COLUMBUS GROVE — Columbus Grove’s Tayt Birnesser took care of the outside game and Blake Reynolds owned the inside.
That was more than enough for the Bulldogs.
Birnesser and Reynolds combined for 52 points to power Columbus Grove to a 70-45 boys basketball victory Friday night against Lincolnview.
The 6-foot-3 junior Birnesser finished with 28 points and was 7 of 11 on 3-pointers.
The 6-4 junior Reynolds added 24 points and nine rebounds from down low.
Columbus Grove stands 9-0, 3-0 in the Northwest Conference.
Lincolnview is 5-5, 1-1 in the NWC.
Birnesser set the school record with 10 3-pointers last year, but he’d been struggling from long range in a few games over the holidays, until the Fort Jennings game last Saturday.
“I did come in an extra day in the morning this week to get some shots up, but I think a lot was confidence,” Birnesser said. “Tonight, I let it fly and didn’t think about it.’’
Columbus Grove’s 2-2-1 press caused plenty of havoc early, forcing the Lancers into 13 first-half turnovers.
Columbus Grove not only was gobbling up turnovers, it was turning them into transition baskets at the other end.
“Coach pushes on us to get in transition and run,” Birnesser said.
And when the Bulldogs got the rebound off the glass, off they would go via the long outlet pass.
“We’re long and we get our hands on a lot of basketballs, then our goal is to turn turnovers into points,” Columbus Grove coach Chris Sautter said. … “I thought our guys did a good job of pushing the ball, make or miss (by the Lancers).’’
Lincolnview finished with 17 turnovers.
When Birnesser wasn’t nailing 3-pointers, the Bulldogs were either scoring on fast-break layups or driving their way to the basket.
The Bulldogs finished with 30 baskets for the game and 22 were layups.
Seven baskets came from Birnesser on 3-pointers.
“On the scouting report we said we had to own the paint,” Sautter said. “We know we can get guys to attack and penetrate and we’re hopefully going to get points in transition and get some second-chance points around the rim.
“And Blake does a really good job of keeping things alive and getting second-chance opportunities. And then you have Tayt hitting seven threes, which opens up lanes to drive to the basket.’’
Lincolnview was led by Collin Overholt’s 19 points, with three 3-pointers.
Jake Bowersock scored eight points for the Lancers.
The Bulldogs ran out to a 14-7 lead after the first quarter.
They pushed the lead to 33-15 at the half.
The Lancers started the game in a 3-2 zone, but when Grove took an 11-7 lead, they switched to man.
Birnesser was hot no matter what defense Lincolnview as in.
He had two first-quarter 3-pointers and racked up four 3-pointers by halftime.
The Bulldogs started the second quarter on a 14-2 run to pull out to a 28-9 lead with 3:28 left before halftime.
During that run, the Bulldogs had three straight fast-break layups and one driving layup.
By halftime, Birnesser had 15 points, while Reynolds had 10.
Lincolnview won the boards, 30-28.
Lincolnview shot 38 percent from the field and was 5 of 12 on 3-pointers.
Columbus Grove shot 57 percent from the field and was 7 of 19 on 3-pointers.
“We have a lot more to improve on, but game-by-game, we get a little better,” Birnesser said.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.