The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jun. 6, 2020

Scoring lulls hurt VW in loss to Defiance

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

Two scoring runs by Defiance were too much for Van Wert to overcome in a 51-41 loss in the Western Buckeye League opener on Friday night. It was the third straight loss for the Cougars (1-3, 0-1 WBL).

The Bulldogs (3-1,1-0 WBL) jumped out to a 13-2 lead halfway through the first quarter, then went on an 11-0 run in the third quarter.

Tanner Barnhart drives to the basket during Friday night’s game against Defiance. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

The latter occurred after Jake Hilleary hit back-to-back buckets to give the Cougars a 25-24 lead a minute into the third period.

It was the only time Van Wert led in the game. Defiance answered with a basket by Tyrel Goings, a pair of foul shots by Will Lammers, and baskets by Brayden Shaw, Lammers and Caden Kline, giving the Bulldogs a 35-25 lead.

“In our three losses there’s been one little (scoring) lull,” Van Wert head coach Ben Laudick said. “The effort that our guys are giving night in and night out, day in and day out at practice – they’re doing everything we ask and it’s just not showing up on the scoreboard right now.”

“There are some bummed guys in our locker room, but at the same time the message was we’re going to keep grinding, and that was by them, it wasn’t by us,” Laudick added. “There are some brighter days ahead of us.”

Parker Conrad ended a near five minute scoring drought with a basket, and Van Wert opened the fourth quarter with a 6-2 scoring run, with all six points coming from Owen Treece, to trim Defiance’s lead to five, 39-34. However, Defiance used the free throw line to pull away late in the quarter, hitting seven of 10 shots from the foul line.

Treece entered the game averaging 27 points, but was held to 13, with seven coming in the second quarter and the remaining six in the final period.

“If he’s not the best offensive player in the league he’s one of them,” Defiance head coach Kirk Lehman said of Treece. “Our attention was definitely on him and I thought Caden Kline did a tremendous job, but I also thought our other guys were very alert as to where Owen was.”

When you throw up 40 points in the first game, you have a huge bullseye on your back,” Laudick said. “We said Owen’s going to have to carry the load for us early in the year, but at the same time we have some guys who are starting to make some steps in the right direction.”

“I thought Ethan Brown did a good job attacking the basket, and I thought Nate Jackson did a great job,” Laudick continued. “Tanner Barnhart did a great job on the Kline kid, keeping him off the glass.”

Brown and Barnhart each finished with seven points, while Jackson had six rebounds, the same as Jake Hilleary. Lammers led all scorers with Defiance 18 points, including 10 in the first quarter, while Jack Vanderhost tallied 11. Goings finished with a game high nine rebounds to held the Bulldogs win the rebounding battle 28-25.

Van Wert won the junior varsity game 52-51, when Aiden Pratt drilled a three pointer at the buzzer.

The Cougars will travel to Wapakoneta next Friday, then will host Ottoville on Saturday.

Scoring summary

Van Wert 7 14 7 13 – 41
Defiance 13 11 13 14 – 51

Van Wert: Clayton Profitt 1-0-3; Owen Treece 5-2-13; Keaton Brown 1-0-2; Tanner Barnhart 3-1-7; Jake Hilleary 3-0-6

Defiance: Jack Vanderhorst 3-4-11; Jacob Hutheson 2-2-4; Tyrel Goings 3-0-6; Caden Kline 2-1-3; Will Lammers 6-4-18; Brayden Shaw 1-1-4; Joe Lammers 2-0-5

POSTED: 12/13/19 at 11:30 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports