BATH TOWNSHIP — Size against speed.
Thursday’s Western Buckeye League showdown between Bath and Kenton, on paper, looked like it was going to be an old-fashion size-versus-speed matchup.
Kenton depends on its quickness at both ends of the court, while Bath usually runs a very effective half-court offense.
For the first eight minutes of Thursday’s contest, Kenton’s quickness kept Bath at bay.
However, after the first quarter, Bath powered its way to the basket time and time again, taking the game over, en route to a convincing 58-32 victory over Kenton in girls basketball action.
With the win, Bath ends the regular season 15-7 and 7-2 in the WBL. Kenton ends its regular season 16-6, 6-3 in the WBL.
Bath will have a bye in the first round of next week’s Division II sectional tournament at Leipsic, and will play the winner of the St. Marys/Bryan semifinal game, on Feb. 25, with tip-off set for 8 p.m. Kenton will also have a bye and will play on Feb. 25 at Spencerville, against the winner of the Defiance/Van Wert sectional semifinal. Tip-off for that sectional final is set for 6:15 p.m.
On Thursday, Heidi Craddock led Bath with 18 points. Bailey Dackin scored 12 points, while pulling down nine rebounds. Elysabette Andrews, also played a strong inside game, scoring 10 points and coming away with nine boards. Lindsey Singhaus added nine points and six rebounds. Haley Garland, a 6-foot post player for Bath, added seven points and eight boards.
Ashley Morris led Kenton with 13 points. Teammate Ellie Miller added eight points and four steals.
“We were really out of sync for a stretch there in the first half,” longtime Bath coach Greg Mauk said. “I didn’t think we did a very good job of executing our press offense. We put the ball in some bad spots on the floor, that we want to try to avoid, and they took advantage of it. But, once we settled down, we handled that (defensive pressure) pretty well.”
After Kenton slipped out of a hard-fought first quarter with a 14-13 lead, Bath then shut Kenton down in the second quarter, outscoring its opponent 11-1 in that eight-minute time span. Kenton’s shooting went ice cold in the second quarter, going 0-for-10 from the floor. Bath went into the halftime break with a 24-15 lead.
In the second half, things got worse for Kenton.
Kenton was 5-of-24 shooting from the floor, while Bath extended its lead to 38-22 by the end of the third quarter.
For the game, Bath committed 21 turnovers, while Kenton turned it over 17 times.
“They turned us over 11 times in the first half, and we turned them over 13,” Mauk said. “So, we countered their pressure with our pressure. So, it really kind of offset itself. It (turnovers) didn’t become a factor in the game, and that was a good thing for us.”
Bath dominated the boards, 42-20.
“We rebound the ball and we don’t give many second looks,” Mauk said. “We do a pretty good job of making contact and checking people out. And we attacked the basket all night long. I think that was a key, too.”
For the game, Bath shot 41 percent from the floor. Kenton shot 23 percent.
Kenton coach Ryan Miller pointed to Bath’s physical style of play as a key factor Thursday night.
“We knew coming in, that we have to play that style of a basketball game, simply because we’re small,” Miller said. “We’re faster than most of the teams we’ve played. We thought we could take advantage of that. We felt we were a matchup problem for them, and we knew they were a matchup problem for us, because of their size. And the size won tonight.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.