DELPHOS — A well-balanced offense combined with a smothering defense helped Delphos Jefferson down Crestview 56-43 in a key Northwest Conference clash in front of a capacity crowd Thursday night.
With the win, Delphos Jefferson stays unbeaten in the Northwest Conference at 5-0 and improves to 16-1 for the season. Crestview slips to 4-2 in conference action and 12-4 for the season.
Delphos head coach Denise Lindeman said she was proud of the team’s effort.
“From start to finish our girls never gave up,” Lindeman said. “From the beginning of that game until the end, they battled. I just can’t say enough about our girls right now and their determination. They were in the gym at 7 a.m. for breakfast club. I can’t say enough about these kids. They are a phenomenal group to coach.”
Crestview head coach Mark Gregory said he tips his cap to Delphos Jefferson.
“I thought overall as I told the girls that we played hard tonight. We couldn’t get those 50-50 balls and then offensively we didn’t a lot of second and third chance opportunities. I think that was the huge difference in the game for us tonight.”
The Wildcats saw four different players score in double digits with Josie McGue leading the way with 15 points. Lyv Lindeman pumped in 12 points and Aly Lindeman and Lauren French each chipped in 10 points. French also snared 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double performance.
“It was a great team effort and they work their butts off for me every day and I can’t say enough about these girls,” Lindeman said. “That was a big win for us but we take one game at a time and now we will prepare for Leipsic.”
Hannah Wiltsie scored nine points but her contribution came primarily on the defensive end where here, along with Gwen Temen, contained Knight sophomore standout Cali Gregory to two points in the first half when the Wildcats built a double-digit lead at halftime.
“Hannah Wiltsie really stepped up for us and I thought Gwen Temen came off the bench and played phenomenal defense for us,” Lindeman said. “We tried to face guard Cali Gregory. We knew she was a great player. I thought defensively the whole team did a phenomenal job. From start to finish they played a great basketball game.
Gregory, who tried to spearhead a second half comeback, finished with 16 points. Myia Etzler scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
In the first quarter, Delphos Jefferson, thanks to its defense, jumped out to a 18-8 advantage and maintained that lead and went into the locker room at halftime up, 26-17.
In the third quarter, Jefferson extended its lead to 12, 30-18 within the first minute of the third quarter, and threatened to run away with the game. But Gregory began to find her shooting touch and helped slice the lead down to eight, 32-24, with 3:32 left in the third quarter. But Jefferson went on an 11-5 run to finish out the stanza and with eight minutes left to play, were up 43-29.
With the double-digit cushion and the clock on their side, the Wildcats spread the ball out in the fourth quarter and never let Crestview get any closer than 13 points.
“They did a nice job defensively,’ Gregory said. “They are physical. They are tough and they have been doing it all year long and unfortunately we couldn’t do it tonight.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.