The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Mar. 30, 2023

Bulldogs race past Van Wert 76-55

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

Too many weapons.

That was the case during Columbus Grove’s 76-55 non-conference boys’ basketball win over Van Wert on Saturday. The Bulldogs improved to 7-0 on the season, while the Cougars dropped to 2-6.

The visitors quickly jumped out to a 7-0 first quarter lead, but Van Wert was able to close the gap to 7-5, courtesy of Owen Treece and Clayton Proffitt. However, 6-4 junior Blake Reynolds was too much to handle, as he scored 11 of his game high 30 points to help Columbus Grove to a 22-13 lead at the end of the period.

Van Wert’s Clayton Proffitt finds himself surrounded by Columbus Grove defenders during Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

Reynolds was scoreless in the second quarter and at one point, Van Wert trimmed the deficit to three, 22-19, but a pair of buckets by Tayt Birnesser and Alex Schneider quickly helped the Bulldogs extend the lead back to double digits, on the way to a 37-25 halftime lead.

Any hopes of a comeback were squashed in the third quarter as Reynolds stormed back to score 13 more points, while Columbus Grove’s defense held Van Wert to 11 points in the period.

“Their defense is their best offense at times,” Van Wert head coach Ben Laudick explained. “When we attacked it correctly we got good looks and good shots but when you make a mistake, they make you pay for it because they have athletes at all spots.”

Van Wert enjoyed a 19-17 scoring edge in the fourth quarter, with Colin Place coming off the bench to score all seven of his points.

Treece and Proffitt each had 10 points for the Cougars, while Nate Jackson and Jake Hilleary each scored eight. Jackson started his first game of the season, as did Parker Conrad, while Hilleary came off the bench.

“We thought Nate Jackson had a really good game Friday night and I thought he had a good game tonight,” Laudick said. “He’s doing some things and trending in the right direction. Jake actually had a little bit of an ankle problem and so did Parker, but they both responded well.”

In addition to Reynolds, Gabe Clement scored 11 for the Bulldogs, Evan Hopkins scored 10 and Schneider added eight.

The Cougars will have a break of nearly two weeks, with the next games scheduled for January 10 and 11 against St. Marys Memorial and Marion Local. Both games will be played at Van Wert High School.

“We’re going to focus on ourselves a lot especially next week, Laudick said after the game. “We’re going to give the guys a day or two off because we don’t play, but Monday is going to be a heavy shooting practice. It gives us an opportunity to tinker with some things and evaluate some things and try to clean some things up.”

Scoring summary

Cougars 13 12 11 19 – 55
Bulldogs 22 15 22 17 – 76

Van Wert: Clayton Proffitt 4-0-10; Owen Treece 4-2-10; Keaton Brown 1-1-3; Nate Jackson 3-2-8; Kolby Barnhart 1-0-3; Parker Conrad 2-0-4; Colin Place 3-1-7; Spencer Adams 1-0-2; Jake Hilleary 4-0-8

Columbus Grove: Blake Reynolds12-5-30; Tayt Birnesser 2-0-4; Evan Hopkins 3-2-10; Gabe Clement 5-0-11; Owen Macke 1-0-2; Ethan Halker 3-0-6; Tanner Smith 1-2-5; Alex Schneider 4-0-8

JV: Van Wert 48-40

POSTED: 12/30/19 at 4:59 am. FILED UNDER: Sports