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.