Lady Cougars overwhelm LCC

VAN WERT — The Van Wert Lady Cougars improved to 7-14 on the season with a lopsided 51-34 win over Lima Central Catholic at the Cougars’ Den on Tuesday. The Lady Cougars held LCC to 24 percent shooting and forced 24 turnovers, which helped to offset a difficult offensive evening.

‘We knew coming into this one that LCC was struggling,” Van Wert head coach Rob Adams said afterward. “These are the teams you’ve got to beat. Coach (Ron) Williams, I know what he’s going through. He’s got a young team over there and they’re going through some growing pains.”

The Cougars built an 11-point lead late in the first half, but LCC clawed back to within 24-16 at the break and got as close as six points with a pair of free throws to open the third period. From there, however, the Cougars ripped off a 19-4 run to end the quarter and put the game away.

“Our girls stepped up there in the second half and put the game away,” Adams said. “We let them [back in the game], but we knew if we kept the full-court pressure up, they would wear down. They had tired legs, and with our pressure and the girls we could sic on the ball, that’s what we are going to do.”

Alexis Metz kickstarted the run with a 3-pointer, but it was twin towers Abby Jackson and Jamison Clouse that provided the bulk of the damage during the third, often playing on the court together in a high-low post set.

“LCC was without their big; Rosie Williams is a nice post for them. They missed her tonight,” Adams said. “We threw our two posts in there at the same time a lot tonight to try to get some size advantage.”

That size advantage helped Van Wert turn things around on the glass as well. Despite playing without Williams, LCC held the rebounding edge throughout the first half. The Cougars claimed a 13-5 margin on the boards in the third quarter, on their way to winning the battle on the glass 39-35 for the game.

“We always like to play four guards with a single post,” said Adams, “but this [lineup] is something we’ll be looking for more next year because we’ve got those two returning and Allison Schaufelberger, so we’ve got three nice post players returning. We’ll have to play more three-guard sets. As we go against Celina and then into tournament, we’ll be deploying that a little bit more.”

The Cougars will have one more regular season game, which will be senior night on Thursday evening against Western Buckeye League cellar dwellar Celina. The Lady Cougars then open tournament play against Elida Tuesday night at Spencerville.

Cougars fall short at Celina

CELINA — Van Wert’s wrestling team suffered a narrow defeat in a Western Buckeye League dual meet at Celina on Tuesday, falling 37-33.

The meet began at 170 pounds, where Logan Muhlencamp of Celina pinned Van Wert’s Dale Hammons. Cougar senior Trevor Spridgeon got his team on the board with a 7-3 decision over Tim Ferrell at 182.

Though the Bulldogs filled more weight classes, the Cougars stayed close in the meet with pins. Killian Sudduth needed only 35 seconds to dispatch of his opponent at 106 pounds, Ben Lange added a pin at 120, and both Gabe Steyer (138) and Isaiah Bretz (145) pinned their foes.

Full results are as follows:

170- Logan Muhlencamp (C) pinned Dale Hammons in 1:32

182- Trevor Spridgeon (VW) won 7-3 over Tim Ferrell

195- Luke Muhlencamp (C) won by Forfeit

220- Lloyd Eutsler (VW) won 4-1 over Cayden Thomson

285- Seth Huston (C) won by Forfeit

106- Killian Sudduth (VW) won by fall over Gage Oakley (C) in :35

113- Kyler Bowlby (C) won by Forfeit

120- Ben Lange (VW) won by fall over Nathen Wilson in 2:48

126- Sam Warner (C) won 9-5 over Josh Dorsch

132- Gabe Steyer (VW) won by Fall over Graeme Stewart in 3:03

138- Isaiah Bretz (VW) won by Fall over Logan Keiser in 1:09

145- Chris Mir (C) won by fall over Macein Bigham in 1:22

152- Nick Garwood (C) won by Tech Fall 21-6 over Ryan Pratt

160- Malachi Battle (VW) won 12-7 over Ethan Ly

Cougar host the WBL on Saturday starting at 10am.

Lady Cougars win 4th straight

VAN WERT — The Van Wert girls bowling team celebrated senior night with a win on Monday. After honoring the seniors, the Cougars took on Linconview at Olympic Lanes and defeated the Lancers 2183-2077.

The top scores for the Lady Cougars came from Cloey Spry 140, Ashely Matthews 147, Kaylee McPhail 178 and Lorrie Decker 188 and 220. They also recieved support from Allison Hauter, Hanna Say and Katie Hauter.

The girls finished the regular season with a 4-match win streak to move their record to 9-8.

Lincolnview was led by Alicia Rist’s 152 and 205 games. Shiann Kraft rolled a 162 and 170.

The JV Girls came away with a victory over the Lancer JV squad 1728-1631.

The varsity team will be bowling in the WBL tournament in Kenton on Thursday with a start time of 9:45 a.m.

Lady Cougars roll to win

The Lady Cougar varsity bowlers defeated Ft. Recovery 2142-2005.

The first game saw the Cougars take a small lead of 18 pins. After the first 5 frames of the second game, Ft. Recovery jumped ahead by 30 pins. The last 5 frames saw the Cougars make big shot after big shot, putting strings of strikes together and converting multiple splits when needed. Van Wert opened up a commanding lead 1449-1301 going into the baker games.

The two teams bowled even through the baker games to give the Cougars take the win.

Top scores on the day were Cloey Spry 173, Allie Morrow 183, Lorrie Decker 174 and 198. Allison Hauter, Hanna Say and Kaylee McPhail all made crucial shots during the match. The varsity girls are on a modest 3-game win streak and moved their record to 8-8 on the season.

The JV girls came up big in the baker matches to overtake the Russia JV squad 1939-1825 having 4 out 5 baker games over 146. Top scores came from Rylee Phillips 149 and 138, Ashely Matthews 132 and 140. They received tremendous help from Katie Hauter, Makinizie Bowers and Kassey Miller. They improved to 6-5 on the year.

Kelly reaches milestone, but Cougars fall at home

VAN WERT – It was unofficially Jacoby Kelly Night Saturday at the Cougar Den as the senior point guard scored his 1000th point, triggering an instant major celebration by the Van Wert players and fans with 4:41 left in the second quarter. 

There was little else to celebrate, however, as 5th-ranked (Division IV) St. Henry overpowered the Cougars 60-42. Van Wert is now 10-8, St. Henry 17-3.

Kelly came into the game with 994 points, and nearly every Van Wert fan in the gym was eager for the big moment. Kelly swished a corner 3-pointer late in the first quarter for his 997th point. With 5:57 left in the second, he sliced inside for his 999th and was fouled on the play. The fans anxiously awaited the free throw, but Kelly back-rimmed it, drawing a collective “Awww” from the crowd. With 4:41 on the clock, however, he duplicated the feat with a dandy layup for Point Number 1001, bringing the game to a halt for a brief but exuberant celebration.

“I felt a little bit more relaxed considering that the night before (14 points against Bath) I kinda set myself up for a good spot, just six points,” said Kelly. “The guys were giving me love in the locker room, and Coach Bags came to me and said, ‘Just play your game, and it’s gonna come. You don’t know when it’s gonna come, but we just know it’s gonna come.’ I started to let it come to me, and eventually I got into a little groove, and once it happened it was a great feeling!”

“He (Kelly) had to play right from the start (freshman year),” said Van Wert coach Mark Bagley. “A lot of growing pains there, a lot of long nights, tough nights. It’s been fun to watch him grow. He’s made a lot of improvements offensively, defensively. It’s a great career goal for him, but he has bigger goals in mind as far as the rest of the year.” 

As for the game, the visitors were impressive indeed, best summed up afterwards by Coach Bagley: “They (the Redskins) played an outstanding game. They offensive rebounded, they shot it well, they made free throws, then defensively they took us out of our stuff. They were the stronger team. They were more athletic. They were better at every phase.”

St. Henry started the game with a 10-2 run, all five baskets coming on layups. The Cougars battled back to get within 12-9, but the Redskins’ outstanding senior Tyler Schlarman threw in a desperation buzzer-beating  straightaway NBA-range bank shot to make it 15-9 after one. St. Henry dominated the boards 10-3 during those eight minutes.

Van Wert stayed close in the second quarter until the visitors went on a 7-0 run to stretch their lead from 20-17 to 27-17 with 1:39 on the clock. Van Wert junior Drew Bagley tripled from the right wing at 0:49 to narrow the lead to 27-20, which is where it stood at halftime.

The Redskin lead got as large as 14 in the third quarter — 38-24 at 2:11 — but Kelly’s buzzer-beating layup made it 41-30 going into the fourth. 

St. Henry removed any doubt about the eventual outcome midway through the fourth quarter when Schlarman’s old-style 3-point play and two free throws by senior Parker Link pushed the lead out to 52-35.

The Redskins out-shot the Cougars from the field 44 percent (21 of 48) to 34 percent (15 of 44), including 31 percent (5 of 16) to 16 percent (3 of 19) from beyond the arc. St. Henry didn’t miss a free throw until late in the fourth quarter, and they ended up at 87 percent (13 for 15), while Van Wert had problems from the stripe — 50 percent (9 for 18). The Redskins dominated the boards 34-19. Neither team had turnover problems — Van Wert 8, St. Henry 9.

Bagley and Kelly led the Van Wert scoring with 14 and 13. Schlarman had 18 for St. Henry. Of the eight Redskins who scored, six are seniors, and those six accounted for 46 of the 60 points.

Despite the loss, the Cougar fans were in a celebratory mood because of the milestone, and Kelly was appreciative of that. “It (high school career) has been so fast,” said Kelly. “Coming into it, obviously I was honored and blessed to play as a freshman, but just working hard and knowing that you can always get better, and there’s always room for improvement. I’ve always kept that mentality from freshman year all the way to this year and hopefully going into the collegiate years as well.”

Kelly’s 1007 points place him ninth out of 10 players on the 1000-point list. Chris Crosby’s 1025 and Kenny Sullivan’s 1028 are within easy striking distance. 

The Cougar jayvees are 16-2 after their 49-47 win. A layup with three seconds left by freshman LeTrey Williams was the decider. Sophomore Clayton Proffitt had 24 points for Van Wert. Sophomore Riley Link had 13 for St. Henry.

Cougars sending swimmers to Districts

AYERSVILLE - Van Wert's list of district swimmers grew Saturday by four events after the Division II sectional meet at Ayersville High School.

With two female divers having already qualified for this weeks district tournament, the Cougars added two individual swimmers and two relay teams to that list. The district diving competition is Wednesday at Oak Harbor, while the district swim meet is Friday at Bowling Green State University at 3 p.m.

Van Wert's Jamie Burenga and Noah Arend were double qualifiers for the Cougar swim team, advancing in an individual event and as part of a relay team.

Burenga, a freshman, qualified to districts in the 200 Freestyle and as part of the Cougars 400 Freestyle Relay team. Burenga finished 12th in the 200 Free in 2:11.02 before joining  senior Madison Turnwald, junior Noelle Heffner and sophomore Katie McVaigh to finish sixth in the 400 Free Relay in 4:05.89. The Cougars relay team took nearly 14 seconds off their seed time for the meet.

Arend, a junior, finished eighth in the 200 IM in 2:22.15 as he took a second off his seed time. Arend then joined sophomore Holden Reichart, senior Dalton Heppeard and senior Stephen Hamblett to finish sixth in the 200 Free Relay in 1:42.24. They took nearly three seconds off their seed time for the meet.


Van Wert Girls Results

200 Medley Relay - 8. Van Wert (Emma Verville, Katie McVaigh, Jamie Burenga, Madison Turnwald) 2:06.25.

200 Free -12.  J. Burenga 2:11.02; 17. Noelle Heffner 2:18.19.

200 IM - 16. K. McVaigh 2:32.12; 22. Rebekah Fast 2:50.29.

50 Free - 17. Chloe Brake 28.35; 28. Becky Rigdon 31.19; 32. Olivia Kline 32.89.

1 Meter Diving - 6. Madison Jarrett 351.0; 12. Adrianna Grothause 244.65.

100 Fly - 23. Becky Rigdon 1:33.25.

100 Free - 21. Madison Turnwald 1:03.84; 28. O. Kline 1:11.17; 30. R. Spath 1:12.32; 39. Allie Etter 1:17.15.

500 Free - 21. M. Daniels 7:16.28.

200 Free Relay - 9. Van Wert (M. Turnwald, K. McVaigh, N. Heffner, C. Brake) 1:53.20.

100 Back -  16. E. Verville 1:11.57.

100 Breast - 21. R. Fast 1:26.03; 29. R. Spath 1:36.86.

400 Free Relay - 6. Van Wert (M. Turnwald, N. Heffner, K. Mcvaigh, J. Burenga) 4:05.89

Van Wert Boys Results

200 Free - 16. Brayden Cox 2:24.32.

200 IM - 8. Noah Arend 2:22.15.

50 Free - 7. Holden Reichert 25.12; 8. Dalton Heppeard 25.31; 17. Stephen Hamblert 27.46; 26. Octavius Tucker 30.42.

100 Free - 12. H. Reichert 56.99; 26. O. Tucker 1:11.50.

500 Free - 13. B. Cox 6:28.25.

200 Free Relay - 6. Van Wert (H. Reichert, D. Heppeard, N. Arend, S. Hamblett) 1:42.24.

100 Breast - 8. N. Arend 1:14.67;

400 Free Relay - 5. Van Wert (S. Hamblett, B. Cox, O. Tucker, Dalton Heppeard) 4:21.80.

Cougars finish strong in win at Bath

LIMA — After struggling mightily against a variety of Lima Bath defenses, Van Wert seemed to find the solution in the last five minutes, using an 18-8 run to turn a 1-point deficit into a 55-46 win.

The Cougars are now 10-7 overall and 4-3 in the Western Buckeye League. The Wildcats are 7-12 and 1-6.

The Cougs led 35-34 going into the fourth quarter. Then junior Nate Place squirmed through the Bath defense for a layup to lead 37-34. However, the Wildcats’ unorthodox senior Chad Frey countered with a nifty 10-foot turnaround jumper and a 10-foot baseline hook shot to put Bath up 38-37 with 6:30 left. Timeout, Van Wert.

Van Wert fans were worried, but Jacoby Kelly quickly quieted their nerves. The senior point guard had 980 points going into the game, needing 20 to reach the 1,000-point milestone. After struggling through a scoreless first half, Kelly’s first points had come on an old-style 3-point play with 2:46 left in the third quarter.

Kelly swished a straightaway 3-pointer with 5:10 left in the game to get the lead back at 40-38. After the teams traded misses, Van Wert junior Blake Henry snared an offensive rebound and dished it to Place out front for Place’s fourth three of the game — 43-38 at 3:51. Following a Bath turnover, Kelly sliced inside for a layup at 3:07 to stretch the lead to 45-38.

Frey’s running close-range hook shot narrowed it to 45-40, but junior Drew Bagley trumped that by muscling in a layup (assist Place). After a Wildcat miss, Kelly again knifed his way inside for a layup — 49-40 with 1:27 left. Bath sophomore Steven Shook scored inside, but consecutive breakaway layups by Bagley and Kelly pretty much sealed the deal — 53-42 at 0:52.

“We called a timeout, down one,” said coach Mark Bagley of the beginning of that fourth quarter spurt. “We said ‘Settle down, we’re fine.’ We put Nate (Place) in the high post, and we started attacking it. Obviously, in the last five minutes Jacoby scored most of his points. He made some individual one-on-one plays and made some passes, too, that really helped us. The fourth quarter he carried us home.”

Both teams started the game ice-cold. In fact, Van Wert’s first points didn’t arrive until Place’s breakaway layup (assist Kelly) tied the game at 2-2 with 3:49 on the clock. Both teams were 4 for 14 from the field in the first eight minutes, after which the Cougars led 10-9.

With the ‘Cats up 12-10 early in the second quarter, Van Wert went on a 9-0 run (Bagley elbow jumper, Bagley breakaway layup, Place 8-foot turnaround jumper, Place right-wing triple) to lead 19-12 at 5:10.

Bath, however, came right back and caught up at 23-all on consecutive 3-pointers by Frey and senior Devon Kinyon. That’s where it stood at halftime.

Bagley’s 3-point play (steal, layup-and-one) started the third quarter with a 26-23 lead, and the Cougars managed to barely hold onto that lead throughout the period. After the first 24 minutes, Van Wert still hadn’t solved Bath’s defenses, having hit only 15 of 46 shots from the field, including 3 of 17 from long range. Luckily for the Cougs, their fourth quarter numbers improved considerably — 8 of 12 from the field, 2 for 4 from three.

For the game as a whole, Van Wert was slightly better from the field — 40 percent (23 of 58) to 37 percent (18 of 49). Both teams canned five 3-pointers, Van Wert on 21 shots (24 percent), Bath on 19 shots (26 percent). The Cougars had a rebounding edge, 31-29, and fewer turnovers, 10-14. Free throws were not a factor — Van Wert 4 of 6, Bath 5 of 7.

“We struggled on the road tonight,” said Coach Bagley. “Our league is hard on the road. They (the Wildcats) played triangle-and-two, 1-2-2, 2-3, 1-3-1, not much man, but it was a good win for us tonight.”

Place, Bagley, and Kelly led Van Wert’s scoring with 18, 15, and 14. Kelly’s 994 career points leave him six short of the big milestone. Frey, Kinyon, and Will Clark — all seniors — led Bath with 17, 12, and 10.

The Cougar reserves (15-2) pulled away in the second half to win a very physical JV game, 46-33. Van Wert was led in scoring by sophomores Clayton Proffitt, Kolby Barnhart, and Jake Hilleary with 17, 8, and 8. Sophomore Austin Sakemiller had 14 for Bath.

Cougar grapplers drop match at Bath

LIMA – The Van Wert Cougars wrestling squad traveled to Lima Bath on Thursday night and were handed a 33-30 defeat. Results were as follows.

126- Ben Lange (VW) won by fall over Kamrin Arnett in 1:32
132- Double Forfeit
138- Macein Bigham (VW) won by Forfeit
145- Collin Mell (Bath) won 3-1 over Isaiah Bretz
152- Garrett Garver (Bath) won by Fall over Ryan Pratt in 1:10
160- Zach Simpson (Bath) won 6-1 over Malachi Battle
170- Elija Rister (Bath) won by Fall over Dale Hammons in 4:28
182- Spencer Blue (VW) won by Forfeit
195- Fielden Deeds (Bath) won 7-6 over Trevor Spridgeon
220- Rileigh Miner (Bath) won by Fall over Lloyd Eutsler in 3:40
285 - Eric Adkins (Bath) won by Forfeit
106- Killian Sudduth (VW) won by Forfeit
113- Double Forfeit
120- Josh Dorsch (VW) won by fall over Ethan Kohlhorst in 1:54

The Cougars final match before hitting the post season trail will be on Tuesday when they travel to Celina