ELIDA — A little bit of super glue and athletic tape and Bath’s Ja’Dasia Hardison was good to go.
Hardison gave the Wildkittens an offensive spark and the Bath press came at Elida like a wrecking ball.
Bath’s press forced Elida into 29 turnovers and the Wildkittens posted a 50-44 victory over Elida in a girls basketball game Thursday at the Elida Fieldhouse.
The press helped Bath overcome a tough shooting night where it hit only 35 percent from the field.
“That (the press causing 29 turnovers) was the key in the game,” Bath coach Greg Mauk said. “I thought our defense was pretty good. Our whole team defense was good, but individually, I thought Abbie Dackin was the key. We put her on (Cienna) Kuhn in the first half and she really got after her and we kept her from rebounding. Then we put her on (Hayleigh) Bacome in the second half.’’
Chandler Clark led Bath with 14 points, including going 12 of 12 at the foul line. Clark also had eight steals out of the press.
Ruby Bolon had 12 points for Bath, with 10 coming in the first half.
The sophomore Hardison, who flew around the offensive glass, had 10 points and five rebounds. Hardison was also a big influence in the press.
“She made plays,” Mauk said of Hardison. “She’s a playmaker. She’s athletic, she’s mobile and she has good basketball skills. She had a good game for us.
“And she broke her glasses before the game and it’s the only pair of glasses she has right now.’’
Hardison said, “My coach got some super glue, then we taped them so they stayed on (during the game).
“I came in with complete focus and I knew this was a big game for us. I wanted to go out there and play my heart out. That’s what I did and that’s what the team did.’’
Bath continues to play without sophomore Madelyn Renner, who suffered a broken foot in soccer and isn’t ready for practice.
Even without Renner, Bath started five sophomores.
Bath is 3-3, 2-0 in the Western Buckeye League.
Elida is 1-4, 0-2 in the WBL.
Amira Freeman led Elida with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Hayleigh Bacome and Cienna Kuhn both had 10 points. Kuhn had four boards.
Hailey Little had four points and seven rebounds.
Elida was able to stay close by hitting 53 percent from the field.
But the Bulldogs weren’t able to overcome their 29 turnovers.
“We didn’t take care of the ball,” Elida coach Roman Youngpeter said. “We didn’t get set up in our press breaker quick enough. Then, we’re all out of sorts. … It’s something we need to work on better as a team.’’
The Bulldogs outrebounded Bath 30-22.
Both defenses were efficient the whole game.
Bath ran its 1-2-2 press, while Elida had a man press and played a sticky man in the halfcourt.
Bath led 39-37 early in the fourth quarter.
The Wildkittens went on a 6-0 run with Esther Bolon knocking down a 3-pointer and Ruby Bolon scoring on a driving layup.
That pushed the Bath lead to 45-37 with 3:44 to go.
Bath’s lead was 45-41 with 46 seconds left.
Clark helped finish it off for Bath by going 4 for 4 at the line in the final 32 seconds.
Bath led 15-12 after the first quarter and 28-27 at the half.
Bath ran out to a quick 8-2 lead behind the inside play of Ruby Bolon.
But while Bath ran its usual zone press, Elida rolled out a man-to-man press of its own.
Elida got within 15-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Bath was leading 17-12 early in the second quarter when Elida ripped off a 9-2 run to pull ahead 21-19.
Elida’s lead grew to 25-21.
The key was the Elida defense.
“We do play hard,” Youngpeter said. “I liked the man press,” Youngpeter said. “We’re not there yet. It’s a new system.’’
Bath ended the half on a 7-2 run to nudge ahead 28-27 at the break.
Bath’s 1-2-2 press forced 17 Elida turnovers by the half.
“We kept them on their heels in that zone press,” Mauk said.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.