BATH TOWNSHIP — The Bath girls basketball has made a living with its pressure defensethrough the years.
The young Wildkittens were trying to do the same to Columbus Grove on Saturday afternoon in a non-league clash.
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they did just enough to build up a double-digit lead and held off Bath 38-35.
The Bulldogs (2-0) had the better start in the opening period and used that to end up a winner.
“We just didn’t do the things we need to do to win a game. We didn’t score the basketball, we didn’t rebound, we didn’t handle the ball well,” Bath head coach Greg Mauk said. “It isn’t for lack of effort; these girls are working hard to try and get better but it’s going to take some time for us to get there. All we can do is keep working hard and getting the reps at practice for us to start doing what we need to do.”
Columbus Grove head coach Bryan Schroeder acknowledged his team had to overcome some obstacles to get this win.
“We started off well in our man-to-man defense but then we got into some foul trouble in the first period. We had to switch to try and keep them off the line and to protect a couple of our players,” Schroeder said. “We gave up some easy baskets in our 2-3 zone that we weren’t giving up in our man-to-man. You also know that Bath is going to be a good team any time you face them. Their record isn’t indicative of what they have because of their schedule but you know they will eventually figure it out.”
The Bulldogs used strong defense – matching up with the Wildkittens – to build up a 10-point lead after a period of play. Their man-to-man defense forced eight turnovers in the first period alone – out of a game total of 13 – and, combined with Bath missing all four shots from the field, they made things difficult for Bath. Columbus Grove had hit four out of 10 shots from the field – including three treys – to build a double-digit lead of 11-0 and the only point by Bath came at 43.3 seconds as Ruby Bolon hit the second-of-2 foul shots.
Bath (1-3) seemed to steady itself in the second period but still couldn’t quite get things rolling. The Wildkittens took better care of the ball – no turnovers – but hit four out of 15 shots in trying to rally. They did better defensively in limiting Columbus Grove to seven points and reduced their deficit to 18-11 as Esther Bolon hit a basket in the last 23 seconds.
Bath continued to rally in the third period as it got within 21-17 on a 3-pointer by Tori Dackin but no closer at that time. The defenses continued to rule the play as the teams combined for 8-for-21 shooting in the eight minutes but Bath had closed within 29-23 as Chandler Clark hit a basket for the last points of the quarter.
In the early part of the fourth period, Bath had its best span as it got within 31-30 by the 4-minute mark on a transition 3-pointer from Bolon but the Wildkittens couldn’t take the lead. When they needed to stay warm, they couldn’t as they hit one of their final four shots and had to eventually start fouling. A 3-ball by Kenzie King (18 points, all on treys) was huge for Columbus Grove and the Bulldogs’ Angel Schneider hit a pair of foul shots at 1:18 to put their lead at 36-30. Bath had one more run in them – a basket from Abbie Dackin and a 3-pointer from the right wing by Clark with 30 seconds to go - but an inside basket from Schneider with 16 seconds on the board sealed the deal for Grove.
“Columbus Grove did what they had to do. Give them credit,” Mauk said. “They had one girl that scored 18 points, that’s half of their total. If we do a better job on her, this game turns out differently. We have a tough schedule and get no breaks from our schedule. we want none from our schedule.”
Schroeder’s Bulldogs moved to 2-0 on the season.
“We had some turnovers against their pressure but for the most part, we handled their pressure. We did just enough to get a win today,” Schroeder said. “We had a couple of big plays down the stretch: Angel had a big bucket there at the end that helped us over the top. That’s what it came down to, us doing those kinds of things to get a big early season win.”