VAN WERT – Abby Jackson recorded a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) as Van Wert Lady Cougars defeated Lincolnview, 49-45, on Saturday afternoon at the Cougars Den.
The bigger, deeper Cougars dominated the glass in the second half and held the visiting Lady Lancers scoreless over the final 3:30 to preserve the win.
A Cassidy Meyers runner from the baseline snapped a 45-45 tie with 3:25 to play. Meyers eventually iced the game by making a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left.
"These teams are well-matched; good guard play both ways. This was a team effort. We had some girls step up [today] that we needed," Van Wert head coach Rob Adams said. "We hit some critical free throws there at the end, and I give a testament to our defense. We talked about how our defense was going to win this game, and it did."
The Lady Lancers had scoring chances over the final half of the fourth quarter, but couldn't cash in on a pair of open 3-point attempts or a put-back try in the lane. They were also 0-4 at the line late, including two front-ends of 1-and-1's.
"We got good looks at the end; we called some sets and got the shots we wanted. We got some shots out of our motion offense that we felt good about, but they just didn't go down," Lincolnview coach Dan Williamson said. "We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game, we knew they don't want to lose to us and we don't want to lose to them."
Though the game was tight throughout, with neither team holding a lead bigger than five points, the Lancers led only twice – the last at 35-33 late in the third quarter. From that point, the Cougars scored the final seven points of the period, highlighted by a Meyers 3-pointer, to take a 40-35 lead into the final period. A Jerica Huebner drive made it a 5-point margin again early in the fourth, but back-to-back buckets from Maddie Gorman brought the Lancers to within one.
Caylee Phillips for Van Wert and Brant for Lincolnview traded baskets before Jackson made the second of two at the line for a 45-43 Cougar lead. Frankie Carey then converted an offensive rebound into the game-tying bucket with 3:30 to play, but that was the last time the Lancers scored.
"The young team is finding a way to win, and that's important," Adams said. "The young team that we have is finding a way to win games."
The Cougars came out scorching the nets in the opening period, as Reagan Priest and Alexis Metz each drained threes as the home team built an early 10-5 margin. It was five points again late in the period when Jackson converted a put-back for a 17-12 lead, but treys from Olivia Gorman and Alena Looser helped get the Lancers to within 19-18 after eight minutes.
Looser canned another triple to give Lincolnview a 21-19 lead to begin the second, but the Cougar size made an impact with Alexis Rupert and Priest each scoring on offensive rebounds to put Van Wert back on top. Jackson scored in the paint to give the Cougars a 4-point edge late in the half before Maddie Gorman converted her second 3-point play to bring the Lancers to within 29-28 at halftime.
Priest led the Cougars with 13 points. Meyers finished with 7 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists.
Maddie Gorman led all scorers with 16 points for Lincolnview. Looser added 11 points. Brant finished with 5 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Van Wert outrebounded the Lancers 39-31 and held Lincolnview to 32 percent shooting