SPENCERVILLE — Tenacious defensive pressure and solid perimeter shooting can be a lethal combination.
Allen East saw this first-hand in Friday’s 77-33 loss to Spencerville in a Northwest Conference boys basketball game.
Spencerville’s defensive pressure helped cause 24 Allen East turnovers, which resulted in many transition baskets.
For the game, Spencerville shot 48 percent from the field and made a total of 10 3-pointers. Three players scored in double figures for the Bearcats. Ben Bowers led the Bearcats with 19 points, including three shots behind the arc. Bowers also had five steals and five assists. Zach Goecke scored 17 points, including five 3-pointers. Derek Goecke added 10 for Spencerville.
With the win, Spencerville (5-3, 2-0 NWC) has won five consecutive games after starting the season 0-3. Allen East slips to 1-7, 0-2.
After Allen East scored the first points of the game — an inside shot by Matt Shuey — Spencerville then mounted a 15-0 run and pulled out to a 23-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. In the opening stanza, Allen East committed nine turnovers.
“We knew that (quickness) was something that we could take advantage of,” Spencerville coach Kevin Sensabaugh said. “We have some quick guys, defensively, out front.
“We just tried to put as much pressure as possible on them, for as long as we could. It started to wear on them and it really took a toll on them, especially early on. …That kind of set the tone for the game.”
By the halftime break, Spencerville led 39-21. In the third quarter, Spencerville got on a roll and made 10-of-15 from the floor en route to a 24-6 quarter. By the third stop, Spencerville’s lead had grown to 63-27. Bowers and Zach Goecke each had two 3-pointers in the third period.
“We’ve had four different guys lead us in scoring. So hopefully that continues to be a trend,” Sensabaugh said. “Any time you have more than one or two guys who can score, then you’re going to be difficult to guard.”
In the second half, Allen East made just 4-of-22 from the floor. For the game, the Mustangs shot 31 percent.
Tanner Richardson, a 6-foot-6 forward, led the Mustangs with 11 points, five rebounds and two blocks. Clay Plaugher added nine points — eight of those coming in the third quarter.
The shorter Bearcats won the rebounding battle, 40-25.
“That’s one thing we haven’t done this year and we preached about this all week,” Sensabaugh said. “I knew they had some size. But, it hasn’t been about size for us. It’s been about execution. Our guys really took it to heart. They really went after it on the boards tonight. …I was happy with our effort.”
Allen East coach Rick Sherrick added, “Their defensive pressure is the difference. That’s the way Spencerville plays and we knew it. Until we show people that we can deal with that, then that’s what we’re going to see. We have to get better at handling the basketball.”