SPENCERVILLE – Bath missed nine of its first 10 shots and shot 32 percent for the game when it beat Van Wert 38-28 in a Division II girls basketball sectional championship game against Van Wert at Spencerville High School on Saturday afternoon.
Good thing for the Wildkittens that playing good defense is part of their skill set, too.
That defense made sure that a rare sub-par game on the offensive end of the court wasn’t a problem when it held Van Wert to 31 percent shooting (9 of 29).
“It was a good win for us but probably not one of our stellar performances,” Bath coach Greg Mauk said. “It was the worst shooting night we’ve had all year long. But I thought our kids defended really well and did some things at the defensive end of the floor that allowed us to maintain that lead.
“I thought we guarded pretty well. Their good shooters didn’t get shots. We had all kinds of open shots. Four for 28 from the 3-point line is not anything close to what we normally shoot. That’s tournament jitters, too, I would assume,” Mauk said.
Chandler Clark’s 15 points led Bath (20-2). Jamison Clouse had 10 points and seven rebounds for Van Wert (7-17).
Van Wert, which had lost by 19 points to Bath in a regular-season game late in the season, took advantage of Bath’s slow start to take a 9-6 lead after one quarter.
Bath hit three of its four 3-pointers in the second quarter to go ahead 21-12 at halftime and after limiting Van Wert to three points in the second quarter it gave up only five more in the third quarter.
The Wildkittens defensive pressure forced 18 turnovers, which was one factor in Bath putting up nearly twice as many shots as Van Wert (50 vs. 29). Bath led by as many as 15 points, 37-22, in the fourth quarter.
Bath will play St. Marys at 8 p.m. Thursday in a district semifinal game at Paulding.
St. Marys 40, Defiance 26
The Roughriders avenged a regular-season loss with their win over the Bulldogs and hope to do the same when they match up with Bath in a Division II district semifinal on Thursday night at Paulding.
Kendall Dieringer scored 13 points to lead St. Marys (18-5) over Defiance (12-12)
During the regular season Defiance beat St. Marys 41-34 and Bath was a 45-44 winner over the Roughriders.
St. Marys led 20-14 at halftime and 27-21 after three quarters on Saturday but took control of the game midway through the fourth quarter on back-to-back 3-pointers by Dieringer and Lauren Cisco to go up 35-24 with 3:26 to play.
“We took care of the ball at the end and that’s something we didn’t do the first time we played Defiance. We got out in transition and got some baskets, we played good defense down the stretch and rebounded really well,” St. Marys coach Jon Burke said.
“Our girls came through in clutch moments throughout the game and hit big shots and played tough defense and were really strong on the boards. When we played these guys earlier in the season they beat us on the boards.”