St. John’s Taylor Zuber battles underneath the basket against Paulding’s trio of Briana Townley, Faith Vogel and Skyler McCullough Tuesday night at Arnzen Gymnasium. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
St. John’s Taylor Zuber battles underneath the basket against Paulding’s trio of Briana Townley, Faith Vogel and Skyler McCullough Tuesday night at Arnzen Gymnasium. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
DELPHOS — Despite injuries to a starter and two members of their rotation, Paulding’s girls basketball team still had a size advantage over host St. John’s Tuesday night.

The Lady Blue Jays overcame that with defensive pressure out front to the Lady Panthers guards, particularly in the second half. The result was a 42-30 Blue Jay triumph in non-league action at Robert A. Arnzen Gymnasium.

The Jays (5-6) struggled with Paulding’s 5-10 Briana Townley and 6-0 Faith Vogel, especially in the first half as Townley netted 11 of her 16 points. The Jays used a mix of 3-2 zone and man-to-man, while the Lady Panthers (3-9) used almost exclusively 3-2 zone to try to not give them easy looks.

The Jays shot 4-of-11 in the first to the Panthers’ 4-of-7. They took the lead right away on a basket at the 7-minute mark by Madilynn Schulte and got out to a 10-2 edge on a putback by Jessica Geise at 4:24, forcing Paulding head coach Mark Rhodes to call timeout. Townley scored seven straight points to get her team within 10-9 in her inside basket at the minute-and-a-half mark.

With Townley scoring four points and Vogel a basket, Paulding took its only lead of 15-14 at 4:32 on Vogel’s putback. However, the Jays retook it for good at 4:14 on a pair of foul shots by Geise and they built the lead to 21-15 on a Schulte basket before Vogel netted the final deuce with 88 seconds to go.

The Jays went back to straight man-to-man half-court in the third period — at times extending it full-court — and bothered Paulding to the tune of 10 turnovers. They limited Paulding to a mere five shots (making 3) while netting 6-of-14 — led by five from Betty Vorst. When Geise hit a long 2-pointer from the left wing at 33 seconds, the Jays led 34-25.

“We didn’t want (Townley and Vogel) to be able to come down, set up and get the ball in the paint. When we let them do that, they were effective,” St. John’s head coach Dan. J. Grothouse said. “That’s why we even tried to use some zone to throw them off. We decided to come out the second half and up the defensive pressure to try and make them uncomfortable. That did the trick; it took them out of their offense and allowed us to get some easier baskets. They played a nice 3-2 zone and we missed some open looks. We have to keep working to get better and figure eventually those shots will start falling; that will be a good thing.”

St. John’s continued its defensive pressure and forced six more turnovers (26 total) to again percent Paulding from getting many looks at the basket (2-of-5). Though they themselves only hit 3-of-12, seven offensive boards also prevented the guests from going the other way.

“Turnovers killed us, especially the second half. Credit Delphos; they came out and put that pressure on our guards and our youth showed,” Paulding head man Mark Rhodes said. “We’re moving people in and out without Audrey (Manz), who would start, and two others that have started (Cassidy Posey and Daviah Pessefall). We were showing improvement in a lot of areas but turnovers remain a big problem for us.”

In junior varsity action, Paulding’s Elizabeth Mobley capped off a 12-point game with a pair of foul shots with 13 seconds left in overtime for a 15-14 victory.

Both teams return to league action Thursday: St. John’s at New Knoxville (MAC) and Paulding entertaining Allen East (NWC).

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PAULDING (30)

Sydney McCullough 1-5 0-0 2, Faith Vogel 3-4 0-0 6, Allison Arend 1-2 0-0 2, Kaylen Hale 0-1 0-0 0, Asia Arellano 0-1 0-0 0, Skyler McCullough 1-1 0-0 3, Briana Townley 7-10 2-2 16, Ashlynn Rice 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 13-26 3-4 30.

ST. JOHN’S (42)

Hayleigh Bacome 2-7 2-3 6, Taylor Zuber 2-6 0-1 5, Madilynn Schulte 5-12 1-2 11, Betty Vorst 4-15 1-2 10, Ellie Csukker 0-1 0-0 0, Jessica Geise 4-7 2-2 10, Hannah Bockey 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-49 6-10 42.

Paulding 9 8 8 5 - 30

St. John’s 10 11 13 8 - 42

Total Field Goal Percentage: Paulding 50, St. John’s 34.7. Free Throw Percentage: Paulding 75, St. John’s 60. Three-point Field Goals/Percentage: Paulding 1-3/33.3% (Sk. McCullough), St. John’s 2-19/10.5% (Zuber, Vorst). Rebounds: Paulding 22/3 offensive (Vogel/Townley 6), St. John’s 25/14 offensive (Vorst 7). Assists: Paulding 8 (Sy. McCullough 4), St. John’s 9 (Zuber/Schulte 3). Steals: Paulding 5 (Vogel 2), St. John’s 19 (Bacome 5). Blocks: Paulding 2 (Vogel/Townley 1), St. John’s 1 (Geise 1). Fouls: Paulding 11, St. John’s 7. Turnovers: Paulding 26, St. John’s 12.