Delphos Jefferson downs Leipsic

DELPHOS – After a slow start, Delphos Jefferson roared back to beat Leipsic 45-27 for its third consecutive Northwest Conference girls basketball championship on Monday night.

The Wildcats (21-1, 8-0 NWC) were outright champions last season and co-champions in 2021.

Leipsic (20-2, 7-1 NWC) won the Putnam County League title last week but wasn’t able to add a Northwest Conference champion’s trophy to its trophy case.

Lyv Lindeman scored 19 points and had 9 rebounds to lead Jefferson. Rylynn Marquiss had 12 points and Lauren French had 10 rebounds. Ava Henry’s 8 points led Leipsic.

Jefferson began the game by missing 11 of its first 12 shots and fell behind the Vikings 12-2 early. But by halftime it was up 19-16. The lead grew to 28-21 after three quarters and kept growing in the fourth quarter.

“What a win, what a team win. We have come a long way in our shooting and we knew they would fall. We were like, ‘Keep shooting, keep shooting.’ It seemed like the defensive pressure took off after we started making some threes,” Jefferson coach Denise Lindeman said.

That defense held Leipsic to 15 points in the last 27 minutes of the game. The Vikings connected on just 7 of 31 shots in the last three quarters.

Lindeman called the Wildcats’ defense “phenomenal,” and said, Our defense has been solid. That’s one thing I never, ever worry about. Our defense is always solid. The girls work hard. I can’t tell you how proud I am of this group of girls. Their drive to be successful and their desire to do whatever I ask them – I just love them.”

Leipsic coach Gary Kreinbrink said, We played pretty well but we just couldn’t find a way to score like we needed to. Their defense is really good. It makes it tough when there’s a 6-foot, 3 girl (French) inside.”

The turning point of the game might have come in the third quarter. Jefferson had a one-point lead midway through the quarter before Jefferson’s Rylynn Marquiss hit back-to-back 3-pointers to stretch lead to seven points. She hit four 3-pointers in the game.

“The thing that propelled them was Marquiss having three threes in the second half. We were scrambling after that,” Kreinbrink said.

Once Jefferson got the lead, Lyv Lindeman pushed the ball up the court and put pressure on Leipsic’s defense constantly.

“Once Lindeman gets it in the open court it’s almost game, set and match. It’s hard to get the ball of of her hands. She’s a one person fast break,” Kreinbrink said.

Jefferson’s only loss this season was 46-37 to Bath on Dec. 12. Leipsic lost 49-41 to Patrick Henry on Jan. 3 for its only loss before Monday nigh