HARROD — In a tightly-contested basketball game, getting stops at the defensive end is imperative.
After the first half of Thursday’s Northwest Conference match-up against Allen East, Columbus Grove girls coach Brian Schroeder emphasized to his team the importance of getting stops.
His team responded.
After slipping into the halftime break with a 27-26 lead over the Mustangs, Columbus Grove turned up the pressure at the defensive end, forcing 13 second-half turnovers, holding Allen East to 1-of-13 shooting from the field, en route to a convincing 58-40 victory over the Mustangs at Allen East.
With the win, Columbus Grove improves to 12-6 overall and 5-1 in the NWC. Allen East slips to 9-10, 4-2.
“I challenged them at halftime to get stops at the defensive end,” Schroeder said. “Obviously, there were a lot of fouls called tonight and that kind of slowed it down a little bit, which is not what we want.
“So, I challenged them to move their feet and to keep the girls in front of them. We did a nice job of that and outscored them by 14 in the third quarter. And that was kind of the difference.”
The Bulldogs had three players score in double figures. Jade Clement and Lynea Diller each scored 15 points. Clement also had five rebounds and three assists. Diller, a 6-foot-1 forward, pulled down eight rebounds and had four blocks. Carlee McCluer scored 13 points and had five boards. Paige Bellman added nine points and six rebounds.
Kylie Wyss recorded a double-double for Allen East. Wyss scored 21 points and came away with 16 rebounds. The 5-9 Wyss was a force down low, making 7-of-9 from the field. She also was 7-of-12 from the free throw line. Aubri Woods added nine points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals for the Mustangs.
For Allen East, getting outscored by 14 points in the third quarter was too much to overcome.
“They definitely controlled the third quarter,” Allen East coach Dana Koontz said. “With their pressure, we turned it over quite a few times and that was the difference in the ball game.”
For the game, Allen East committed 23 turnovers. Columbus Grove turned the ball over 13 times.
Columbus Grove shot 37 percent from the floor. Allen East shot 28 percent.
This season has been a challenge for Columbus Grove. After four-year starter Sydney McCluer suffered a season-ending knee injury in late December, the Bulldogs have been getting some inconsistent play from its younger players.
“We’re pretty young,” Schroeder said. “We start two freshmen, a couple juniors and a sophomore. So, we’re still trying to learn how to play together and trying to understand the game. Our guards have some quickness. They look good at times, and they look really bad at times. But, they’ve grown a lot throughout the year. They played solid tonight.”
“We talk about poise a lot. With Allen East being down, they were looking to trap us with their man (defense) and 1-2-2. It was good from a coaching aspect to see that we handled the pressure, showed some poise and made some good decisions.”