Lincolnview’s Justis Dowdy is mauled on his way to the rack by a Jefferson defender during the Lancers’ 48-37 win on Friday night. Dowdy scored 11 points in the victory, equaling his season average. (Times Bulletin/Randy Shellenbarger)
By Jim Metcalfe
DELPHOS —Throughout the first half, neither the host Delphos Jefferson Wildcats nor the Lincolnview Lancers were able to separate themselves.
In the third quarter, however, it was the Lancers - led by senior sharpshooter Kyle Williams - that took control. Lincolnview used an 11-point outburst by Williams to double-up Jefferson, 22-11, in the period and roll to a 48-37 Northwest Conference win on Friday night.
For Lincolnview head coach Brett Hammons, the key was persistence.
“We told the kids at the half to just keep shooting. I felt we were getting good looks at the basket; they just didn’t fall,” he explained. “All it took was for a couple of shots from Kyle (Williams) to go down, and we started playing with even more energy. We also turned them over a few times in big spots, and that got us going offensively.”
The Wildcats (9-6, 1-3 NWC) led 20-16 at the half and sophomore Trey Smith scored on a third-chance effort at 7:15 to give the red-and-white a 22-16 edge.
Lancer junior Justis Dowdy began the Lancer onslaught with a steal that turned into a three-point play that brought Lincolnview to within three. Jefferson senior Ross Thompson gave the Wildcats a 24-19 lead with 4:30 to go but when Lincolnview’s Williams — held scoreless by the Delphos 2-3 zone up to that point — bombed a triple at 3:52, that got the blue-and-yellow going, jump-starting an 8-2 spurt that gave them a 27-26 lead on his second three-ball.
Smith laid one in at 2:33 to give the home team its last lead of 28-27. A Dowdy free throw tied the score and a triple from the left wing by senior Eli Farmer gave the Lancers a lead they never gave back.
Senior Conner McCleery powered in a deuce and Williams laid in a steal and then downed a third three from the left wing to put Lincolnview up 38-28. Senior Austin Jettinghoff drove for three-point play inside to get the hosts within 38-31 at the end of three.
Lincolnview forced seven of Jefferson’s 17 turnovers in the span.
The Wildcats needed to heat up in a hurry in the fourth but when they missed their first four shots of the period — all threes — it didn’t seem meant to be. McCleery notched a three-point play at 5:58 to give Lincolnview another 10-point spread. Jettinghoff answered with a trifecta and Smith laid one in off the glass to get the Wildcats within 41-36, but they could get no closer. A bucket by sophomore Chandler Adams at 2:06 broke the brief drought for Lincolnview and they hit 3-of-5 free throws in the final minute to finish it off.
“We stunk. Give Lincolnview all the credit for being prepared to play tonight,” Jefferson coach Marc Smith observed. “I thought we had a solid week of practice this week but apparently I didn’t prepare the kids well enough to win a grinder like tonight. We have won more than a few of these this year but we didn’t match the intensity Lincolnview had to win this game. I take the blame for that and we will figure it out.”
Jefferson’s 2-3 zone was meant to keep Williams and Dowdy from getting going early, and outside of Dowdy scoring seven points in the opener, it worked. As well, the Lancers’ man-to-man defense, with Dowdy assigned to Thompson, sophomore Hayden Ludwig guarding Smith and Williams keeping freshman point guard Jace Stockwell from breaking down the defense, held those three to a combined six points. In the end, a Dowdy layin off a steal put the visitors up 14-8 at the end of one quarter.
Jefferson’s defense put the clamps on the Lancers in the second, limiting them to one drive by McCleery on 1-of-14 shooting. On the other end, the Wildcats shot 5-of-9 — getting six by Thompson, four by Jettinghoff and two from Smith — and secured a 20-16 halftime edge on a short baseline jumper from Smith.
“I felt we should have been farther ahead at the half. We missed a lot of shots at the rim,” Coach Smith added. “We have too many kids worried about contact or taking the bump at the rim. That’s part of the mental game as well, not worrying about that stuff and just playing through whatever presents itself.”
Lincolnview (7-6) ended up shooting 18-of-43 field goals, 5-of-13 from beyond the arc, for 41.9 percent and 7-of-13 at the line (53.8%). They hauled in 22 boards (5 offensive).
“We knew that we were going to have to win this game with our defense. That was our main point of emphasis this week in practice,” Hammons added. “We’d lost three in a row and didn’t want that to continue. You will give some things up when you have two main guys like Smith and Thompson to deal with but generally, I felt we kept things in front of us.”
Jefferson dropped in 15-of-42 (1-of-15 downtown) for 35.7 percent and 6-of-8 free shots (75%). They totaled 32 caroms (10 offensive).
In junior varsity action, Lincolnview improved to 11-2 (3-2 NWC) with a 47-32 triumph.
Troy Thompson and Derek Youtsey led the effort with 12 points each and Josh Leiter added 11.
Drew Reiss put in 12 for the Wildcats (9-6, 0-4) and Josh Teman 11.
Score by Quarters:
Lincolnview 14 2 22 10 - 48
Jefferson 8 12 11 6 - 37
Austin Leeth 1-0-2, Kyle Williams 4-0-11, Justis Dowdy 4-3-11, Derek Friesner 0-0-0, Chandler Adams 2-1-5, Conner McCleery 4-3-11, Eli Farmer 3-0-8, Hayden Ludwig 0-0-0 Totals 13-5-7/13-48
Jace Stockwell 0-0-0, Drew Reiss 0-0-0, Josh Teman 0-0-0, Austin Jettinghoff 4-1-10, Ross Thompson 5-3-13, Trey Smith 5-2-12, Ryan Goergens 0-0-0, Tyler Mox 0-0-0, Nick Fitch 1-0-2, Kurt Wollenhaupt 0-0-0, Tyler Rice 0-0-0 Totals 14-1-6/8-37