports Center. Bath defeated Rogers each of the last two seasons by single digits.
“Their size hurt us,” Bath coach Greg Mauk said. “They can guard with one 6-foot player, and then bring another one over for help if they need to, and that helps them to clean up rebounds. We didn’t get a lot of second looks tonight and that was a big cause of it.”
While Rogers’ two 6-footers provided a lot of pressure inside, their speed is what rocketed them into the lead early. After Bath held a small lead early in the first quarter, the Rams got a pair of quick steals and transition baskets that were caused by their players’ ability to run in front of the ball and go undetected by Bath’s offense until it was too late.
After trailing 9-4 four minutes into the game, Rogers began to pour on the points with its guards’ dashes inside to the basket and gained a 17-13 lead by the end of the quarter. Bath’s defense became increasingly better as the game went on, but could never get an offensive run to complement its defense.
Bath’s biggest chance at turning the game around came in the middle of the fourth quarter, when its offense went on a quick 7-0 run that cut what was a 46-31 deficit in half and gave the Wildkittens their first chance at grabbing momentum since the first quarter.
However, as Bath’s offense began to click, Rogers still held onto a comfortable lead thanks to clutch free throw shooting in the closing minutes. The Rams sank 14 of 17 shots from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
“We shoot a lot of free throws in practice, and that was huge for us,” Rogers coach Lamar Smith said. “We knew they were going to start fouling, and the girls stepped up big for us at the line. We played really well tonight, and had to fight all the way through. I’m really proud of the girls for the way they finished tonight.”
Emily Ruhe finished the game with 15 points and 15 rebounds for Bath. Twelve of those points came in the fourth quarter. Audrey Brandon finished with 11 points off the bench and Taylor Dackin scored 10 points.