Kyra Welch of Van Wert scans the court against Paulding on Tuesday. (DHI Media/Chris Howell)
Kyra Welch of Van Wert scans the court against Paulding on Tuesday. (DHI Media/Chris Howell)
VAN WERT — The 11-3 Lady Panthers caught a scare from an unlikely suspect on Tuesday night in Van Wert, but were able to push through get the victory over the Lady Cougars 56-49.

Chelsi Giesige had a monster game for Paulding, dropping 23 points to lead the team in scoring. Janae Pease finished the game as the only other Panther in double figures with 13.

The Cougars got a 12 point performance from Jaylyn Rickard, with Kyra Welch adding 10.

The first quarter started off looking like an old-fashioned shootout, as the two teams combined for 28 points and had two 3 point field goals a piece.

Giesige led off the game with first bucket when she found the goal from distance on a rainbow arcing shot from the wing. Sadie Estle followed with a layup to get the Lady Panthers off to a strong 5-2 start.

While the beginning of the quarter was owned by Pauding, the end of the quarter belonged to Van Wert.

Kyra Welch scored 6 out of Van Wert’s next eight points to bring the score to 10-10 after the Panthers got baskets from Chelsi and Audrey Giesige.

Jaylyn Rickard broke the deadlock with two straight triples, as the Cougars would lead the game 16-12 after one.

Whether it was the scoreboard that motivated them, or just some first quarter rust, the Lady Panthers found a way to turn it up on both sides of the ball in the second.

Jalynn Parrett and Audrey and Chelsi Giesige sparked a 7-2 run to open the frame, with Parrett finding the bottom of the net from distance.

That was only one of Paulding two large runs in the quarter.

Janae Pease and Leigha Egnor assisted Chelsi Geisige in an 8-2 run to close the half and give their team a 27-22 lead. Giesige ended the half with nine points.

The Lady Cougars finished the first half with Welch, Rickard, and Jamison Clouse as their high scorers, all at six points.

Giesige came out in the second half on fire for the visiting team. The Panther guard scored seven points in the quarter and kept the lead for her team while withstanding a run by the Cougars.

Jerica Huebner and Sofi Houg each had three in the third, while Welch, Rickard, and Phillips added two points of their own.

Pease drilled a three pointer late in the third to bring the Paulding lead back up to five at 39-34.

Here’s where the game got interesting.

Baskets by Rickard and Carly Smith cut the spread to three early in the fourth, but the Panthers snapped off a run to bring the lead to 10 with Pease and Audrey and Chelsi Giesige responsible for the seven point outburst.

This had been a game of runs all night, and nothing changed until the final buzzer sounded.

Pauding held an 11 point lead midway through the final quarter. Their grip on the lead, however, wasn’t as firm as they hoped it would be.

Carlee Young followed Welch and Phillips with a field goal to cut the lead to five, and Rickard took the ball straight down the lane on the following possession to cut game to a one score deficit.

Paulding turnovers gave Van Wert multiple chances to tie the game back up, but the Pease and Giesige canned clutch free throws to put the game out of reach, ending it at a 56-49 final.

The Lady Panthers improve to 12-3 overall and 2-2 in the NWC, while the Lady Cougars fall to 3-10 and 1-3 in the WBL.

Paulding will travel Allen East on Thursday for their next game, while Van Wert will welcome in Ottawa-Glandorf the same night.

BOX SCORE 1 2 3 4 T

PAULDING 12 15 12 17 56

VAN WERT 16 6 12 15 49

PAULDING (56)

Jalynn Parrett 5, Sydney McCullough 2, Janae Pease 13, Leigha Egnor 2, Chelsi Giesige 23, Maggie Manz 0, Alivya Bakle 0, Brooke Ankney 0, Audrey Giesige 7, Katie Strayer 0, Sadie Estle 4.

VAN WERT (49)

Carlee Young 2, Kyra Welch 10, Carly Smith 3, Jamison Clouse 6, Alexia Barnhart 0, Brianna DeAmicis 0, Jaylyn Rickard 12, Caylee Phillips 6, Jerica Huebner 3, Sofi Houg 5, Sayler Wise 0, Emilee Phillips 0, Allison Schaufelberger 2.