BATH TOWNSHIP — It almost seemed like there was a lid on both baskets.
Neither Wapakoneta or Bath scorched the nets in Thursday’s Western Buckeye League girls basketball matchup.
However, Bath was able to make enough plays in the second half to hold off Wapakoneta for a 37-29 victory on its home court.
With the win, Bath improves to 17-2 overall and 6-1 in the WBL. Wapakoneta slips to 8-10 in all games and 3-4 in WBL action.
Both teams shot 24 percent from the field Thursday night.
In the second half, it was the free throw shooting and the defensive effort from Bath, that made the difference.
In the fourth quarter, the Wildkittens were 8 of 10 from the free throw line.
The Bolon sisters, Ruby and Esther, led Bath Thursday with 11 points each.
Ruby Bolon scored 11 points, including 9 of 10 shooting from the charity stripe in the second half. She also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Esther Bolon poured in 11 points, including three 3-pointers.
Casey Minnig led Wapakoneta with seven points, all in the fourth quarter.
“The thing is, we had so many open shots,” longtime Bath coach Greg Mauk said. “It was just a matter of us not making shots. I thought we had a lot of really good looks at the rim. But tonight just wasn’t our night for shooting, for one reason or another.”
Both teams started slow. Bath took the early lead and went on to record a 7-2 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Both teams struggled at the offensive end. Wapakoneta made just 1 of 7 of its shots from the field. Bath was just 3 of 10 from the floor in the first quarter.
Esther Bolon had a 3-pointer for the Wildkittens in the first eight minutes of action.
The shooting woes continued for both teams.
However, The Wildkittens managed to hit a few key shots that enabled them to pull out to a 16-10 halftime advantage.
Esther Bolon nailed her second 3-pointer of the contest, in the second quarter. Teammate Alexandria Renner (six points, two 3-pointers, three steals) also connected from behind the arc to help keep Bath in the lead.
For the first half, Bath was 6 of 21 (29 percent) from the field. Wapakoneta was 4 of 18 (22 percent) from the floor.
Bath started to push the pace, early in the second half.
A 3-pointer by Alexandria Renner at the 5:45 mark of the third quarter, pushed the Bath lead to 11, 21-10.
But that was just about all of the offense for the third quarter.
Bath was just 1 of 8 from the field. Wapakoneta missed its first nine shots of the second half. The Redskins ended the third stanza, 1 of 10 from the floor.
However, Wapakoneta made a run in the fourth quarter.
With 3:51 left to play in regulation, Casey Minnig’s put back cut the Bath lead to 7, 29-22.
With 1:56 left in the game, a 3-pointer by Wapakoneta’s Taylor Jenkins (five points, two steals) cut it to 5, 30-25.
However, the Wildkittens held off the Redskins down the stretch to secure the win.
“That (poor shooting by Bath) allowed them to keep hanging around,” Mauk said. “Then we had a couple breakdowns, defensively, and they were right back in it, in the fourth quarter.”
On the night, Bath committed 12 turnovers. Wapakoneta turned the ball over 14 times.
Bath held the edge on the boards, 35-26.
“We’ve shot the ball really well this year, except for the last several games,” Mauk said. “I told the girls that every team is going to have that little lull during the season – where you’re just not as sharp as you need to be. … We just need to rebound back out of it.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.