Sierra Shaffer hits a jumper during the fourth quarter of the Cougars game Thursday. (DHI Media/ Kirsten Barnhart)
Sierra Shaffer hits a jumper during the fourth quarter of the Cougars game Thursday. (DHI Media/ Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT — Basketball is complicated, and a lot of different factors can determine the outcome of a game. Sometimes, however, it simply comes down to which team shoots the ball better on that particular night. In Thursday night’s WBL opener for both teams, Defiance hit 54 percent (29 for 54) of its field goal tries while Van Wert hit 20 percent (11 of 56) as the Lady Bulldogs cruised to a 60-27 win. Defiance is now 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the WBL. Van Wert is 1-3 and 0-1.

This one was decided quickly. Van Wert scored the first point on a free throw by sophomore Carly Smith, but a slew of Cougar turnovers (7) and missed shots, many of which were from point-blank range, had the visitors up 14-5 after one. Van Wert’s only field goal of the quarter came on a slashing layup by junior Jerica Huebner with 1:50 on the clock. Defiance turned it over even more (8), but was 6 of 10 from the field, compared to Van Wert’s 1 of 12.

The Cougs had no problem with turnovers after the first quarter, but continued to misfire from the field in the second period. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs continually got the ball inside for easy layups, winning the quarter 21-4 to lead 35-9 at the break. Van Wert shot 3 for 27 in the first 16 minutes, while Defiance was 16 of 26. That was clearly the difference, because all of the other stats were very close.

Van Wert’s best quarter was the third, during which the Cougs hit a respectable 5 of 14 from the field, but Defiance still managed to expand its lead while going 7 of 16 from the field — 50-19 after three.

Senior Sierra Shaffer scored six of the Cougars’ eight fourth quarter points on two inbounds play layups and two nothing-but-net free throws. However, Defiance still won the quarter 10-8.

For the game as a whole, Defiance won the boards 36-24. Van Wert had fewer turnovers, 14-15. Three-point shooting was not a major factor — the Bulldogs hit 2 of 4, the Cougars 0 for 7. Free throws were also a non-factor, although Van Wert was a solid 5 of 6, while Defiance shot only one and missed it.

Defiance’s 5’10 junior post Carlee Smiddy dominated inside and led all scorers with 20. She had solid support from sophomore Joanna Schlatter with 14. Shafer led Van Wert with 8, and 6’0 sophomore sub post Allison Schaufelberger added 6.

Van Wert was without senior starter Reagan Priest due to a knee injury.

The Van Wert junior varisty squad is 2-2 after an impressive 42-27 win. The Cougars were led in scoring by sophomore Isabella Carr and freshman Emilee Phillips with 18 and 10. Junior Tenley Baldwin and freshman Emily Wahl had 15 and 8 for Defiance (0-3).

Defiance (60)

Trinity Shirk 3, Joanna Schlatter 14, Tammy Aguilera 0, Raelle Gonzales 0, Carlee Smiddy 20, Olivia Moats 0, Selena Garcia 0, Jordan Davis 2, Kendall Black 6, Sadie Tuckerman 8, Alex Hartman 7.

Van Wert (27)

Sierra Shafer 8, Alexis Metz 2, Carly Smith 3, Jerica Huebner 2, Abby Jackson 2, Isabella Carr 0, Jaylyn Rickard 2, Caylee Phillips 2, Allison Schaufelberger 6.

Defiance 14 21 15 10 - 60

Van Wert 5 4 10 8 - 27

3-point shooting: D 2/4 (Shirk, Hartman), VW 0/7. Rebounds: D 36, VW 24. Fouls: D 12, VW 6. Turnovers: D 15, VW 14. JV score: VW 42-27.