SPENCERVILLE — Whenever a basketball team wins a huge game, there’s always a fear of a letdown in the following game.
Spencerville was coming off a hard-fought Northwest Conference victory over Columbus Grove this past Thursday.
However, there were no signs of a letdown in Tuesday’s nonconference girls’ basketball game against visiting Shawnee.
Spencerville sped out to an early lead and never looked back, en route to a convincing 64-34 win over Shawnee.
With the victory, Spencerville improves to 10-2. Shawnee slips to 2-12 on the season.
Nelaya Burden led Spencerville with 17 points and six rebounds. Gillian Goecke scored 10 points off the bench, including two 3-pointers. Alex Carter scored 10 points and had four boards. Emma Leis had eight points, five assists and three steals. Olivia Goecke scored eight points for the Bearcats.
Trinity Gearing, a 6-foot post player, led Shawnee with 17 points, pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and had a game-high four blocks. Tessa Jordan had seven points, five steals and four rebounds for the Indians.
“We talked about how we had to get off to a quick start,” Spencerville coach Greg Ekis said. “We wanted to really pressure and score the ball well. We were hoping that we might be able to turn them over a little bit. We did a pretty good job of doing both of those things tonight. So, we’re pretty pleased.”
Spencerville got out quickly, pushing out to a 9-1 lead, less than three minutes into the contest. Burden scored five of those points.
The Bearcats sped out to a 22-6 lead by the end of the first quarter. Shawnee turned the ball over 10 times in the first eight minutes. Burden poured in 11 first-quarter points.
“Nelaya did a great job getting us off to a great start, offensively,” Ekis said. “Defensively, she’s worked really hard this year of becoming a better defensive player, a better on-the-ball defensive player. She did a really good job tonight.”
However, Spencerville struggled from the floor, early in the second quarter. But the Bearcats finally got out in transition often down the stretch, racing out to a 35-20 lead by the halftime break.
Grace O’Connor (six points, four assists) led the Indians to a strong second quarter, hitting twice behind the 3-point line.
Spencerville led 47-29 at the third stop.
The Bearcats picked up the pace in the final stanza, out-scoring the Indians 17-5. Shawnee was just 1 of 10 shooting from the floor in the final eight minutes.
For the game, Spencerville shot 46 percent from the field. Shawnee countered with 31-percent shooting from the floor.
Spencerville held the slight edge on the boards, 32-30.
Spencerville turned the ball over 12 times, while Shawnee turned the ball over 23 times on the night.
“That (turnovers) is one of the things we’re stressing,” Ekis said. “We struggled with that early in the year, So, we’re really stressing about limiting turnovers and taking care of the basketball.”
First-year Shawnee coach Rachel Ciminillo took some positives from Tuesday’s loss. However, she noted that her team missed some opportunities.
“We regrouped at the beginning of the second half,” Ciminillo said. “But we had a lot of turnovers, and we shot 6 of 16 from the free throw line.
“The big thing that hurt us were the offensive boards. But you have to hand it to them (Spencerville). They did a great job.”
Added Ekis, “We talked about how important it was to come out, be focused and be ready to play.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.