BATH TOWNSHIP — Bath’s performance Thursday had virtually no suspense but plenty of emotion and achievement.
The Wildkittens drubbed Kenton 66-17 for their 41st straight Western Buckeye League victory on Parent’s Night.
Prior to the game, all parents were honored and the team’s five seniors were highlighted for their careers. After the game, the team celebrated again, this time because it had claimed at least a share of the program’s fifth-straight WBL title, 18th overall – tops all-time in the league’s history.
“It’s amazing,” said Bath four-year letterwinner Maddie Dackin, who led all scorers with 16 points. “All the seniors are so lucky to be a part of it, so we’re very excited.
“(Parent’s Night) was emotional for us. But we know we still have one more WBL game. We have some big games coming up so we have to stay focused.”
A win at Elida on Thursday would clinch Bath’s fourth-straight WBL title outright. The five-straight league titles is the first such streak in the program’s storied history.
“That’s a great accomplishment for the league we play in,” Bath coach Greg Mauk said. “There’s some good basketball in the league and there has been for a long time.”
Though the players didn’t exhibit a lot of emotion prior to the game, they certainly seemed intense after the ball was tipped off. The Wildkittens shut down Kenton’s offense and scored at will on the other end for a 20-0 lead after the first quarter. By half it was 39-3 as Bath made 14-of-22 field goals and only three turnovers to Kenton’s 12 turnovers and 1-for-14 from the floor.
“We had a tough night on Tuesday (a 62-43 win over Marion Local), a real challenging opponent,” Mauk said. “We felt like tonight we wanted to do the best job we could of trying to stay focused and get a little better.
“Our older group, our seniors come out to play every night. They respond. I was concerned about our young kids, how they would respond to the fact we were able to get them a lot of time tonight. It was a chance to see what a lot of them could do.”
Bath’s starters played most of the first half but barely played after the early part of the third quarter. Haylee Brenek scored 11 points for Bath while Cassie Best had nine. Eleven Bath players scored.
“Our (seniors) are very professional for young kids, they handle themselves in a very business-like manner,” Mauk said. “I know it meant a lot to them to come out and play on Senior Night.
“We talked about it in the locker room that they’ve set such a great example. The point was to let the younger kids know what it takes to be a good senior leader. These seniors learned from other kids and now it’s time to pass the torch on, and they’ve taken that responsibility. It was important to them.”