BATH TOWNSHIP — There are some things that cannot be easily simulated at practice.
Columbus Grove knew coming into Friday’s nonconference matchup with Bath that working the basketball near the basket would be a challenge.
Bath’s long arms and quick hands have given opponents fits so far this season.
Columbus Grove saw it first hand as Bath’s defensive pressure helped pave the way for a 61-43 Wildcats’ win in boys basketball.
Cole Chambers led the way for Bath (6-1), pouring in a game-high 18 points. The 6-foot-3 Chambers had the hot hand from the start, scoring seven points in each of the first two quarters. At the defensive end, Chambers came away with two steals. Taren Sullivan, a 6-foot-4 wing, scored 17 points, including two 3-pointers. Sullivan also had three steals. Conner Rockhold added 12 points and three steals.
Will Vorhees led Columbus Grove (2-3) with 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Derek Rieman scored 11 points and had six boards for the Bulldogs.
From the start, Bath’s length made it difficult for Columbus Grove.
In the first quarter, the Bulldogs committed 10 turnovers. Columbus Grove saw an early 8-2 lead quickly diminish as the Wildcats’ pressure helped generate several quick baskets. By the end of the first quarter, Bath led 15-9.
In the second quarter, Columbus Grove struggled from the field, while Sullivan and Chambers hit key shots from the perimeter to help extend Bath’s lead to 33-18 by the break.
“Our defense was definitely our strong point tonight — getting after them and creating turnovers,” Bath coach Doug Davis said “We love to get up and get after teams. If guards have trouble at handling that, then we’re pretty good at not letting them get into their offense.
“But, I hope we get a little better executing on offense and play a little bit better at that end of the floor. But it was definitely a night where defense carried us.”
Columbus Grove came out in the second half and cut the deficit to 44-34 by the third stop. However, in the final period Bath limited the Bulldogs to 2-of-6 shooting.
Bath ended the game shooting 45 percent from the field, while Columbus shot 38 percent from the floor.
For the game, Columbus Grove committed 22 turnovers, while Bath turned the ball over 13 times.
“Five-foot-8 and 5-9 going up against 6-3 is a lot to make up,” Columbus Grove coach Ryan Stechschulte said. “We practice for it. We had some guys in there (at practice) trying to simulate it. But we just didn’t do a good job of attacking it tonight.”