Jamison Clouse of Van Wert fights up a shot against Bath on Thursday night. (DHI Media/Chris Howell)
Jamison Clouse of Van Wert fights up a shot against Bath on Thursday night. (DHI Media/Chris Howell)

VAN WERT — The final score may not reflect it, but Van Wert battled Lima Bath all the way down to the last half of the fourth quarter in a 61-42 loss Thursday night.

Seniors Jamison Clouse, Caylee Phillips, Brianna DeAmicis, and Jerica Huebner were honored prior to the game for taking part in the last home game of their High School career.

Clouse finished as the only senior to score in the game, finishing with six points on what turned out to be an extremely emotional evening for the four graduating Lady Cougars. Sofi Houg led the home team in overall scoring with 12 points.

Bath’s Bolon sister duo of Ruby and Esther were a force on the floor, just as they are on the tennis court. Ruby’s 20 and Esther’s eight combined for nearly half of the Wildkittens total points.

Chandler Clark and Madelyn Renner also turned in nice games for the visitors with 13 and 12 points respectively.

With the 21-1 Ottawa-Glandorf Lady Titans in first, Bath entered the game as the second best team in the WBL, and the now 6-16 Van Wert Cougars gave them all they could handle.

The Wildkittens kept the Van Wert at arms length for most of the night, but there wasn’t any point of the game where Van Wert let Bath pull away quietly.

Madelyn Renner ignited Bath in the opening minutes, connecting from deep to set off a 9-2 run thanks in part to Ruby Bolon who nailed a three, and followed with a three-point-play.

Sofi Houg traded four points to Esther Bolon’s five the rest of the way in the first, and Bath escaped the opening quarter with a 14-6 lead.

Just like she did in the first, Renner led off the second with the opening bucket.

The Lady Cougars answered by scoring five straight on a three by Houg and a two by Jamison Clouse.

Van Wert had cut the lead to five points at 16-11, but offense would prove to be a rare commodity for them for the rest of the half, as they managed to put up only four more points.

The Wildkittens used Renner’s second 3-pointer of the night to cap off a 9-4 run, and take a 10 point lead to the half.

With the visitors up 25-15 at the midway point, it was now the Cougars job to chip away at the lead to get back in the game. Although they did a strong job of staying in the thick of things, they were never able to bring the score back within one possession.

They did, however, find a way to outscore Bath in the third, and bring the difference in the game back down to single digits.

After Jamison Clouse picked up her third foul early in the half, Allison Schaufelberger subbed in and provided a spark for Van Wert off the bench.

Schaufelberger tallied seven points in the third, including an old-fashioned three-point-play that drew cheers from the students in attendance.

Kyra Welch’s triple, three points by Houg, and a bucket by Carlee Young helped the Lady Cougars earn a 15-14 advantage in the frame to trim the deficit down to 39-30.

With eight minutes left to play, the home team went all out in attempt to knock off one of the top dogs (or cats), and although it was a valiant effort, it wasn’t enough on this night.

Jaylyn Rickard scored Van Wert’s first nine points of the fourth, nailing three shots from downtown to make it 46-39 game.

Rickard’s third three turned out to be the last field goal of game aside from Clouse layup.

The final four minutes consisted of too many attempted free throws to count, but out of those free throws came the game’s final 14 points.

At one point Ja’Dasia Hardison accounted for five straight points, all courtesy of trips to the charity stripe.

Bath’s 11 straight points to end the game took the score from 50-42, to a final score of 61-42.

With the loss, the Lady Cougars wrap up the regular season with a 6-16 overall record and a 4-5 mark in WBL play. They will matchup against Shawnee, who they edged out for a two point victory in the regular season, in the first game of the sectional tournament on Tuesday in Spencerville.

BOX SCORE 1 2 3 4 T

BATH 14 11 14 22 61

VAN WERT 6 9 15 12 42

BATH (61)

Ja’Dasia Hardison 8, Esther Bolon 8, Chandler Clark 13, Ruby Bolon 20, Madelyn Renner 12.

VAN WERT (42)

Carlee Young 2, Kyra Welch 4, Carly Smith 2, Jamison Clouse 6, Jaylyn Rickard 9, Sofi Houg 12, Allison Schaufelberger 7.