MILLER CITY – When Miller City needed a spark, senior Abi Lammers stepped up.
After the score was knotted at 27 apiece after three quarters of action between Miller City and Columbus Grove on Saturday, Lammers took the game over.
In the final eight minutes, Lammers scored 10 of her game-high 21 points to lead Miller City to a 43-30 victory against visiting Columbus Grove in a battle of Putnam County League unbeatens in girls basketball.
Lammers also came away with 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals on the day. She was 5 of 7 shooting from the free throw line.
With the win, Miller City is the lone undefeated team in PCL play with a league record of 4-0 and an overall mark of 11-2. Columbus Grove slips to 10-5 overall and 3-1 in PCL action.
Along with Lammers’ performance, teammate Grace Pfau had 10 points, including two 3-pointers in the third quarter.
“When Abi is looking to attack and gets good shots, we tend to play better on defense. … We focus more,” Miller City head coach Ross Heuerman said. “Abi came out and hit a couple big shots (in the fourth quarter), and we got to the rim a little bit more. It was an overall good offensive effort there in the fourth quarter, and that really rallied our defense.”
Savanah Ridenour led Columbus Grove with 16 points. Columbus Grove’s leading scorer Kenzie King was held to three points on the day, on a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
“We really wanted to focus on limiting King as much as we could,” Heuerman said. “We know what she is capable of. She showed that in the fourth quarter with that big-time three.
“King hurt us in the regular season last year, and she hurt us in the tournament game. Our main focus was to not let King beat us again.”
The Bulldogs struggled at the offensive end. For the game, Columbus Grove shot 36 percent from the field. In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs were 1 of 9 shooting from the field. Miller City shot 41 percent from the field on the day.
In the fourth quarter, Miller City outscored Columbus Grove 16-3.
Both teams struggled in the opening quarter. Each squad turned the ball over seven times.
There were a total of four lead changes in the first quarter before Columbus Grove pulled out to a 10-5 lead by the first stop.
The Bulldogs made a run in the second quarter. However, Miller City was able to keep it close. Columbus Grove slipped into the halftime break with a 19-13 lead.
Ridenour led Columbus Grove with nine points. Lammers led Miller City in the first half with seven points.
In the first half, Miller City made 5 of 19 shots from the field. Grove made 8 of 18 from the floor.
Miller City came out strong in the second half.
At the 2:59 mark of the third quarter, Pfau hit her second 3-pointer of the quarter to give Miller City a 25-24 lead.
By the end of the third, the game was knotted at 27 each.
Miller City started to take the game over in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats’ defensive pressure helped cause seven Columbus Grove turnovers in the final eight minutes.
For the game, Columbus Grove committed 23 turnovers. Miller City turned the ball over 13 times.
“I think they (Columbus Grove) like to play a lot of transition offense, just like we do,” Heuerman said. “But we sped them up a couple times and they made a couple uncharacteristic turnovers. Any time you can do that against a pretty good team like Grove, you have to feel really good about it.”
Miller City held a 26-25 edge on the boards.
Columbus Grove head coach Brian Schroeder said, “I thought we did a pretty good job for about 3 ½ quarters in limiting their touches and limiting their points. But as the game wore on, some of their role players hit some big shots and that kind of loosened some things up. I think fatigue played a part, too. … Then Lammers was able to take it over (in the fourth quarter).”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.