Delphos Jefferson’s Macy Wallace goes up for the shot against the defense of Abbygayle Satterfield, Jenna Henline and Jayden Smith of Spencerville during Northwest Conference action Thursday. The Bearcats maintained first place in the conference with a 42-35 win over the Lady Wildcats. (DHI Media/Larry Heiing)
Delphos Jefferson’s Macy Wallace goes up for the shot against the defense of Abbygayle Satterfield, Jenna Henline and Jayden Smith of Spencerville during Northwest Conference action Thursday. The Bearcats maintained first place in the conference with a 42-35 win over the Lady Wildcats. (DHI Media/Larry Heiing)

SPENCERVILLE — It was a tournament-like atmosphere at “The Closet” as the Spencerville Lady Bearcats hosted the Jefferson Wildcats in a key Northwest Conference basketball matchup Thursday night.

Spencerville sat atop of the conference standings (tied with Columbus Grove) with only one league loss and Jefferson was only a game back, which translated into an important game to determine the conference champion.

The Bearcats led at the end of a 42-35 victory.

Spencerville struck first as senior Jenna Henline took the opening tip a nailed a quick triple. Macy Wallace got Jefferson on the board, muscling her way to the bucket for two. Henline struck again from the same spot on the floor as her first shot, giving the Bearcats an early 6-2 lead. Back came Jefferson as Sarah Miller hit from the corner, pulling her Lady ‘Cats within two. After both squads exchanged free throws, Spencerville took control on a fast-break layin by Emma Leis and a baseline jumper by Abbygayle Satterfield. Wallace scored the final points of the first quarter for Jefferson on a turnaround jumper and later grabbed an offensive rebound for the putback with the Wildcats trailing 14-10.

Jefferson’s defensive pressure created a trio of Spencerville turnovers in the opening minutes of the second stanza, allowing the Wildcats to pull within 16-15 on a beautiful pass from Devyn Carder to Alli McClurg for the bucket. Spencerville’s Henline swiped an offensive rebound for the deuce, only to be matched by Delaney Deuel’s offensive board for the Jefferson bucket as the margin remained at one. The Bearcats gave themselves some breathing room heading to the locker room on a triple by Jayden Smith and Melanie Koenig scoring on the break to lead 23-18.

The pace in the third quarter was slowed considerably by Jefferson’s aggressive zone defense and Spencerville patiently passing the rock around to find the open shot. The action was also slowed by the referees’ whistles as the teams shot a combined eight charity tosses midway thru the third quarter. Henline added her third triple of the night on a deep shot in front of the Spencerville bench, giving the Bearcats a 30-22 lead. Spencerville’s patience paid off again with Emma Leis dribbling around the Jefferson defense and finding a wide-open Satterfield in the paint for the score as the third period ended.

A pair of free throws by Addy Stewart for Jefferson reduced the Bearcats’ lead to single digits, 32-24. Spencerville’s Kaiden Grigsby made sure that there would be no Jefferson comeback, scoring the next five points on a drive down the lane and adding a 3-pointer, forcing Jefferson coach Dave Hoffman to call timeout with 5:38 remaining. Spencerville’s Koenig added a pair of buckets on breaks after Jefferson turnovers to keep the Bearcats on top of the NWC.

Jenna Henline led the Bearcats’ offense with 11 points and Satterfield added seven. Spencerville shot 40% from the field and converted 5-of-9 from the foul line.

The leading scorer for Delphos Jefferson was Wallace with 13 points and McClurg was also in double digits with 10. The Wildcat shot 25% from the field, making only 10 baskets on the night, but were an amazing 15-of-17 on charity tosses.

The other stats were nearly identical with Jefferson committing 16 turnovers compared to 17 for Spencerville. The Wildcats held a slight advantage on the boards in grabbing 26 rebounds and Spencerville had 25.

The regular season heads into the final week before tournament time with Jefferson hosting Fort Jennings on Monday and on the road at Bluffton Thursday. Meanwhile, Spencerville has three games remaining: at Perry on Saturday and finishing at home with games against Parkway and Crestview.

The junior varsity contest was entertaining for the large crowd with the lead going back and forth. Spencerville pulled away after a 28-28 tie midway thru the fourth quarter for a 37-32 win.

Varsity

Delphos Jefferson (35)

Addy Stewart 0-2-2, Macy Wallace 4-5-13, Alli McClurg 2-6-10, Sarah Miller 3-2-8, Delaney Deuel 1-0-2. Totals: 10-0-15/17: 35

Spencerville (42)

Kaiden Grigsby 2-0-5, Jenna Henline 3-0-11, Abbygayle Satterfield 3-1-7, Jayden Smith 1-1-4, Melanie Koening 3-0-6, Nelaya Burden 1-3-5, Emma Leis 2-0-4. Totals: 11-5-5/9: 42

Score By Quarters

Jefferson 10- 8- 4- 13: 35

Spencerville 14- 9- 9- 11: 42

Three-Point Goals: Jefferson, none; Spencerville, Henline 3, Grigsby, Smith.

Junior Varsity

Delphos Jefferson (32)

Danielle Hohlbein 1-2-4, Emma Mueller 2-0-4, Audrey North 1-0-2, Ayron McClurg 2-1-5, Mallory Bridges 0-1-1, Anna Fitch 4-0-8, Brooke Brinkman 1-0-2, Karly Mawhorr 2-2-6. Totals: 13-0-6/11: 32

Spencerville (37)

Kelsey Shaffer 5-2-13, Gillian Goecke 2-1-5, Olivia Goecke 2-3-7, Melanie Koenig 0-4-4, Emma Leis 1-6-8. Totals 9-1-16/28: 37