Girls Basketball: Quick start leads Columbus Grove past Kalida

OTTAWA — The district tournament is a familiar place for Lauryn Auchmuty and the Columbus Grove Bulldogs.

Thursday night marked Auchmuty’s third trip to this stage of the postseason and that experience showed through against a younger Kalida team.

Columbus Grove scored the first 10 points of the game and never looked back, earning a 45-38 win in the district semifinals behind another sharp performance from Auchmuty, who finished with a game-high 22 points.

“She thrives off this environment,” Columbus Grove coach Brian Schroeder said. “She got us going early by hitting some really tough shots and that kind of settled everybody in.”

Auchmuty had seven of Columbus Grove’s first 10 points to open the game, including a pair of her signature step-back three-pointers. On the night, she shot 6 of 15 from the floor and nailed four triples.

Columbus Grove’s early 10-0 lead was eerily similar to the start of the game when the two teams met in the regular season. But unlike that 31-15 win for the Bulldogs on Dec.19, Kalida stuck around and made it interesting at points on Thursday night.

“That was just a weird game. We got up on them early and they got some good shots that they didn’t hit,” Schroder said. “It seemed like one of those nights for Kalida where they couldn’t hit anything. We knew they were better than that. They beat Ayersville and Minster at the end of the year, so we knew this would be a tough PCL battle.”

It seemed like the momentum was shifting toward Kalida at the end of the third quarter. After being down 30-21, the Wildcats ended the quarter with eight of the final 10 points, including a deep three from Ady Miller at the buzzer to make it 32-29.

Miller’s shot from the volleyball line drew oohs and ahhs from the crowd and even made it a one-possession game, but Columbus Grove regrouped during the break and opened up the fourth quarter with the first seven points, taking the lead back up to 10 and effectively putting the game away.

Columbus Grove played “keep away” with its guards out front over the last three minutes and hit six free throws down the stretch.

Nicole Nesby scored nine points for the Bulldogs. Kendall Palte added eight. Ruth Myers and Abby Stechschulte each hit a three-pointer.

For Kalida, Andrea Bugei had 10 points, including three triples. Whitney Unverferth also had 10 and Avrie Unverferth added eight.

Kalida made 12 of its 34 shot attempts for 35 percent, while Columbus Grove hit 12 of its 28 field goals for 31 percent.

The Wildcats won the turnover battle 6-5 but were outrebounded by the Bulldogs 25-13.

Columbus Grove’s win sets them up with another PCL rematch on Saturday night, this one against Miller City with the district title on the line.

“They’re a very experienced team,” Schroeder said of Miller City. “They’re a senior-led group that’s tough and physical. They play great defense and they have multiple girls that can score, so that’s definitely going to be a challenge to handle. We’re going to enjoy this one tonight and we’ll go to work tomorrow preparing for them.”

Columbus Grove took the regular season meeting over Miller City 42-37 back on Jan. 20.

Columbus Grove 45, Kalida 38

Score by quarters:

Kalida 4 9 16 9 – 38

Columbus Grove 13 11 8 13 – 45


Andrea Burgei 10, Whitney Unverferth 10, Avrie Unverferth 6, Ady Miller 4, Meredith Bockrath 4, Malia Romes 2, Olivia Meyer 2, Totals: 12-7-38


Lauryn Auchmuty 22, Nicole Nesby 9, Kendall Palte 8, Abby Stechschulte 3, Ruth Myers 3, Totals: 12-11-45

Three-point goals: KL — Burgei 3, A. Unverferth 1, Miller 1; CG — Auchmuty 3, Myers 1, Stechschulte 1

Records — Kalida 17-7; Columbus Grove 19-5

Reach Chris Howell at 567-242-0468 or on Twitter at @Lima_Howell