Van Wert’s leading scoring Drew Bagley scores in the third quarter on the Cougars win over the Bath Wildcats. Bagley scored 17 points Friday night. (DHI Media/ Reid Maus)
Van Wert’s leading scoring Drew Bagley scores in the third quarter on the Cougars win over the Bath Wildcats. Bagley scored 17 points Friday night. (DHI Media/ Reid Maus)
VAN WERT — The band finally got back together, as the for the first time in weeks the Cougars had the entire team healthy, which pays dividends as the Cougars stomped Bath in a WBL match up, 69-48.

The Cougars welcomed back senior Nate Place, who spent time off of the hardwood while healing from a concussion. Place opened the game with a 3-pointer, as if it was a statement to say the Cougars leading scorer had returned. Bath responded with a five point spurt, and the game stayed at 5-3 for minutes. LeTrey Williams, who also has missed significant time this season, hit a three which gave back the Cougars the lead— a lead they never lost again.

“I thought a key to the game was LeTrey,” said Van Wert head coach Mark Bagley. “I think he is getting healthy, and he kind of controlled the game with his attack. Against their multiple defenses, I thought LeTrey was really good tonight for us. Other guys too, but I thought LeTrey controlled the game.”

Williams scored 13 points the evening from the point, which was second on the Cougars only trailing Drew Bagley who tallied 17.

Although shooting still slumped, the Cougars benefited from their very athletic roster. It was a balanced approach for Van Wert. Never relying to heavily on one player, the team distributed the ball well and it showed as five Cougars scored eight points on the evening. Compared to their opponent where just two players for Bath eclipsed even five points.

“I’ve said it over and over this year that we are better when we are balanced,” said Coach Bags of the Cougs offense.

As mentioned Drew Bagley led with 17, while Williams scored 13. Aiding them was Owen Treece with 12, Place with nine (after the opening three he scored exclusively on free-throws), and Blake Henry with eight.

The Wildcats relied on the scoring of Ian Armentrout and Cyrus Burden. Both Burden and Armentrout did most of their scoring at different points of the game. Burden scored 10 of his 15 points in the second quarter. Armentrout dropped 16 in the second half including 11 in the third. The two of them combined for 33 of the Wildcats 48 points.

After the Cougars were down very early, 5-3, they went on a 15-2 run. The Cougars were streaky like this all night, but it ended up working out, cause though the Bath Wildcats have just one win on the season a 20 point WBL win, is a 20 point WBL win.

“It was good to get the taste out of our mouth from Monday night,” said Bagley on the Cougars’ Monday night loss to Bryan. “We did some really good things tonight.”

“We were really streaky tonight,” continued Bagley. “Part of that was our shooting, part of that was them. They made some good plays. They are a young team that played their butt off tonight. But it’s always good to get a 20 point WBL victory.”

Bath started four freshmen Friday night including their two leading scorers Burden and Armentrout. So, maybe they will have to bare a couple of seasons on the chin but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

With this win the Cougars are now 4-3 in league play and get to double digit wins on the season with a record of 10-8.

Wins are more crucial now as the ever important tournament draw is Sunday. The Cougars are one of many 10 win teams in the district, so wins are ever crucial. Van Wert’s has pulled out big wins this season that will help their tournament draw, including beating Marion Local and Elida but tomorrow serves as what could be the biggest statement of the season.

Saturday Van Wert will travel down south to take on state ranked St. Henry. The Redskins has sat in the top five AP poll all season long .

“They are junk yard dogs,” said Coach Bags of St. Henry. “It’s a great atmosphere down there, it’s a fun game. It’s going to be a tournament-type game. We are in the fourth quarter now, and we need to play games like St. Henry to see where we are at again. To see what adjustments we need to make before the tournament starts. We will embrace tomorrow’s challenge.”

Summary:

Lima Bath 7|12|14|15- 48

Van Wert 18|11|20|20- 69

Wildcats:

Ian Armentrout 18 pts; Cyrus Burden 15 pts; Andrew Stahr 5 pts; Derrick Grisby 3 pts; Devan Gregory 3 pts; Jonah Nauben 2 pts, Carter Parlapiano 2 pts

Cougars

Drew Bagley 17 pts; LeTrey Williams 13 pts; Owen Treece 12 pts; Nate Place 9 pts; Blake Henry 8 pts; Tanner Barnhart; Jake Hilleary 2 pts; Colin Place 2 pts; Keaton Brown 2 pts

JV

Cougars defeated Bath 48-30. JV Cougs are now 10-8