ELIDA – Bath jumped out to the early lead and took control over Elida in Thursday’s Western Buckeye League battle at the Elida Fieldhouse.
However, Elida clawed back in the second half, and gave Bath all it could handle, before the Wildkittens finally came away with a hard-fought 51-44 victory over Elida in girls basketball action.
Ruby Bolon led Bath (8-0, 3-0 WBL) and all scorers with 21 points, and had a game-high 14 rebounds. She also had three assists. Madelyn Renner had nine points, eight boards and a block for the Wildkittens.
Addisyn Freeman led Elida (0-1, 0-1 WBL) with 16 points, including three 3-pointers (all in the second half). Freeman also came away with eight rebounds and four assists. Amira Freeman added 10 points, including two 3-pointers. Brooke Reese had nine points, five rebounds and three blocks for the Bulldogs.
This was the first game of the season for Elida, due to COVID-19 issues (with opponents as well).
“They (Elida) came out that first part of the second half and really tried to grab the momentum,” longtime Bath head coach Greg Mauk said. “Unfortunately, I thought we were a little bit sluggish, defensively. We really didn’t do what we needed to do and allowed them to take a few steps back into the game. … That’s something we need to get better at.
“We just have to understand that our offense can be more of a weapon than it is, by taking shots that are right for the situation.”
Bath quickly jumped out to a 7-0 lead by the 5:43 mark of the opening quarter. Esther Bolon (five points, seven rebounds, five steals) hit a 3-pointer to ignite the Bath early run.
Esther Bolon’s sister, Ruby, also got into the action early on, scoring eight first-quarter points. Esther scored all five of her points on the night, in the first quarter.
Elida cut it to 3, 11-8, with 2:30 left in the first quarter, on a 3-pointer from the left corner by Payton Kuhn (three points, three rebounds).
With 1:55 left in the first stanza, Elida cut it to 2, 12-10, on a field goal by Addisyn Freeman.
Bath slipped out with a 14-10 lead by the first stop. The Bolon sisters accounted for 13 of their team’s 14 first-quarter points.
Bath extended its lead to 33-14 by the halftime break.
Renner scored five second-quarter points.
Elida was just 2 of 9 shooting from the floor in the second stanza. The Bulldogs also turned the ball over 11 times in the first half.
In the second half, however, Elida settled down and turned the ball over just six times in the final 16 minutes.
In the first half, Bath controlled the boards, 27-11.
For the game, Bath won the boards, 42-25.
Addisyn Freeman dialed long distance twice in the third quarter. Freeman went on to score eight points in the third.
The Bulldogs cut it to 9, 38-29, on a 3-pointer by Amira Freeman with less than three minutes to play in the third.
Bath led 42-31 at the third stop.
Elida outscored Bath 17-9 in the third quarter. The Bulldogs were 7 of 10 shooting from the floor.
Elida kept pushing the tempo in the final eight minutes, while Bath struggled at the offensive end.
With 5:25 left to play in the game, Reese scored inside to cut it to 9, 47-36.
Then, with 4:02 left to play, Reese scored inside and was fouled. The 5-foot, 8-inch senior made the free throw and cut the deficit to 8, 47-39.
Bath could not shrug off the pesky Elida squad.
With 2:23 left in regulation, Addisyn Freeman completed an old-fashion 3-point play to cut it to 7, 49-42. Freeman scored 14 second-half points.
The Wildkittens held off the Bulldogs down the stretch for the win.
For the game, Bath shot 33 percent from the field. Elida shot 40 percent.
“Even though we’re a veteran group, there are still things that we are learning,” Mauk said. “We were without the services of two of our seniors tonight – Abbie Dackin and Ja’Dashia Hardison. … So, that affected our rotation. But that’s not an excuse. I give a lot of credit to how Elida played in the second half.”