ELIDA — Elida’s defensive pressure was turned up full throttle.
However, the Bulldogs could not capitalize on their hustle plays against visiting Spencerville in Tuesday night’s nonconference girls basketball game at the Elida Fieldhouse.
Despite turning the ball over 24 times on the night, Spencerville’s domination on the boards and its solid shooting paved the way for a 47-37 victory over Elida.
Tuesday’s contest was the season-opener for Elida (0-1). Spencerville improves to 3-0 on the season.
Spencerville’s Emma Leis led all scorers with 14 points, including 7 of 9 shooting from the free throw line. Leis also pulled down six rebounds. Alex Carter, a 6-foot-4 post player, scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Abbygayle Satterfield added 11 points. Nelaya Burden scored six points, while pulling down eight boards and making five steals for the Bearcats.
Amira Freeman and Cienna Kuhn each scored nine points for Elida. Freeman also had five rebounds, while Kuhn got it done at the defensive end, making five steals. Amiah Jones added seven points for the Bulldogs.
Spencerville jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start the game. Elida battled back to cut the deficit to 10-9 by the end of the first quarter. Elida’s defensive pressure caused nine Spencerville turnovers in the first eight minutes of action. However, the Bulldogs could not capitalize on most of those miscues. Elida turned the ball over five times in the first frame.
“They did a great job of playing our guards,” Spencerville coach Greg Ekis said. “They were a pretty physical and athletic team. It took us a little bit of time to adjust to that. I think afterwards (the first quarter), we finally did a pretty good job of adjusting to how tough they were going to be.”
The Bearcats pulled out to a 23-16 lead by the halftime break. Elida was 5 of 17 shooting in the first half. Spencerville was 9 of 19 from the field in the first half. Spencerville controlled the boards in first half, 15-9.
Spencerville eventually pulled out of its man-to-man defense.
“The reason we went to a 2-3 zone was because we got into so much foul trouble,” Ekis said. “In the first quarter, I had two (players) with two (fouls), and then another one with two, quickly into the second (quarter). So, we had to go to a 2-3 zone. Once we went to a 2-3 zone, it did slow them down a little bit. We actually got back to it (zone) in the third quarter, which is kind of unusual for us.”
The Bearcats extended their lead to 36-24 by the end of the third stanza. Elida struggled, making just 3 of 15 shots from the floor.
However, with a little more than three minutes left to play in the contest, Kuhn hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to cut the deficit to 9, 40-31.
With 2:15 left to play, Jones scored inside to cut it to 40-33.
In the fourth quarter, Spencerville was 5 of 9 from the free throw line.
Elida turned the ball over just 13 times on the night.
Spencerville dominated the boards, 36-18.
“Obviously, Alex (Carter) gets a lot of credit for rebounds,” Ekis said. “But everybody on our team is expected to box out and rebound.”
For the game, Spencerville shot 47 percent from the field. Elida connected on 28 percent of its field goal attempts.
“I talked to the girls after the game, about when and where we wanted to take our shots at,” first-year Elida coach Roman Youngpeter said. “I thought in the fourth quarter we kind of rushed our zone offense a little too much. We got tired, because we were playing so hard the entire game.
“It was the first game. Everyone else has played two, three, four games. That can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, because you don’t know what to expect, intensity-wise. I was really happy with our intensity. So, we just have to work on the X’s and O’s, and I think we’ll be fine.”
Added Ekis, “I’m very pleased at how we started out on our nonconference (schedule). We have a good one coming Thursday against a good Paulding team that is much improved and very athletic.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.