VAN WERT — To say Delphos Jefferson got off to a slow start just might be an understatement.
It took the Wildcats more than seven minutes before they finally got on the scoreboard against Spencerville in Tuesday’s Division IV sectional semifinal girls basketball game at Van Wert.
However, Delphos Jefferson recovered, took the lead and never looked back en route to a 60-53 victory over Spencerville in girls basketball action. With the win, Jefferson (8-15) will take on Lincolnview in a sectional final at 8 p.m. Saturday at Van Wert. Spencerville ends its season 3-20.
Rileigh Stockwell led Delphos Jefferson with 17 points and eight rebounds. Hannah Sensibaugh scored 12 points, including 8-of-12 shooting from the free throw line. Sensibaugh also had five steals at the defensive end for the Wildcats.
Schylar Miller led Spencerville with 15 points and had seven boards. Alyssa Muhlholland scored 14 points and had a game-high 10 rebounds. Abby Freewalt added 10 points and five boards for the Bearcats.
“Neither team could put the ball in the basket at that time (first quarter),” Delphos Jefferson coach Dave Hoffman said. “We’ve had stretches through the year where we’ve had that.
“But our defense has to get better. I wasn’t real pleased with our defense. But at times we did cause some turnovers. Fortunately for us, we were able to get some turnovers and get some baskets.”
After shooting 1-for-10 from the floor and getting down 7-6 by the end of the first quarter, Delphos Jefferson then got out to an 11-2 run to begin the second quarter. By the halftime break the Wildcats led 28-22.
In the third quarter, turnovers plagued the Bearcats as Delphos Jefferson pulled out to a 45-33 lead by the third stop.
For the game, Spencerville committed 27 turnovers, while Delphos Jefferson turned the ball more than 16 times.
“We made turnovers at crucial times,” Spencerville coach Warren Pughsley said. “I think the biggest part of it is that we were down six and we had three straight possessions (late in the game) where we took a bad shot and turned it over twice. That was a chance for six points.”
Delphos Jefferson missed some opportunities at the free throw line, making 22-of-43 of its charity tosses. Spencerville was 10-for-17 from the charity stripe.
From the field, Delphos Jefferson shot 34 percent. Spencerville shot 41 percent from the floor.
“We have to fix some things at the offensive end,” Hoffman said. “We were a little jittery. But we survived and that’s the important thing.”
Delphos St. John’s 55, Parkway 32
In the opening Division IV sectional semifinal game on Tuesday, St. John’s worked its inside-outside game to perfection to pull away from Parkway for the win.
Katie Vorst got the job down inside, scoring 18 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. On the perimeter, Jessica Recker scored 17 points, including five 3-pointers. Recker also dished out five assists. Emilie Fischbach hit three times behind the arc for nine points for the Blue Jays.
Sierra Fent scored nine points to lead Parkway (3-20).
With the win, St. John’s (9-14) will take on Crestview for a sectional title on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. at Van Wert.
The game was knotted at 10 by the end of the first quarter. St. John’s led 21-14 by the break. By the end of the third quarter the Blue Jays had extended its lead to 40-23.
“I thought our kids did a nice job of executing against their zone,” St. John’s coach Dan Grothouse said. “We cut well, we got the ball to the right spots, especially in the second half. …Our inside game came alive. Katie (Vorst) kind of picked it up a little bit.”
For the game, St. John’s shot 47 percent. The Blue Jays hit a season-high eight 3-pointers. Parkway shot 42 percent from the floor.