COLUMBUS GROVE — Shawnee coach Jeff Heistan must be in the what else can go wrong mode as far as injuries are concerned.
The Indians traveled to Columbus Grove and dropped a 66-29 non-league game Tuesday night as they played without the services of four starters.
That is not to take anything away from the Bulldogs who are coming off of a 23-3 season and return Northwest Conference player of the year Jade Clement and fellow starter Paige Bellman.
Already missing two starters at guard – Kerri Roberson (ACL) and Grace O’Connor (labrum) – the Indians lost a third starter to illness when Dionna Lewis left school Tuesday with an undisclosed illness. To top things off, Kinsey Heistan went down midway through the first quarter with an ankle injury.
“We were just playing with kids who played JV last year,” coach Heistan said. “I don’t know what else could go wrong.”
The game was at 6-6 before the Bulldogs ripped off a 17-0 run to end the first period and begin the second quarter. Columbus Grove would go on to lead 39-14 at the intermission and the only real question at that point was the final score.
The Bulldogs were torrid from the field as they connected on 9-of-19 on two point shots and 6-of-8 on 3-pointers in that first half.
“I was worried about first game jitters since we have high expectations,” Bulldogs coach Brian Schroeder said. “We played good defense and were able to turn them over and get into our transition game.”
Columbus Grove (1-0) would go on to place 10 players in the scoring column, led by Bellman with a game-high 15 points while Clement added 11 points. Grace Schroeder contributed nine points for the Bulldogs on three 3-pointers.
Shawnee (1-1) turned the ball over 33 times in the game compared to 17 miscues for the Bulldogs. The Indians pulled down 16 rebounds while the Bulldogs had 25 caroms in the game.
“We played a good team and didn’t take care of the ball,” Heistan said of the turnover problem. “We are at a tough part of our schedule and throwing kids into situations they’ve never been in before.”
Schroeder was pleased overall with what he saw from his Bulldogs in their season opener.
“We lost five seniors but return two good players in Clement and Bellman,” Schroeder said. “We just have to get all the pieces together.”
Even though the Bulldogs played most of the second half with subs they continued their hot shooting from the field. They finished the night hitting 52 percent from the floor on 25 of 48 that included 8-of-15 from beyond the arc.
Shawnee finished at 39 percent on 11-of-28 from the field, their 33 turnovers in the contest limiting the number of shots they were able to attempt.
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