FINDLAY — The Van Wert Cougars travelled to Findlay High School on Tuesday night for the Sectional Semi-Finals against the Lima Bath Wildcats. Van Wert advanced to the Sectional Championship with a 66-47 victory over Bath.

There is a lot of clichés written about tournament basketball and underdogs but I will spare you of that talk. The Cougars dispelled any hope of a win from the underdog Wildcats with a strong first quarter.

Van Wert started the contest with an 11-2 run getting nine points from Nate Place. The early run by Van Wert forced a Wildcat timeout. The Cougars eventually closed the first period with back to back 3-pointers from Place and Owen Treece to give the Cougars a 21-4 lead.

Bath got the first points of the second quarter from Derek Grigsby who would score eight of the first ten points for the Wildcats. Unfortunately for Bath, the Cougars continued to score as layups from Treece and Blake Henry put Van Wert up 25-10.

Later in the second period, Van Wert got two triples from Drew Bagley and Place to put the Cougars up 32-12. Bath got their first trey from Cyrus Burden to bring the score to 32-15 near the end of the first half.

Van Wert got a three point play and a 3-pointer from Place to send the Cougars into the intermission up 38-15.

The Cougars had another strong start, this time to the third quarter as Place hit a triple and Henry got fouled for a three point play which put Van Wert up 45-15.

Van Wert continued to keep their 30 point advantage nearly half way through the third quarter. As Bath got a trey from Carter Parlapiano and Van Wert countered with one from Bagley, 53-23.

The Wildcats got two 3-pointers from Burden and Parlapiano to bring the third quarter score to 59-33, Van Wert.

The Cougars and the Wildcats played much of the fourth quarter with reserves. In the end the Cougars picked up the 66-47 victory over Bath to advantage to the sectional finals.

“We had some good individual moments tonight against Bath but it got sloppy late,” said Van Wert basketball coach Mark Bagley. “But I really wanted to make sure we were healthy for Friday night against a physical Wauseon team. We did what we wanted to do tonight. I was really pleased with our start. We did a good job of putting them out early and we got a lot of guys in tonight. It wasn’t always pretty tonight but on a Tuesday night game with a small crowd we did what we had to do tonight.”

The Cougars will get their chance to avenge last year’s district semi-final lost to the Wauseon Indians on Friday night at Findlay High School for the sectional title.

“Our guys wanted to be in the Wauseon bracket so we are getting what we wanted,” stated Van Wert coach Bagley. “Last year at the district and this year at the sectional. So obvious we have all hands on deck and we need our Cougar faithful to show up on Friday night. We need a great crowd here on Friday. These guys are playing well and they deserve to have our community behind them on Friday night. So that is my challenge to our community to show up on Friday night and be loud.”