HAMLER — The sequel looked a lot like the original, at least on the scoreboard.
Columbus Grove rolled to a 58-31 win over Fort Jennings in a Division IV girls basketball sectional championship at Patrick Henry High School on Thursday night.
When the two Putnam County League teams played during the regular season, the Bulldogs took a 78-47 win.
Columbus Grove grabbed control of the game early when it jumped out to a 29-2 lead two minutes into the second quarter. It led 36-11 at halftime and never led by fewer than 23 points in the second half.
Angel Schneider led Columbus Grove with 15 points and Sydney Witteborg scored 14 points on 7 of 7 shooting. Savannah Ridenour had 10 points.
Columbus Grove’s defensive pressure forced 29 Fort Jennings turnovers, 19 of them in the first two quarters.
“Obviously I was happy with the way we started and the focus we had. I was a little bit nervous with it being our first tournament game. It’s kind of a different routine,” Columbus Grove coach Brian Schroeder said.
“Once we got way up we pulled the press off and I think we got a little lax in our halfcourt defense and I think we got a little sloppy in our offensive execution. But part of it was Fort Jennings. Bill (Fort Jennings coach Bill Calvelage) called a timeout and they kind of gathered the troops and they played hard defensively after that and they made an effort to get to the rim.”
Talking about Witteborg’s performance, Schroeder said, “She was big tonight, just being efficient around the rim. Some of those shots aren’t easy. I know it looks easy being around the rim but you’ve got to catch it clean and go up, knowing a defender is going to come. For sure, Sydney came up big for us.”
Kristen Luersman led Fort Jennings with 12 points.
Columbus Grove (19-3) will play Delphos St. John’s (12-12) on Feb. 27 in a district semifinal game at Ottawa-Glandorf.
Delphos St. John’s 45,
St. John’s held McComb scoreless for 7 ½ minutes from late in the third quarter until 1:22 was left to play for a comeback win.
McComb took its biggest lead of the game when it went ahead 35-29 with 50 seconds left in the third quarter.
But St. John’s cut that lead to one point, 35-34, on Aubrie Friemoth’s fourth 3-pointer of the game by the end of the third quarter.
The Blue Jays outscored McComb 14-0 to go up 43-35 with 3:45 to play and held the lead the rest of the way. Olivia Miehls’ bucket with 1:22 broke McComb’s cold spell and the Panthers remained a threat when St. John’s missed the front end of three one-and-ones and a two-shot double bonus late in the fourth quarter.
Two free throws by Paige Gaynier with 29 seconds to play gave St. John’s a 45-41 lead and sealed the win. McComb got to within two points twice after that but could not get any closer.
Gaynier led St. John’s with 14 points and Friemoth scored 12. Mallorie Schroeder scored 15 points and Hannah Schroeder had 11 points for McComb (16-8).
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.