The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020

Van Wert girls win hoops opener 30-29

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

Clinging to a 27-25 lead over Coldwater with two minutes left in the game, Van Wert desperately needed a basket and the Cougars got a big one from Sayler Wise.

The sophomore drilled a triple from the right side, putting Van Wert ahead 30-25, and from there the Cougars held on for a 30-29 win in the girls’ basketball season opener at Van Wert High School on Friday night.

Sofia Houg (20) puts up a shot against Coldwater defenders. Bob Barnes photos

“It was huge,” said Van Wert head coach Hannah Phlipot. “We told Sayler before the game that she was going to play a vital role for us defensively, so it’s an added bonus, and an awesome thing as a coach, to see her step up and hit a huge play for us on the offensive end.”

A bucket by Annelise Harlament with 34.8 seconds left and an offensive rebound and ensuing basket by Riley Rismiller with 12.1 seconds left pulled the Cavaliers to within one. Coldwater had a chance to win, but missed a pair of free throws with 5.3 seconds left, as well as three shots off offensive rebounds as time expired.

Sofia Houg scored five of her team-high 10 points in the first quarter and the Cougars led 10-6 after one quarter. Van Wert connected on just one basket in the second period — a trey by Carly Smith — and free throws by Kyra Welch and Houg, to grab a 16-8 halftime lead. Coldwater’s lone basket was by Rismiller with 7:20 left in the quarter.

“Sofi is someone we know we’re going to be able to count on each and every night, but we’re not a one-person show, we are a ‘win by committee’ type of team,” Phlipot said. “A couple of weeks from now it could be somebody totally different.”

“We know a strength of ours is defense,” Phlipot continued. “We’re quick, we’re pretty agile at almost every position, so that’s our game plan. Offense is something that the last few years we’ve continued to try to improve upon, but we know we have got to hold teams to low numbers to give ourselves a fighting chance.”

A quick steal and layup by Houg early in the third quarter gave the Cougars their biggest lead of the night, 18-8, but Coldwater chipped away and trailed 24-20 at the end of the period. Harlamert scored seven of her 10 points in the quarter and Rismiller added five. Rismiller accounted for seven of Coldwater’s nine fourth quarter points and finished with a game high 16.

Van Wert had a slim 30-29 rebounding advantage, with Welch pulling down nine and Houg adding six. The Cougars also connected on 9-of-17 free throws, compared to 9-of-24 for Coldwater. The Cavaliers also had 24 turnovers, while Van Wert had 16.

“We set some small term goals for us to get through this game,” Phlipot said. “The three stat goals we set for ourselves were win the rebounding, we had to win the turnovers and limit our turnovers, and we had to win the free throw percentage.”

Van Wert is scheduled to host Marion Local on December 1, while Coldwater is scheduled to play at Kalida the same night.

Scoring summary

Van Wert 10 6 8 6 – 30
Coldwater 6 2 12 9 – 29

Van Wert: Carlee Young 1-4-6; Carly Smith 1-0-3; Sayler Wise 1-0-3; Kyra Welch 0-3-3; Sofia Houg 4-1-10; Erin Schaufelberger 1-0-2; Allison Schaufelberger 1-1-3

Coldwater: Annelise Harlament 3-4-10; Courtney May 1-0-2; Paige Siefring 0-1-1; Riley Rismiller 6-4-16

JV: Van Wert 36-26

POSTED: 11/20/20 at 11:30 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports