Van Wert senior Alexis Metz goes in for a lay up Thursday night during the Cougars first win of the season. (DHI Media/ Reid Maus)
Van Wert senior Alexis Metz goes in for a lay up Thursday night during the Cougars first win of the season. (DHI Media/ Reid Maus)
Van Wert — In their third home game of the season the Van Wert left the gym with a completely different feeling than in their first two games. The Lady Cougars got their first win of the season over the Delphos Jefferson 49-43 Thursday night.

The Lady Cougars started the game the same way as they started their first two match ups— stagnate offensively and fouling too much defensively. Six turnovers for Van Wert in the first three minutes led to easy points for the Lady Wildcats. Aly Lindeman was capitalizing the most in the first quarter as she knocked home a 3-pointer and a pair of field goals for seven points. 13-4 Jefferson, was the score just before the tides started to turn in favor of the Lady Cougars. The lone two field goals for Van Wert came from coast-to-coast field goals from Sierra Shaffer and Jerica Huebner.

Jefferson showed symmetry in the second quarter as they matched their first period total, with 13. Sophomore Kaylee Buzard hit a pair of long range shots, as the three 3-pointers led to a 12 point performance. The Cougars offense woke up though.

Six different Cougars got the ball in the net in the second quarter. Caylee Phillips put Van Wert in motion when she created a turnover on defense, brought the ball down the court and dumped it off to Reagan Preist for a basket. Turnovers and defense would be a major key in the turn-around that the Lady Cougars showed.

That being said, the Achilles’ heel in Van Wert’s game as been their pension for fouling. In fact through six halves this season, Van Wert has had 10-plus fouls in five of them. Thursday night was no different.

“It’s really a wake up call for the girls, understanding that we can’t foul,” said Rob Adams, Van Wert’s head coach. “We are giving the game to other teams because we foul so much.”

Jefferson’s 40 percent from the charity stripe didn’t do them any favors, just 4-12 in the first half. Despite that, Jefferson still led going into the second half 26-18— a lead they would hold for the majority of the game.

Besides their ability to create turnovers, the biggest difference in the two halves was Van Wert’s Abby Jackson. Jackson dropped 11 points in final 16 minutes, including a 3-pointer that brought the Cougars within one score.

Coach Adams mentioned before the season that in order for his team to be successful they would need to play with an up-tempo, transition style of play because of all the speed they bring to the table. They did that in the second half.

“We understand that in order to get in those transition moments, you have to box out and rebound,” said Adams. “We took a huge step forward in the second half. We did a much better job boxing out and rebounding, much better than we have been. Being able to play discipline defense and keeping them off the foul line, I couldn’t be prouder of that.”

Van Wert brought the intensity in the third quarter to get back into the game, and actually took the lead with 50 seconds remaining in the third frame following a 10-0 run by the Lady Cougars. A huge blow came after a relatively stagnate first part of the fourth quarter. With 3:50 left and a one point lead, Sierra Shaffer stole the ball for Van Wert and turned it into an easy lay up. Then continued with a steal on the inbound pass and then hit a baseline jumper.

With that Van Wert is now 1-2 on the season and will play again on Thursday when they host their first WBL game against Defiance.

Delphos Jefferson remains win less on the season, 0-3.

Summary:

DJ |13|13| 7| 10 |

VW |4|14|16|15|

Jefferson

Kaylee Buzard 12 pts

Addy Stewart 6 pts

Aly Lindeman 14 pts

Delaney Deuel 8 pts

^

Van Wert

Sierra Shaffer 8 pts

Reagan Preist 8 pts

Carly Smith 6 pts

Caylee Phillips 6 pts

Abby Jackson 11 pts