BATH TOWNSHIP – Bath swarmed the Shawnee ball handlers all night long.
The Indians struggled to get shots off.
Bath’s suffocating defensive pressure helped pave the way for a convincing 60-20 victory over Shawnee in the Western Buckeye League girls basketball season-opener at Bath Thursday night.
For the game, Shawnee turned the ball over 30 times; and Bath capitalized on most of those miscues.
Chandler Clark led Bath (5-0, 1-0 WBL) with 14 points, four steals and four assists. Clark also was a perfect 4 for 4 at the free throw line. Madelyn Renner scored eight points, pulled down 12 rebounds and had four steals. Ja’ Dasia Hardison scored eight points and had four steals. Esther Bolon had eight points, including two 3-pointers. Freshman Rachel Clark had seven points and five steals for the Wildkittens. In all, Bath had nine players crack the scoring column Thursday evening.
Longtime Bath coach Greg Mauk praised his squad’s defensive effort.
“When we want to play defense – we have some quick, athletic kids who can get after it,” Mauk said. “They can really get after it and make it difficult for teams to get the ball up the floor – let alone, run their half-court offense. So, it’s been a good thing. … We just can’t rest. Sometimes, we have to remind them of that. But we’re playing really good defense, right now.”
On the night, Bath’s defensive pressure held Shawnee to just 6 of 27 shooting from the floor for 22 percent.
Kennedy Jensen led Shawnee (1-3, 0-1 WBL) with seven points, including a 3-pointer. Tessa Jordan added six points for the Indians.
Bath came out aggressive, right from the opening tip.
Bath’s pressure helped cause six Shawnee turnovers in the first quarter.
However, the Wildkittens struggled to find their shot early on, as they slipped out with a 9-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Bath was 4 of 14 shooting from the field in the first eight minutes of action, while Shawnee connected on 2 of 7 of its shots.
However, Bath started to find its range in the second period.
Esther Bolon and Madelyn Renner both connected behind the 3-point line, early on, to push the Bath lead to 15-7, a little more than a minute into the second quarter.
The Wildkittens extended their lead to 17-7 on a steal and breakaway layup by Hardison, just moments later.
Bath kept pushing the tempo at both ends of the court. By the halftime break, Bath led 28-12.
Renner scored seven points in the second quarter to lead the Wildkittens.
The Indians turned the ball over 15 times in the first half, while being limited to just 3 of 10 shooting from the floor.
Bath was 12 of 34 from the floor in the first half.
Then, the floodgates opened up.
Bath opened the second half with a flurry, and outscored the Indians 21-2 in the third quarter, to pull out to a 49-14 lead by the third stop.
“We’re pretty balanced,” Mauk said about his team. “We have kids who can score from the perimeter, and can also take it off the dribble.”
Bath dominated the boards, 39-23. Out of those rebounds for the Wildkittens, 22 came at the offensive end.
On the night, Bath shot 38 percent from the field.
Mauk is pleasantly surprised at how his team has started to gel, this early in the season.
“If you would have told me that throughout the scrimmage season, I would have told you, ‘you’re on to something’,” Mauk said, in reference to his team’s intensity level. “I think it was about finding their legs from soccer. … They (the soccer athletes) got here a little bit late. There were a lot of things. … We just weren’t meshing. But once we got going, early season, we’ve started to hit our stride.”