Girl basketball: Delphos Jefferson runs away from St. John’s

DELPHOS — One day at a time.

After last season’s success, Delphos Jefferson girls head basketball coach Denise Lindeman is looking for improvement each day that her players step onto the court.

Friday night, Delphos Jefferson’s aggressive defensive pressure, along with pin-point shooting, paved the way for a convincing 65-29 victory over Delphos St. John’s in the season-opener at Robert A. Arnzen Gymnasium.

Last season, Delphos Jefferson was defeated in the Division III district semifinals by Ottawa-Glandorf, 43-42, on a buzzer-beater 3-pointer from O-G’s Lily Haselman. Delphos Jefferson ended its season, 22-2.

“That year is over. … It’s day-by-day for us,” Lindeman said about her approach on this season. “We try to get better every single day. We really don’t talk about the NWC (Northwest Conference), the tournament, or anything like that. It’s about us getting better every day.”

Friday night, Delphos Jefferson jumped out quickly against St. John’s and never looked back.

Lyv Lindeman, a 5-foot-7 junior guard, led Delphos Jefferson (1-0) and all scorers with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Lindeman, the coach’s daughter, also had five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Lauren French, a 6-3 junior post player, had 17 points, five boards and a block. Kyrstin Moore added eight points and three assists for Delphos Jefferson.

In the first quarter, French led the Wildcats with 13 points as she dominated in the paint.

“Lauren (French) has definitely taken a big step forward,” Lindeman said. “She has improved, immensely. She’s put a lot of time in the gym. I couldn’t be prouder of that kid. She just works her tail off. Whatever I ask of her, she will do it.

“Lyv also did a good job at point guard, tonight. She gave us some key 3-pointers as well.”

The Wildcats led 25-13 by the end of the first quarter. Their lead ballooned to 50-17 by the halftime break.

Delphos Jefferson’s defensive pressure helped jump-start its offense.

In the first half, the Wildcats’ defensive pressure helped cause 14 St. John’s turnovers. At the offensive end, Delphos Jefferson was 19 of 33 shooting from the field in the first half, which included nine made 3-pointers. On the night, the Wildcats canned a total of 12 shots behind the 3-point line.

For the game, Delphos Jefferson shot 47 percent from the field.

“We have worked a ton on shooting; and tonight, we shot pretty darn well,” Lindeman said. “Defensively, we have to keep working. We pride ourselves on defense. … So, we still have to keep working on defense. But overall, I’m very proud of our effort, tonight.”

Ava Hershey led St. John’s (0-1) with eight points, including two 3-pointers. Abby Kerner and Myah Boggs added seven points and six points, respectively, for the Blue Jays.

For the game, St. John’s shot 26 percent from the floor.

On the night, St. John’s committed 17 turnovers. Delphos Jefferson turned the ball over 10 times.

Delphos Jefferson won the battle on the boards, 33-17.

“One thing about this group is they gel,” Lindeman said. “They have great chemistry. The one thing I like most is they are very unselfish. They will make that extra pass for somebody else. I was very pleased with that, tonight.”

Delphos Jefferson was 3 of 5 shooting from the free throw line. St. John’s made 7 of 12 of its free throw attempts.

Lindeman said the goal for her team is simple.

“We have a great group of girls that work very hard. They put in the extra time in the gym. I always tell our girls every day at practice, ‘I want you to be the best version of you.’”

Mark Altstaetter wrote this story for Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.