SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP – Early on, Shawnee was matching Columbus Grove, shot for shot.
Then came the second quarter.
Columbus Grove caught fire on the offensive end. And on the defensive end, the Bulldogs’ pressure was nearly suffocating.
After the score was knotted at 15 by the end of the first quarter, Columbus Grove then caught fire and pulled away for a convincing 67-49 nonconference victory in girls basketball at Lappin Gymnasium Tuesday night.
For the game, Columbus Grove hit 14 3-pointers as four players scored in double figures for the Bulldogs.
Kenzie King and Savanah Ridenour each poured in 20 points for Columbus Grove. King hit five 3-pointers, while Ridenour connected four times behind the arc. Abigail Gladwell scored 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Erin Downing scored 11 points for the Bulldogs.
At the defensive end, Columbus Grove’s pressure helped cause 27 Shawnee turnovers.
Tuesday’s game was Columbus Grove’s season opener.
Columbus Grove head coach Brian Schroeder said he encourages his players to take the shot on the perimeter.
“We spend a lot of time in practice, shooting, because with the (lack of) size of our team,” Schroeder said. “With Angel Schneider out tonight, we knew that we probably would have to score more of our points on the perimeter, than what we are normally used to.
“I tell our players to just have confidence and catch the ball with the intent to shoot; and hopefully if they’re going in, that will set up the drive and set up some drive-and-kick situations.”
Tessa Jordan led Shawnee (1-1) with 19 points, including two 3-pointers. Kennedy Jensen scored 10 points and had two 3-pointers. Trinity Gearing, a 6-foot post player for the Indians, scored nine points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
Shawnee jumped out to a 6-3 lead, thanks to 3-pointers by Tessa Stahler (three points) and Jensen.
It was a hard-fought first eight minutes of action.
Ridenour hit her second trey of the first quarter, seconds before the first stop, to knot the game at 15.
Then came the explosive second quarter for the Bulldogs.
Columbus Grove went on a run.
King nailed a deep 3-pointer to open the second stanza and gave the Bulldogs an 18-15 lead.
Ridenour began to dial up long distance. The sophomore forward hit two more treys, early on, to jump-start the Bulldogs. Columbus Grove quickly pulled out to a 26-18 lead, less than two minutes into the second stanza.
Jordan kept the Indians close for a while, as she hit both from the inside and outside. Jordan ended the half with 12 points.
However, Jordan’s offensive contribution was not enough
King poured in 17 points in the first 16 minutes of action, including four 3-pointers. Ridenour ended the half with 14 points, including four shots behind the arc. The Bulldogs made 10-of-16 of their shots from the field in the final eight minutes of the first half as they out-scored the Indians 27-13 in the second quarter. Columbus Grove went into the halftime break with a commanding 42-28 lead.
In the first half, Shawnee turned the ball over 14 times.
“I thought we did a nice job in the half-court (defense), on being able to pressure them and preventing them from getting post touches,” Schroeder said. “In the full-court, it was feast or famine. We either got a turnover and got a nice look off it, or we gave up a layup on the other end.”
Columbus Grove led 55-35 by the end of the third quarter.
For the game, Columbus Grove shot 48 percent from the floor. Shawnee shot 47 percent on its field goal attempts. However, the Indians were held to just 30 shot attempts on the night (14-of-30). Columbus Grove put up 50 shots (24-of-50).
In the second half, the Indians were just 4-of-13 from the field.
“Overall, I was really happy with our first game and how hard we came out and just competed,” Schroeder said. “We made some mistakes, but we got on it after the first quarter, battled back and pulled out a win.”