Lincolnview forward Ashton Bowersock gets inside position against Jefferson’s Jasmine McDougall during the Lady Lancers’ 38-33 win on Thursday night. Bowersock scored five in the victory. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
By John Parent
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
MIDDLE POINT — The Lady Jeffcats were coming off a night that saw them shoot an alarmingly low 14.8 percent from the field in a loss at Wayne Trace on Tuesday night. As they traveled to rural Middle Point to take on Northwest Conference rival Lincolnview, Jefferson’s girls had to be expecting the sailing to be a bit smoother.
Sometimes, though, it’s hard to break out of a slump.
Though Jefferson nearly doubled their shooting percentage, that still left them at a dismal 28.5 percent against the Lady Lancers. To make matters worse, the normally sure-handed Wildcats coughed up 18 turnovers in the game, 11 more than their season average, and committed 19 personal fouls. Add it all up and you get a 38-33 Lincolnview victory.
“We didn’t play very intelligently, as far as what we can do and what we have done in the past,” noted Jefferson head coach Dave Hoffman, whose team fell to 6-9 overall and 1-4 in conference play. “We just didn’t control the ball tonight. We didn’t put (Lincolnview) in positions where they had to play defense, and our defense was not very good - we didn’t force them to their off hand as much as we needed to do. And fouls. We literally fouled our way, to a certain extent, out of this game.”
Jefferson got on the board first, thanks to a three-pointer from the wing by Katie Goergens. After seeing their girls go 3-for-26 from beyond the arc on Tuesday, watching that first one fall had to feel great for the Delphos fans.
Unfortunately, it was the only one of the 13 Jefferson three-point attempts on the night to go down.
A pair of free throws by Brooke Culp made it 5-0 before Lincolnview junior Julia Thatcher drained a three of her own, but Rileigh Stockwell responded with a driving layup to make it 7-3, which is where the score stood after eight minutes of play.
Jefferson was just 2-for-9 in the quarter, but the Lancers were even worse at 1-for-11.
The Wildcats were able to open up a lead as big as nine points in the second quarter thanks to continued poor shooting by Lincolnview. Jefferson made an effort to get the ball moving toward the basket and wound up scoring four of their 10 points in the period from the line. a three-point play by Hannah Sensibaugh made it 15-6 with 3:22 to go in the half. At that point, Lincolnview was still stuck on one made field goal.
The Lancers got another three from Thatcher and a leaner from senior Christine Stemen to cut the Jefferson lead to 17-11 at the half.
The second half, however, belonged to the Lady Lancers. More specifically, it belonged to Thatcher.
Jefferson still led by six at 19-13 when Culp had to sit after picking up her fourth personal foul - it came on a charge call that negated a basket for the Wildcats. That’s when the Lancers made an effort to get to the rim and create opportunities for themselves.
“We had worked on, in practice (Wednesday), being aggressive to the basket after getting past their trap,” said Lancer head coach Dan Williamson. “That was the biggest difference. In the second half, we were aggressive getting to the basket and in the first half, we weren’t.”
Thatcher turned the corner at the top of the key and drive the paint, dropping the shot while absorbing contact. She then calmly went to the line and converted the three-point play with 4:30 to go in the period. That brought the Lancers to within three at 19-16.
Less than a minute later, Thatcher knocked down an 18-foot jumper - one of the few perimeter shots to fall for either squad - to pull the Lancers to within one. After Heather Pohlman made one of her two free throws on the other end, Thatcher converted another three-point play and Lincolnview had their first lead of the game at 21-20 with 2:51 to go in the third.
That lead was short-lived thanks to a Stockwell bucket, but Claire Clay converted a three-point play of her own for the Lancers and Lincolnview would take a 26-22 advantage into the final stanza.
“All the credit goes to (our players),” Williamson added, noting his team’s resolve after such a rough first half of play. “We could have just packed it up and said ‘we’re just not playing well tonight, let’s save some for Saturday.’ But they didn’t. They came out (in the third quarter) and really played the way they have been playing and the way we need to play to be competitive and to win games. All the credit goes to these kids.”
In the fourth, those fouls finally caught up with the Wildcats. Lincolnview attempted 10 free throws in the quarter and made eight of them. A baseline jumper from Ashton Bowersock and a layup by Stemen were the only field goals in the quarter for Lincolnview, but Jefferson could only manage a 3-for-11 shooting period and couldn’t get closer than three at any point.
“Give Lincolnview credit, to play with basically just their five (starters) and do what they needed to do. We just did not play well,” added Hoffman. “They got the job done and we didn’t.”
Ten of the 18 Jefferson turnovers came in the second half. Lincolnview out-scored the Wildcats 27-16 after the break.
“We knew it was going to be tough to get extra possessions that way,” added Williamson. “We’ve done a nice job, this year, of forcing turnovers with our press and with our pressure. I didn’t know how effective that was going to be because of the low number of turnovers that (Jefferson) had.”
“I don’t know if it was really our pressure, or if we were just in the right spot,” Williamson said, “but it really caused them some problems in the second half. We started making some shots as well, and that kind of compounded things for them.”
Jefferson came up with 31 rebounds on the night, including 10 on the offensive glass. Lincolnview had 23 total boards, with 17 of those coming in the first half. Jefferson shot 10-for-35 from the field to Lincolnview’s 10-for-38 (26.3 percent), but the Lancers committed just nine turnovers in the contest, and not one of those came in the final quarter.
Lincolnview improved to 6-10 overall and 2-4 in NWC play.
Score by quarters
Jefferson 7 10 5 11- 33
Lincolnview 3 8 15 12- 38
Culp 4, Goergens 3, Stockwell 9, G. Pimpas 4, McDougall 2, Sensibaugh 8, Pohlman 0, Deuel 0, Koenig 2, Binkley 0
McCleery 3, Clay 3, Thatcher 20, Stemen 6, Bowersock 5, Gorman 0, Wendel 1