Boys basketball: Columbus Grove downs Perry

COLUMBUS GROVE – A team effort led Columbus Grove to its fourth win in five games Saturday night.

One night after a disappointing effort in Van Wert, the Bulldogs returned home to the “Drive Through Window” and welcomed Perry into action.

The Commodores had their runs but could not keep pace with Landon Best and the Bulldogs. Best led all scorers with 24 points in the 60-50 Grove win.

“Yesterday we didn’t play really well, so tonight we wanted to come in with a lot of energy, keep them in front of us and shoot the ball well,” Best said. “I woke up this morning, and I felt good shooting in our morning shootaround.”

It took four quarters for Columbus Grove (4-1) to pull away from its opponent. The Commodores had difficulty with turnovers out of the gate but found success when they held onto the ball. Za’Mere Daniel, Hunter Scott and Dezzmin Cobb each recorded a basket in the first quarter, but it was Marcus Hill lifting the Perry attack with seven points in the opening eight minutes.

Eight first-quarter turnovers by Perry cost them the lead, as Grove led by one going into the second.

“We got a couple long and athletic guys that are ball hawks, Kyle Hopkins and Landon Best played strong on the wings, and they are good at understanding different looks and capitalized tonight,” Columbus Grove coach Connor Kohls said.

Perry (3-6) cleaned up the turnovers in the second quarter and quickly found success from the outside to jump ahead of the Bulldogs. Brady Shively gave Perry its first lead at the 6:36 mark, and then again with 1:40 until halftime. Shively’s second make extended the Commodores lead to their biggest of the evening at seven points.

Best was consistent all night long. He wheeled Columbus Grove back within one with a triple make and a steal and score just before halftime. At the break, Perry led 31-30.

“I think Landon (Best) realized tonight that he could get downhill. In the second quarter he saw a couple easy ones go in, and then he just started filling up the scorebook,” Kohls said. “He trusts himself and the work that he puts in, all credit to him he played and shot well and gave our team a big lift.”

Columbus Grove continued to receive contributions from Best. Two minutes into the third quarter he recorded a pair of baskets in the paint, and Grove led 35-34. Once the Bulldogs gained the advantage, they never looked back.

Hopkins and Bo Birnesser combined for 10 points in the quarter en route to Columbus Grove outscoring Perry 14-10 in the frame.

“We preached a lot this week that we needed to use a lot of ball fakes and take care of the ball because Perry can get out and run past you. We wanted to keep them at our pace, and we did a much better job at that in the second half,” Kohls said. “Our defense really allowed our offense to open up.”

The Columbus Grove defense continued to play strong and limited the Commodores to just three field goals in the final eight minutes, while the Bulldog offense saw scoring from four of their five starters.

Birnesser and Zach Reynolds each tallied four points, Best capped off his high-scoring night with a seven-point fourth quarter that included a 4-of-4 performance at the charity stripe.

Perry returns to action Friday night at Upper Scioto Valley. Columbus Grove returns to battle Tuesday in Putnam County League play at Ottoville.

Columbus Grove 60, Perry 50

Perry 14 17 10 7 – 50

Columbus Grove 15 15 14 17 – 60


Marcus Hill 14, Za’Mere Daniel 12, Brady Shively 6, Jason Thomas 4, Dezzmin Cobb 4, Andrew Nanchoff 3, Micah Olatunde 3, Hunter Scott 2.


Landon Best 24, Bo Birnesser 15, Zach Reynolds 8, Kyle Hopkins 6, Kylan Mayes 4, Evan Sautter 3.

Nate Stidham wrote this for The Lima News.