SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Once Shawnee broke the press, there was no doubt who it would look for.
The Indians got the ball down low to 6-foot-1 sophomore Trinity Gearing.
Gearing delivered with 20 points to lead Shawnee to a 62-60 victory over Columbus Grove on Tuesday night.
Shawnee is 2-0. Columbus Grove is 0-1.
Gearing scored 12 points in the second half, including eight in the final quarter. She also had eight rebounds and seven blocks.
Alissa Stahler added 13 points and eight rebounds for Shawnee. Eliyana Floyd had 11 points, while Ijah Austin scored eight.
Columbus Grove played without first team all-state 6-foot Paige Bellman, who had surgery on her torn ACL in her knee last week. Bellman will miss her senior year and is headed to the University of Detroit-Mercy.
Lauren Schroeder paced Grove with 14 points and four 3-pointers. Rylee Sybert scored 12.
Columbus Grove led 34-29 early in the third quarter.
At that point, Shawnee called timeout and set up on how to solve the Grove 2-2-1 full-court press.
“We moved Alissa (Stahler) to the middle of the floor. She gave us some height there (to break the press),” Shawnee coach Jeff Heistan said. “Once we got it to the middle of the floor, we did a nice job getting it down the court.’’
Added Columbus Grove coach Brian Schroeder, “They did a nice job (in the second half) of breaking our press and getting the ball inside. We knew going in they had the size advantage. We were trying to make it an uptempo game.
From there, Shawnee went on a 12-0 run to take a 41-34 lead with 2:30 left in the third quarter.
Shawnee led 43-41 after three quarters and never trailed again.
Gearing scored on a 5-footer and two 10-footers to build a 59-48 lead with 3:22 to go.
“She’s playing really good basketball,” Heistan said of Gearing. “She’s hard to guard. Trinity took advantage of the fact they didn’t have (6-foot) Bellman on the floor. … I always thought in eighth grade that she (Gearing) had this type of talent. But she’s really come a long way in a short time.’’
Grove made a final run but never was able to tie the game.
Shawnee won the rebounding battle 34-33.
Shawnee had 25 turnovers, including 16 in the first half. Grove had 16 turnovers.
Columbus Grove jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead. Shawnee immediately came back within 10-9 and it was close the rest of the half.
Columbus Grove’s full-court 2-2-1 full-court press forced 16 Shawnee turnovers.
Grove led 17-12 after the first quarter and 29-26 at the half.
The Bulldogs are a work in progress after Bellman went down in the preseason with the knee injury.
“It changes the dynamic of our team without Paige,” Schroeder said. “I don’t want to make excuses. I think we have some really good players. We have to go out and give everything we’ve got. We’re young and we’re green. I think the more games they play, the better off we’re going to be by the end of the year.’’
The Lima News sport department can be reached at 567-242-0451.