BATH TOWNSHIP — There are always things to take away from the first game of the season.
In Bath’s season-opener Friday night against visiting Lima Senior, longtime Bath girls basketball coach Greg Mauk came away with many positives in his team’s 43-29 victory over the Spartans.
For the game, Mauk’s team shot just 32 percent from the field.
However, his team’s defensive pressure wreaked havoc on Lima Senior and paved the way for the win.
On the night, Lima Senior committed 22 turnovers. However, in the third quarter, when Bath extended its lead, the Spartans turned it over nine times.
“That’s the one thing we have really tried to make a concerted effort this year – is being a better defensive team,” Mauk said. “I thought everybody got out and played pretty hard. We still needed to check out and rebound better, but I thought for the most part, we did OK.
“I was pretty pleased with our defense. I thought that was the one thing that was consistent for most of the night. Sometimes, we might have to lean on our defense; and I thought we did that tonight.”
Esther Bolon led Bath (1-0) with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Alexandria Renner and Chandler Clark each added six points for the Wildkittens. Renner had two 3-pointers. Chandler Clark made four steals and dished out three assists.
Mauk was pleased at how Bolon played Friday night.
“She had a double/double,” Mauk said about Bolon. “Honestly, I think that might be one of the best games Esther has played in her career. She played a really nice all-around basketball game.”
Cheyanne Bean, a 6-foot post player for Lima Senior (0-1), led the Spartans with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Samya Wright scored nine points, including three 3-pointers for the Spartans.
For the game, Lima Senior dominated the boards, 34-23.
Bath turned the ball over just 12 times on the night.
“The Bean girl is just a really good athlete,” Mauk said. “I can see that we need to do a much better job down the road, on getting a girl like that off the glass a little better.”
Both teams struggled at the offensive end.
Bath connected on 2 of 9 shots from the floor in the first quarter. Renner and Bolon both connected behind the 3-point line for the Wildkittens.
Lima Senior was 3 of 7 from the field in the first stanza. Wright hit a 3-pointer for the Spartans.
Lima Senior turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter, while Bath turned it over six times.
Bath slipped out with an 8-7 lead by the first stop.
Both teams settled down in the second quarter, and did not turn the ball over as much.
With 1:30 left to play in the first half, the Spartans reclaimed the lead, 15-13, on a field goal by Kaytlynne Hile (3 points).
However, moments later, Esther Bolon knotted the game at 15 with an inside move, which held up to the halftime break.
In the first half, Bath was just 5 of 14 shooting from the field for 21 percent. Lima Senior 6 of 20 from the floor for 30-percent shooting.
Lima Senior outrebounded Bath in the first half, 17-12. Bean led the way for the Spartans with nine rebounds. Esther Bolon came away with five boards in the first half for the Wildkittens.
Bath came out strong in the second half.
Renner jump-started Bath with a 3-pointer from the left corner, giving the Wildkittens an 18-15 advantage, just seconds into the third quarter.
Moments later, Esther Bolon nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing to extend the Bath lead to 21-15. Bolon hit twice behind the 3-point line in the third quarter.
Bath’s defensive pressure helped cause nine Lima Senior turnovers in the third quarter. The Spartans were 2 of 9 shooting from the floor.
The Wildkittens pulled out to a 29-19 lead by the third stop.
Bath held Lima Senior playmaker Nakiya Sigman to just three points on the night.
“We knew if we could keep Sigman away from the basket and not give her easy shots, that it would help us a bunch; and it sure did,” Mauk said.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.