|Cougars down Lady Jays in cage action|
|Tuesday, December 03, 2013 9:21 PM|
By JIM METCALFE
VAN WERT — The St. John’s girls basketball team has struggled putting the ball in the basket so far in the 2013-14 campaign.
That trend continued Tuesday night inside The Cougars’ Den of Van Wert High School.
The Lady Blue Jays shot 11-of-29 from the field — including 1-of-8 from 3-point land — in falling 50-31 to the host Van Wert Lady Cougars in non-league action.
“Right now, we just aren’t playing with any confidence offensively. It’s like we are going too fast at times,” Jays’ mentor Dan J. Grothouse explained. “We are too quick to put the ball on the floor or too quick to try and get it out of our hands. Even on good shots, we seem to be trying to shoot too quickly. Again, we have to find a way to build confidence in what we are doing offensively; there were times we did have success.”
Perhaps Van Wert coach Lance Moonshower figures it’s his pressure defense to blame.
“We are better when we speed the game up and get into transition. I felt our defense set the pace early,” he explained. “The only thing I was displeased about in that regard was I felt we gambled a bit too much; we generally want to overplay and such but not against this team, and it took a while for our girls to understand that. Once they did, we were more solid.”
Also hurting the offensive effort for the Blue and Gold (1-2) was 18 turnovers (9 for the hosts).
The Cougars (3-1) canned 19-of-44 from the floor — including a solid 6-of-15 from deep (40%) — for 43.2 percent.
The Cougars started off quickly, scoring the first eight points of the night — forcing three early miscues — with their full-court man-to-man defense, with junior Erin Morrow (10 markers, 5 boards, 4 assists) netting five. The Jays finally tallied on a deuce by sophomore Sydney Fischbach (5 rebounds) at 4:30 and they did get within 8-6 on a second-chance 12-footer by sophomore Rachel Pohlman at 1:10. Van Wert retaliated with five in a row before St. John’s junior Tara Vorst netted a triple from the right wing with 10 seconds to go to get them within 13-11.
The Jays — who shot 5-of-8 in the first period — went very cold in the second, getting only a late fielder by sophomore Lexi Hays and singles by senior Emilie Fischbach and freshman Jessica Geise. On the other end, the Cougars were getting more balanced scoring, including five from senior Cheyenne Handy (15 for the game) and three by junior Alexis Dowdy (11 counters), to gain a 25-12 edge on a pull-up 10-footer from the left wing by junior Riley Jones at the 50-second mark. Hays drove for a deuce with 15 ticks left for that 25-15 deficit.
The Jays actually shot 50 percent in the third period; alas, they were only 2-of-4 as they also committed four errors. The hosts outscored their guests 17-4, with Handy nailing a pair of trios and Dowdy four markers, to seize a 42-19 bulge on a putback by Jones with 6.1 ticks showing.
The nearest the Jays got was 16 — twice — in the fourth period as they won the finale 12-8.
“There were times we didn’t defend or rebound as well as we’d like but it wasn’t those areas that were the problem,” Grothouse added. “It came down to our struggles with the ball. We just aren’t comfortable handling the ball at this point but we will keep working at it. Hopefully, that will come.”
Overall, the Jays finished 8-of-12 st the stripe (66.7%); secured 22 caroms (8 offensive) as seniors Brooke Zuber (3 assists), Erica Saine and Emilie Fischbach had three each and had nine fouls. Senior Amanda Boberg and freshman Jessica Geise led the Jays with six points each. They visit Parkway Thursday.
“We started out well on offense going inside but then we went away from that; we started jacking up long shots, so I was not pleased with that,” Coach Moonshower added. “St. John’s is the type of team that you want to put away when you have the chance and keep attacking; you don’t want to give them a chance to come back.”
Van Wert notched 6-of-8 free throws (75%), nabbed 23 boards (12 offensive) as senior Kaitlynn Hall had four and 12 fouls. Senior Claire Butler added three steals. They visit St. Marys Memorial Thursday.
In junior varsity action, St. John’s got 1-of-2 free throws by junior Halie Benavidez and two more by classmate Colleen Schulte in the final 14.1 tivks to help the Jays (3-0) hold off the Cougars (0-4) 28-24.
Schulte and classmate Samantha Wehri led the scoring with seven each. For Van Wert, freshman Emma Kohn had nine.
ST. JOHN’S (31)
Tara Vorst 1-2-5, Rebekah Fischer 0-1-1, Emilie Fischbach 0-1-1, Brooke Zuber 0-1-1, Rachel Pohlman 2-0-4, Erica Saine 1-0-2, Amanda Boberg 3-0-6, Jessica Geise 2-2-6, Lexie Hays 1-1-3, Sydney Fischbach 1-0-2. Totals 10-1-8/12-31.
VAN WERT (50)
Riley Jones 3-0-6, Kaitlynn Hall 0-0-0, Alexis Dowdy 4-3-11, Emilie Moonshower 1-0-3, Claire Butler 2-1-5, Cheyenne Hardy 5-2-15, Erin Morrow 4-0-10, Emily Bair 0-0-0. Totals 13-6-6/8-50.
Score by Quarters:
St. John’s 11 4 4 12 - 31
Van Wert 13 12 17 8 - 50
Three-point goals: St. John’s, Vorst; Van Wert, Handy 3, Morrow 2, Moonshower.
ST. JOHN’S (28)
Brooke Richardson 0-0-0, Madilynn Schulte 1-3-5, Emilie Grothouse 1-1-4, Maddie Pohlman 1-0-2, Halie Benavidez 1-1-3, Sam Kramer 0-0-0, Samantha Wehri 3-1-7, Colleen Schulte 2-2-7. Totals 7-2-8/13-28.
VAN WERT (24)
Alexis Ayers 0-0-0, Ally Jackson 0-0-0, Megan Sonnleitner 0-0-0, Cassidy Sinning 2-2-6, Phoebe Eutsler 1-1-3, Morgan Magowan 0-0-0, Kelsey Dotson 0-0-0, Domonique Grothause 1-0-2, Emma Kohn 3-2-8, Meghan Moonshower 2-0-5. Totals 8-1-5/10-24.
Score by Quarters:
St. John’s 11 7 1 9 - 28
Van Wert 5 8 2 9 - 24
Three-point goals: St. John’s, C. Schulte 2, Grothouse; Van Wert, Moonshower.