Van Wert's Caylee Phillips (23) puts up a shot against Jefferson senior Sarah Miller (30) during a girls basketball game on Thursday. (DHI Media/John Parent)
Van Wert's Caylee Phillips (23) puts up a shot against Jefferson senior Sarah Miller (30) during a girls basketball game on Thursday. (DHI Media/John Parent)

DELPHOS – Four different Jefferson girls scored in double figure and another finished with 9 points as the host Lady Wildcats outlasted Van Wert 61-50 on Thursday evening.

In what was a physical tussle from the opening tip, neither team was particularly efficient on offense. Jefferson shot only 29 percent (10-for-34) in the first half and 31 percent (18-for-59) overall, but that effort was far more successful than the Lady Cougars, who converted only 27 percent (20 of 73) of their shots in the game, including an 8-for-35 (23 percent) first half.

“I was very pleased, especially considering the physicality of the game,” Jefferson head coach Dave Hoffman said. “[Van Wert] is a young team, but they have the capability of putting up some shots, and their quickness concerned me, but I thought we did a good job defending them with our 2-1-2 zone.”

“That was a football game played on a basketball court,” Van Wert head coach Rob Adams. “We didn’t have them prepared; their physicality got to us, and we didn’t have some things go our way.”


The rough style of play had a devastating impact of the Van Wert rotation early, as the Cougars had three players, including posts Abby Jackson and Jamison Clouse, saddled with two fouls each in the first half. The Cougars led after one, and took an 18-15 lead halfway through the second thanks to some hot shooting by Jerica Huebner, who scored 8 points in the period. Jefferson was able to battle back thanks to an Alli McClurg layup and a 3-pointer from Addy Stewart. Though the Lady Cats led 26-22 at the half, Adams felt his team was in good position.

“Both Gator (Jackson) and Mimi (Clouse) both got in foul trouble, and when we lose our two post players in the first half, [Jefferson] was able to stick right in there,” Adams said. “They took the lead into halftime, but we thought ‘ok, we’re not going to change anything; we’ll keep the pressure on and see if we can force some turnovers.’”

The Cougars did force the Wildcats into 4 turnovers in the third quarter, but Van Wert coughed it up 6 times. It was still a 4-point spread when Alexis Rupert scored on an offensive rebound, but another Stewart trey highlighted an 8-4 spurt to make it 40-32 going into the final period.

Jefferson (2-1) extended its lead in the fourth quarter, largely thanks to the post play of McClurg and senior Sarah Miller, who came back from a third quarter injury to score 6 of her game-high 14 points in the last period.

“I was very pleased [that she could return],” Hoffman said. “She got a small cut over her eye, and she may need a stitch or two eventually, but that shows her fortitude, coming back.

Miller added 6 rebounds and 2 assists, Devyn Carder and Macy Wallace had identical 11 point, 7 rebound efforts while McClurg finished with a 10 point, 10 rebound double-double. Stewart finished with 9 points and 9 boards.

“In the first half we didn’t execute our offense as well –we took too many quick shots– I thought that in the second half we did a better job,” Hoffman said. “We’ve been getting a contribution from a lot of players, and that’s what you need.”

Van Wert (1-2) was led by senior Cassidy Meyers, who hd 13 points and a dozen rebounds off the bench. She also led the way with 4 assists and 4 steals. Huebner added 8 points, as did Alexis Metz. Reagan Priest scored 7 while Rupert added 6 points and 7 rebounds.

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VAN WERT (50)

Alexis Metz 3-10 0-0 8, Reagan Priest 3-10 0-2 7, Alexis Rupert 3-15 0-0 6, Abby Jackson 2-4 0-1 4, Caylee Phillips 1-7 0-0 2, Cassidy Meyers 4-12 5-6 13, Jerica Huebner 3-9 2-7 8, Jamison Clouse1-4 0-3 2, Sierra Shaffer 0-2 0-0 0; Totals 2-73 5-12 50

JEFFERSON (61)

Devyn Carder 3-9 5-8 11, Macy Wallace 3-13 5-7 11, Addy Stewart 3-7 1-2 9, Sarah Miller 4-11 6-8 14, Alli McClurg 4-14 2-7 10, Michelle Rode 0-2 2-2 2, Delany Deuel 0-2 0-0 0, Ayron McClurg 1-1 2-2 4, Audrey North 0-0 0-0 0, Sydnie McGue 0-0 0-0 0; Totals 18-59 23-36 61

Van Wert 10 12 10 18 – 50

Jefferson 9 17 14 21 – 61

3-point field goals: VW 5-27 (Huebner 2, Metz 2, Priest), DJ 2-13 (Stewart 2); Rebounds: VW 43 (Meyers 12), DJ 46 (AlMcClurg 10); Assists: VW 7 (Meyers 4), DJ 9 (4 players with 2 each); Turnovers: VW 21, DJ 19; Fouls: VW 26, DJ 17; JV score: Jefferson 35-27.