BLUFFTON — Up-tempo suits Upper Scioto Valley just fine.
Once USV picked up the pace in Tuesday’s nonconference girls basketball game at Bluffton, the home team struggled to counter, as USV pulled away for a convincing 65-42 victory over the Pirates.
After a subpar first half, in which USV shot 28 percent from the field, the Rams took over at both ends of the floor in the second half.
USV (1-0) made 11-of-14 shots from the field in the third quarter, to extend its 28-19 halftime lead, to 53-33 by the third stop. The Rams led by as many as 27 points in the second half.
USV’s Shelby Spradlin led all scorers with 20 points. The 5-foot-9 junior also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, and made three steals at the defensive end.
Along with Spradlin, teammates Kaycee Carroll (15 points), Callie Daniels (12) and Emily Patton (10) also scored in double figures.
“We got the ball inside a little bit better in the second half,” longtime USV coach Mike Risner said. “They came out in that triangle-and-two (defense) in the first half. We were settling for a lot of threes. And on the road, it can be a little more difficult to shoot. We started to get the ball inside, and we started to beat the defense down the court in the second half.
“We have some room for improvement, defensively and rebounding. But, I like what I saw with the offense in the second half.”
After being held to seven points in the first half, Spradlin heated up in the second half, scoring 11 points in the third quarter.
“She’s a nice player,” Risner said. “We can post her up. We can do a lot of things with her. She sees the court really well, and she jumps well, too.
“We have some athletes who can go get the ball. With it being the first game, we hope to improve from here and see how it goes.”
Katie Prater led Bluffton (1-2) with 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Abbie Parkins added 10 points. Averey Rumer scored just four points, but pulled down 10 rebounds for the Pirates.
USV led 16-11 at the end of one quarter of action. Then, despite 4-of-18 shooting in the second quarter, the Rams managed to push its lead to 28-19 by the break.
Defensively, USV helped force 10 Bluffton turnovers in the first half. For the game, Bluffton turned it over 15 times, compared to nine miscues for USV.
For the game, USV shot 41 percent. Bluffton connected on 31 percent of its field goal attempts.
The taller Rams won the battle on the boards, 38-30.
“Our trouble the last couple of games has been offensive rebounding,” Bluffton coach Eric Garmatter said. “For some reason, we’re turning the ball over too much. It’s really been more bad decisions, than against (defensive) pressure.
“We can’t just play one end of the floor. We have to play better defense. We have to play better offense. It’s the whole game. We have to get a little bit better. We’re young, but we have some experience out there. We can’t use that as an excuse.”
Tuesday’s game was USV’s season opener.
“We were concerned because Bluffton had a couple games under their belt,” Risner said. “(With us) coming on their court, we expected a tough game. They have some good young players. They will continue to get better. Coach Garmatter does a great job with them.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.