|Jefferson crushes Van Wert 53-32|
|Monday, February 17, 2014 9:00 PM|
By JIM COX
VAN WERT - Jefferson capped off a memorable weekend Saturday with a surprising 53-32 rout of Van Wert.
The Wildcats are now 12-8. The Cougars fall to 9-12.
Jefferson had dominated Allen East 77-33 Friday and coach Marc Smith was expecting, in his own words, “a really good shot from Van Wert.”
He didn’t get one. For the second straight night — after a 53-46 Friday night loss to Wapakoneta — the Cougars had a difficult time finding the basket. Against the Wildcats, Van Wert shot only 27 percent (13-of-48) from the field and were held to single-digit scoring in every quarter.
In sharp contrast, Delphos was firing away at a 48-percent (19-of-40) clip. The Wildcats’ 6-5 super sophomore, Trey Smith, led the way with 25 points and 6-2 senior Ross Thompson chipped in with 14.
The ‘Cats also dominated the boards 29-14 — Thompson had 14 and Smith eight — and hit 13-of-14 free throw attempts — 11-of-12 by Smith — while the Cougs only went to the line twice all night, hitting one.
Turnovers were almost non-existent in this game — Van Wert with three, Jefferson with six.
“We thought that our strengths were their weakness and vice versa,” said Coach Smith. “We thought we had a huge advantage in the post. We thought that from an athleticism perspective on the perimeter, they were deeper at the guard position. We stressed toughness with the ball. We stressed getting the ball to Thompson and Trey and letting them go to work in the post, then take care of the basketball. We did a really, really good job of that.”
“They’ve got two really skilled players in Smith and Thompson,” said Van Wert coach Mark Bagley. “Those guys are loads and those two dominated the game. It snowballed out of control. There was no answer tonight. We missed jump shots, we missed tough shots, we missed easy shots, we missed open layups. It was a frustrating night.”
For the second straight night, the Cougars got off to a fast start, spurting to a 9-3 lead, courtesy of a Michael Smelser fast break, a baseline drive/layup by Matt Bidlack, a Drew Myers layup (assist Smelser) and a three from the right wing by Bidlack. That, however, was the end of the highlights for the home team.
The visitors then went on an 18-3 run, interrupted only by a Nick Keber trey. Smith scored 14 of those 18 points, including two old-style 3-point plays. Thus, Delphos led 21-12 with 2:35 left in the second quarter. It was 26-17, Jefferson, at the half and Smith had 15 points.
The ‘Cats dominated the third quarter 15-6 to remove any doubt about the eventual outcome. During those eight minutes, the Cougs were 2-for-9 from the field, while Jefferson was hitting 7-of-13. The visitors led 41-23 after three.
Delphos didn’t miss a shot in the fourth quarter — 3-for-3 from the field and 6-of-6 from the line.
“I think our kids showed really, really great grit and toughness all night long,” added Coach Smith. “To come over and win a basketball game in this gym is hard for anybody to do. To win by 20, that says something. We’re playing pretty good basketball right now.”
“There are a lot of voices going on in their heads right now,” said Bagley of the sudden cold shooting spell. “We’ve played nine games in 19 days, so we’re taking (the next two days) off. We’ve hit a block. We were so close against Defiance, then a tough game against St. Henry and we played a really good game against St. John’s on Tuesday. I thought we’d turned the corner, then a tough loss last night. We had a good start last night and tonight, then the wheels fell off. I’m gonna work my hardest to figure this out.”
Thompson and Austin Jettinghoff had four assists each for the Wildcats.
Van Wert (14-7) dominated the junior varsity game 61-20. The Cougars got 10 points apiece from Colin Smith, Gavin Cross and Keagon Hardmon.
Drew Reiss led Jefferson (12-8) with eight.
Jefferson hosts Bluffton Friday, while Van Wert hosts St. Marys Memorial.
Stockwell 5, Jettinghoff 0, Thompson 14, Smith 25, Mox 0, Rice 9.
Van Wert (32)
Smelser 2, Keirns 2, Bidlack 10, Holliday 6, Kyle Keber 0, Stoller 3, Nick Keber 6, Myers 3, Moreland 0, Wortman 0, Smith 0.
Score by quarters:
Jefferson 7 19 15 12 - 53
Van Wert 9 8 6 9 - 32