SPENCERVILLE – Spencerville took a major step towards winning or sharing in its first Northwest Conference title in girls basketball after the Bearcats held off a determined Delphos Jefferson squad, 42-35 Thursday night.
With the win, Spencerville improves to 12-7 but more importantly ups its conference mark to 6-1, keeping pace with Columbus Grove who defeated Allen East Thursday night that also has an identical 6-1 record in the NWC. With the loss Jefferson slips to 4-3 in the conference and 11-8 overall.
“This is a big win for us,” Spencerville head coach Greg Ekis said. “Delphos is a very good team and has 12 or 13 wins on the year and for us to come out and play well is a great thing to see.”
Feeding off the pep band, cheerleaders and large crowd, Spencerville’s defense was the main reason for the Bearcats posting the victory.
“If we play well defensively we have a pretty good shot at a win,” Ekis said. “They did a great job on some rotations tonight and on defense and they really listened well.”
Delphos head coach Dave Hoffman said his team played hard and rebounded well but the Wildcats offense never found a rhythm.
“They have a nice team and they attack the basket,” Hoffman said. “Our defense played hard but we gave up some easy shots when we didn’t get back on transition. They hit some crucial shots and when they needed to and we didn’t convert.”
Opening the game with back-to-back treys from senior Jenna Henline the Bearcats would never trail in the game and it would be an outstanding defensive effort in the second half that would allow the Bearcats to open up a double-digit lead in the third quarter and then Spencerville staved off a late surge by Jefferson to collect the win.
In that pivotal third quarter, Jefferson failed to score a single field goal and scored four points from the free throw line. The first field goal in the second half for Delphos would come with 3:40 left in the game.
Jefferson also put up a solid defensive effort that kept them close but the inability to score hampered the Wildcats all night.
“I think our defense was all right but we weren’t able to capitalize on turnovers at times and we missed shots,” Hoffman said. “They have a nice team.”
In this low scoring affair, Henline led the Bearcats in scoring with 11 points but the Bearcats would get key buckets from Abbygayle Satterfield who had five of her seven points in the third period. The junior also got the job done on the boards by grabbing seven caroms including some big offensive boards.
Bearcat senior Kaiden Grigsby had five points but those all came in the final stanza and helped curtail the Jefferson comeback.
For Jefferson, Macy Wallace scored a hard-earned 13 points and Alli McClurg added 10 points. The Wildcats did not hit a single 3-pointer.
After clearing this major obstacle, Spencerville had three games remaining on the schedule with its final NWC game against Crestview.
“I think we are starting to build some confidence,” Hoffman said. “We had a good win on Tuesday and this was a good win and we have three more games before we play the tournament and we are looking forward to all three of them.”
Reach Jose Nogueas at 567-242-0468 or on twitter @JoseNogueras1.