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Van Wert withstands Spencerville runs for 71-65 win PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, December 13, 2012 1:12 PM

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VAN WERT — The Van Wert Lady Cougar basketball team hosted Spencerville Tuesday in a non-conference showdown in which each team entered hungry for its second win of the season - and it showed, as the teams battled down to the wire.
In the end, it was Van Wert who came away with a 71-65 shootout victory.

“It’s a win and we needed one,” explained Van Wert coach Lance Moonshower. “We had a tough (game) last week that we thought we could have stolen. It wasn’t the prettiest but we don’t really care at this point. Right now we need something to build on and this was something to build on.”

Though the Lady Bearcats scored 65 points of their own, Coach Warren Pughsley explained that 71 was too many points to give up defensively: “It was definitely a hard-fought game but there was too much scoring. We don’t have the basketball IQ yet to be able to match a team that wants to score that many points. Our goal was to hold our opponent to 45 to 50. If we would have done that, we would have been victorious.”


The game came down to offensive efficiency and the Lady Cougars went an impressive 29-of-46 (63%) from the field, including 28-of-40 (70%) from 2-point range.

“That’s definitely, by far, the most points we’ve scored this year. We shot the ball well; we shot the ball a whole lot better than we have. We’ve been averaging about 25 percent a game. It’s amazing when you knock the ball in the hole, how much better your offense looks,” Moonshower said.

Spencerville shot 24-of-57 (42%) from the field but was slightly better from close-range, shooting 47 percent (20-of-43). The Bearcats went 4-of-14 from 3-point range, which bettered Van Wert’s mark of 1-of-6.

It was highly-contested — and sloppy — to open. The teams battled to an 8-8 tie and combined for eight turnovers during the first 3 1/2 minutes of game time. Senior post Abby Freewalt led the Spencerville charge early, picking up six quick points, but was forced to the bench late in the first quarter with a pair of fouls.

Van Wert took advantage of Freewalt’s absence and rolled off a 9-0 run to end the first quarter with a 19-10 lead.
“(Abby) is key, so she can’t get in foul trouble,” Pughsley said. “She can’t reach, especially if she gets one call.”

Freewalt sat the entire second quarter but senior guard Alyssa Mulholland led a charge to get the Lady Bearcats back in the game.

Mulholland score 12 points in the stanza, including going 4-of-5 from the field with two 3-pointers.

Meanwhile, freshman post Caitly Propst was holding her own in the post in place of Freewalt.

“We have a freshman and a sophomore who are our backup posts. It was great for them to come in, when you’re losing your senior leader to foul trouble and you’re down eight points, and tie (the game) and feel good about themselves. It was great; they need that confidence to know they can do that in future games,” Pughsley described.

The tie came on a Mulholland trey which evened the score at 22 at the 4:28 mark of the second quarter. Van Wert countered, however, with another 9-0 run. Sophomore forward Alexis Dowdy sparked the run with a putback and added another layup later. Sophomore guard Erin Morrow then hit a three to give the Lady Cougars a 31-22 lead.

Spencerville answered with a 10-4 run to close the half, highlighted by a pair of Mulholland putbacks. Leading by one late in the quarter, junior Claire Butler got a layup to go to give Van Wert a 35-32 halftime lead.

Van Wert extended its lead to eight, 45-37, in the early moments of the second half but again Spencerville answered: a three from Mulholland and a steal and layup from sophomore guard Emilee Meyer brought Spencerville within one, 45-44.

“I’m extremely proud of our effort,” Pughsley explained. “I think it stemmed from the junior varsity game. We were down double figures at the end of the JVgame and came back with a chance to tie it. The same thing happened every quarter (of the varsity game) except the first.”

Junior forward Jenna Weigle then hit a jump shot for Van Wert, which was followed by a par of free throws by sophomore guard Alexa Dunlap to give the Lady Cougars some breathing room. Down five, a Freewalt jump shot and a steal and layin from freshman Jacey Grigsby brought Spencerville within 51-50 to end the third quarter.

Another Mulholland trey gave the Lady Bearcats a 53-51 lead to open the fourth but Van Wert once more answered, this time with a pair of free throws from Dowdy and a jump shot from junior point guard Cheyenne Handy. The Cougars held for good this time, however, and closed the quarter on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 6-of-7 shooting from the line.

“A win is a win and we showed toughness at the end when we needed to. When it got tough at the end, we made a comeback, got ahead and held onto it. That’s the kind of stuff, when we played O-G last week, we didn’t do... This was definitely a stepping stone for us,” added Moonshower.

Neither team took good care of the ball, with the Cougars committing 24 turnovers to Spencerville’s 27. Van Wert won the rebounding battle 27-25 but the Bearcats dished out 11 assists to Van Wert’s nine.

Freewalt led all scorers with 21 points, despite not playing in the second quarter, and Mulholland was right behind with 20 despite not scoring in the first.

Dowdy led the Lady Cougars with 16 points, six rebounds and six steals. Handy added 14 points and Morrow had 10, adding eight rebounds and four steals.

The win improves Van Wert to 2-3 on the season and Spencerville falls to 1-4 with the loss.
Spencerville hosts Ada Thursday, while Van Wert brings in Shawnee.

Van Wert won the junior varsity game 44-41.

SPENCERVILLE (2pt. 3pt. FT Tot.)
Mulholland 2-4 4-7 4-4 20, Freewalt 9-18 0-0 3-4 21, Purdy 1-2 0-2 0-0 2, Miller 3-8 0-0 3-6 9, Meyer 4-5 0-5 1-1 9, Riley 0-1 0-0 2-4 2, Propst 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Merriman 0-2 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-43 4-14 13-19-65. 
Hall 2-2 0-1 0-0 4, Hulbert 2-5 0-1 2-4 6, L. Butler 3-5 0-0 0-0 6, Moonshower 0-0 0-1 0-1 0, Dunlap 1-1 0-0 2-2 4, C. Butler 3-5 0-0 2-8 8, Handy 6-7 0-0 2-3 14, Morrow 3-5 1-2 1-3 10, Dowdy 7-8 0-1 2-2 16, Weigle 1-2 0-0 1-2 3. Totals 28-40 1-6 12-25 71.
Score by Quarters:
Spencerville   10   22   18   15 - 65
Van Wert        19   16   16   20 - 71

Last Updated on Thursday, December 13, 2012 1:13 PM

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