Van Wert’s Sierra Shaffer (2) drives to the basket as Ottawa-Glandorf’s Erin Kaufman (14) defends during their Western Buckeye League game Thursday night. (DHI Media/Charlie Warnimont)
Van Wert’s Sierra Shaffer (2) drives to the basket as Ottawa-Glandorf’s Erin Kaufman (14) defends during their Western Buckeye League game Thursday night. (DHI Media/Charlie Warnimont)
OTTAWA — A young Van Wert squad hung with Ottawa-Glandorf for about 12 minutes Thursday evening.

Then foul trouble and an aggressive Titan squad took over doubling up Van Wert on the scoreboard on their way to a 56-29 Western Buckeye League win at the Robert J. Hermiller Gymnasium.

O-G remains undefeated on the season moving to 3-0 in the WBL and 11-0 overall, while the Cougars dropped to 0-3 in the league and 1-8 overall.

Van Wert trailed 9-6 in the opening quarter after a basket by Abby Jackson down low before the Titans went on an 8-1 run to take a 17-7 lead on an Erin Kaufman layup. Two free throws by the Cougars’ Reagan Priest closed out the scoring for the first eight minutes as the Cougars trailed 17-9.

Two baskets by the Titans Kadie Hempfling to start the second quarter gave O-G a 21-9 lead before the Cougars went on a 6-0 run to pull within 21-15. Abby Jackson had two of the baskets for Van Wert and Cassidy Meyers chipped in two points. That was when the Titans took control of the game.

Two free throws each by Hempfling and Kylie White ignited a 13-0 O-G run late in the second quarter that also saw Abby Jackson head to the bench with her third foul four the Cougars. Without their big girl in the game the Titans were able to pound the ball down low for two baskets before Carri Johnson pushed the Titan lead to 32-15 with a three-pointer. Hempfling made it a 34-15 game with a nice spin move down low for two points before Ally Jackson ended the first half scoring with a three-pointer as Van Wert was looking at a 34-18 deficit.

“We got into some foul trouble the second quarter and they went on a little bit of a run on us there,” Cougar head coach Rob Adams said. “Our motto is that whoever we throw in there, we are 5-5 straight across the board, we have to battle to get rebounds and scrap and claw. We are still a young team and we are still building the program up. I think tonight was a good step in that direction.”

“We were trying some different things,” O-G head coach Troy Yant said. “We wanted to get 10 people in the first quarter and get everyone acclimated. We knew on paper we were the better team and we wanted to see how much we could get accomplished and identify ourselves, with mixed results. Obviously we needed to bring the starters back in to put the foot on the accelerator. Maybe we can’t go five for five (when subbing), but we have to continue to develop the roster.”

While Van Wert would have liked to started the second half like the first they were unable to do so. Johnson and Kaufman hit three-pointers for the Titans during a 10-0 run to start the third quarter as they built a 44-18 lead.

Employing fullcourt pressure to start the second half, the Titans were able to hold Van Wert scoreless for 5:02 of the quarter before Priest scored for the Cougars. And although O-G opened the quarter with a run, their offense went silent after that run as Yant continued to substitute freely. After the run O-G scored only two more points in the quarter those coming off a Paige Sutter basket to end the third quarter.

“We have been working on our man-to-man to see if that is the defense we can hang our hat on, especially with the second team girls” Yant said. “If we can play better man-to-man, then we can rotate a little deeper and that was the focus of the first half. We know the zone would probably stymie them a little, but we didn’t want to use it so we could work on some other things. I thought our defense played well coming out of the locker room.”

O-G started the final quarter with another 10-0 run as Kaufman knocked down a pair of three-pointers for a 56-23 Titan lead. That would be the final points the Titans scored as two 3-pointers by Van Wert’s Ally Jackson helped account for the final score.

Kaufman led the Titans with 15 points as she had three 3-pointers in the game. White and Hempfling both finished with 10 points. Hempfling and White both had six rebounds for O-G.

Abby Jackson led the Cougars with 10 points and four rebounds and Ally Jackson had nine points. Meyers had four rebounds, four assists and three steals for Van Wert.

“O-G is a state team and out mindset coming in here was to play hard and compete,” Adams said. “We knew what we were up against and I think our girls responded really well. We talk about our margin for error only having seven girls that we rotate and they bring a horde off the bench. That’s really tough to stay competitive when they are bringing different looks at you. I think we only had 15 turnovers, so we repsonded really well.

Ottawa-Glandorf won the junior varsity game 45-16.

* * *

Van Wert 10- 5- 29: Abby Jackson 4-2-10; Alexis Rupert 0-1-1; Regan Priest 1-2-4; Cassidy Meyers 2-0-5; Ally Jackson 3-0-9.

Ottawa-Glandorf 23- 4- 56: Lexi Schroeder 4-0-8; Devon Warnecke 1-0-3; Kylie White 4-2-10; Kadie Hempfling 4-2-10; Mackenzie Meyer 1-0-2; Erin Kaufman 6-0-15; Carri Johnson 2-0-6; Paige Sutter 1-0-2.

Van Wert 9 9 5 6 - 29

Ottawa-Glandorf 17 17 12 10 - 56

Junior Varsity: Ottawa-Glandorf 45-16.

Three-point goals: Van Wert 4 (Meyers 1, Ally Jackson 3); Ottawa-Glandorf 5 (Warnecke 2, Kaufman 3, Johnson 1).

Rebounds: Van Wert 19 (Meyers 4, Abby Jackson 4, Rupert 4); Ottawa-Glandorf 28 (Hempfling 6, White 6).