(DHI Media/Reid Maus)
(DHI Media/Reid Maus)

VAN WERT — The Lady Cougars couldn’t overcome poor shooting in the first half as they lost to the visiting Lady Roughriders of St. Marys 53-44 Thursday night.

“Coaches are working their butts off right now, but we can not make our girls finish the shots,” said Van Wert head coach Rob Adams. “I accept responsibility for just about everything else—but when you’re point blank at the hoop. That’s the difference between the momentum swings and everything else. We miss a ‘bunny’ and they go down and hit one, that’s a four point swing.”

Van Wert missed 10 lay ups in a first half in which they only scored 10 points. The only field goal the Cougars got in the second quarter was in the closing seconds. Throughout the first half, Van Wert was trying to utilize the height advantage they had by getting the ball down to Abby Jackson. As time expired in the half the Cougars executed flawlessly and Jackson banked in a lay up.

That seemed to be a catalyst for the second half, as the Lady Cougars (who, as mentioned scored 10 points in the first 16 minutes) came out and scored 17 in the third quarter. In fact the Cougars outscored the visiting St. Marys team 34- 30 in the second half.

Sierra Shaffer, Alexis Metz and Jackson all came out ready to play in the second half. Sierra started the scoring trend by getting a couple of baskets, with Jackson getting rebounds and putting them away for points as well. Alexis Metz, who went scoreless in the first first two periods exploded for four 3-pointers.

“You can count on your seniors, when they ‘gotta’ step up—they stepped up,” said Adams on his senior core’s performance in the second half. “[Shaffer] got really aggressive with the basketball in her hands and took her opportunities. [Jackson] started cleaning up underneath and connecting on those bunnies. It’s a tale of halves, we built a 13 point hole and lost by nine.”

Van Wert, now 1-8 on the season has been banged up as of late. Reagan Priest, a perennial starter, has been hurt since an early season game against Ottoville. Priest will get to come back in play starting next week. Jaylyn Rickard, another key piece of the Van Wert core was unable to play Thursday as well.

Though there is injuries, Coach Adams knows the Lady Cougars need to improve on finishing opening shots.

“All we can do from these games is try to study them and get better, and hope that some of these shots are going to fall,” said Adams.

Van Wert welcomes Maumee Valley Country Day on Saturday.

Summary:

St. Marys 13|10|18|12- 53

Van Wert 7|3|17|17- 44

Cougars:

Sierra Shaffer 13 pts

Alexis Metz 12 pts

Abby Jackson 10 pts

Carly Smith 3 pts, Caylee Phillips 2 pts, Jerica Huebner 2 pts, Allison Schaufelberger 2 pts