VAN WERT – Spencerville keeps finding ways to win.
In Monday’s non-conference girls basketball game at Van Wert, Spencerville worked through some turnover issues, and finally pulled away with a convincing 55-37 victory over the Cougars.
With the win, Spencerville improves to 5-0 overall. Van Wert slips to 1-4.
Nelaya Burden led Spencerville with 18 points. Alex Carter, a 6-foot-4 post player, scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Emma Leis had 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Bearcats.
Abby Jackson led Van Wert with 10 points. Teammate Sierra Shaffer added eight points and three steals.
Spencerville got the early lead and held off Van Wert in the second half for the win.
On the night, Spencerville turned the ball over 16 times. Van Wert turned it over 13 times.
“I think we finished both the second and third quarters very well,” Spencerville coach Greg Ekis said. “But in the middle, we ran into some turnover problems again. Give Van Wert credit. They never quit. They kept pushing and playing hard. Defensively, they played pretty well.”
Spencerville jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the early going. Kelsey Shaffer (six points), Burden and Gillian Goecke (six points) each hit 3-pointers to ignite the Bearcats. Van Wert missed its first nine field goal attempts.
Spencerville’s lead grew to 14-7 by the end of the first quarter. The Cougars connected on just 2 of 12 shots from the field in the first eight minutes of action.
Van Wert’s shooting woes continued in the second quarter.
The Cougars were 3 of 12 shooting from the floor, as Spencerville extended its lead to 25-14 by the halftime break. The Bearcats connected four times behind the 3-point line in the first half. Shaffer had two of those long-range shots.
Spencerville pushed its lead to 44-28 by the end of the third quarter. Burden led the way with seven third-quarter points. Spencerville closed the third quarter with a 7-0 run after Van Wert cut to deficit to nine points, 37-28.
“Gillian Goecke hit two huge threes for us – one in the second and one in the third. She’s just been making clutch shots for us,” Ekis said. “We’ve had different girls step up for us.”
Spencerville won the battle on the boards, 39-24.
For the game, Spencerville shot 39 percent from the field. Van Wert countered with 30-percent shooting from the floor.
“We got some balanced scoring tonight, which is also a good thing,” Ekis said. “I like how hard we’re playing. But we do have to cut down on the turnovers.
“We’re lucky, defensively, that we’re playing pretty well. So, those turnovers won’t always hurt us. But at some point, we have to stop turning the ball over.”
Ekis said, despite the fast start, his team has some work to do.
“We’re extremely happy about being 5-0. But we have to play a very well-coached Lincolnview team on Thursday. So, we have Tuesday and Wednesday, where we have to get better.”