The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, May. 31, 2023

Cougars dominate Shawnee, Knights win

DAVE MOSIER/independent sports

The battles between Van Wert and Shawnee boys’ basketball teams have included some legendary match-ups and some good players. Friday’s game was no exception in the good player category, as the Cougars had to battle perhaps the best player they’ve seen all year: Shawnee’s Trey Howard.

While Howard managed to score 36 points – and the 1,000th point of his career – the whole remaining Indian team could only come within 15 points of that total and the much more balanced Cougars easily defeated Shawnee 76-57 in their final Western Buckeye League game of the season.

Corey Clifton, a very good player in his own right, scored 31 points for Van Wert, while Reggie Phillips added 16 for the Cougar offense.

Cougar Reggie Phillips (23) goes w-a-a-y up for a layup during Friday's WBL contest with Shawnee won by Van Wert 76-57. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

The big quarter for Van Wert was the first one, as the Cougars seized the reins and rode to a 15-point first-quarter lead, 26-11. The Cougs added a basket to the lead and were up by 17, 41-24, at the half.

In the third quarter, Shawnee and Van Wert played basically even, with the Indians getting a basket more, 17-15, to return to the 15-point lead the Cougars had in the first period. Van Wert then parlayed a 20-16 fourth-quarter into its 16th win of the season. The Cougs are now 16-3 overall and 6-3 in the WBL. Shawnee now sports a 6-13 overall record and is 2-7 in league play.

Van Wert’s offense was again pounding out the high-percentage points. The Cougars hit 3 of 9 three-point attempts (33.3 percent) and were 27 of 42 from two-point range (64.3 percent) for an excellent field-goal shooting ratio of 58.8 percent.

Shawnee’s offense wasn’t as potent, hitting only 4 of 13 three-point tries (30.8 percent) and 14 of 34 two-point attempts (41.2 percent) for an overall field-goal shooting ratio of 38.3 percent.

Both teams shot fairly well from the free-throw line. Van Wert was the better team there also, though, knocking down 13 of 18 (72.2 percent), while the Indians were 17 of 26 (65.4 percent).

The Cougars did a good job of crashing the boards, hauling down 27 rebounds to 19 for Shawnee, while Van Wert had two fewer turnovers, 9 to 11, than the Indians.

The Cougar junior varsity team won its eighth league game of the year with a 65-43 victory over Shawnee. AJ Smith led Van Wert with 19 points, while Andrew Boyer had 13 points to led the Indians. The Cougar JVs are now 15-4 overall and 8-1 in the WBL.

Van Wert will play a make-up game with Delphos Jefferson today at 1 p.m. in the Cougar’s Den and will next play the winner of Elida and Shawnee in the Division II sectional tournament next weekend.

Elsewhere in the county, the Crestview boys downed Delphos Jefferson, 66-39, while the Lancer boys lost to Bluffton, 62-40. The Knights are now 7-2 in the Northwest Conference and 15-4 overall, while Lincolnview falls to 2-7 in the NWC and 5-14 overall.

POSTED: 02/26/11 at 1:52 am. FILED UNDER: Sports