The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, May. 25, 2024

Defiance ends Van Wert’s season 51-30

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

DEFIANCE — A dominating second half allowed Defiance to end Van Wert’s boys basketball season in the Division II sectional finals at Defiance High School on Saturday.

The Bulldogs held the Cougars to just 11 second half points on the way to a 51-30 victory. The win means Defiance (15-8) will face No. 1 seed Shawnee in the Division II district semifinals at Spencerville on Wednesday, while Van Wert finishes the season 11-11, with 10 of those wins coming during the second half of the season.

Van Wert’s Owen Treece found himself sandwiched by Defiance defenders during Saturday’s sectional championship game against the Bulldogs. In his final game, Treece scored 15 points. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

Defiance began the third quarter leading 20-19 and the Bulldogs went on to outscore the Cougars 19-5 in the period, including seven unanswered points to start the period, then a 12-0 to end it. Brayden Shaw and Cayden Zachrich each scored five points in the quarter, while David Jimenez added four. Van Wert’s only points of the quarter came on a basket and ensuing foul shot by Ethan Brown and a bucket by Aidan Pratt.

“It’s a credit to coach (Bryn) Lehman and their kids,” Van Wert head coach Ben Laudick said. “They executed in that third quarter and that was the turning point. They made some shots and we didn’t and I felt like a lid was on the basket on our end up to the final buzzer. The ball just wouldn’t go through it.”

Shaw, who led all scorers with 18 points, added four free throws in the fourth quarter.

After a hot start, the Cougars finished 12-of-44 (27 percent) from the floor, while Defiance was 18-of-38 (48 percent). The Bulldogs also won the rebounding battle 29-18.

Van Wert jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the opening quarter but Defiance chipped away and trailed by just one, 13-12, at the end of the period. Owen Treece scored six of his 15 points in the quarter, but the Bulldogs countered with six straight foul shots by Shaw and Jimenez.

“I was real pleased with our start,” Laudick said. “We wanted to get out to a quick start unlike the first time we were here, when we got off to an atrociously slow start and it was 23-10 at the end of the first quarter.”

The two teams combined for just 14 points in the second quarter. A triple by Treece tied the game 17-17 with 4:30 left, but a trey by Shaw 40 seconds later gave the Bulldogs the lead for good. Treece closed the quarter with a late basket to make it a one point game at halftime.

“I figured the first half was kind of how the whole game was going to go and whoever could make a run was probably coming out on top,” Laudick said. “Unfortunately it was them and not us.”

“It’s been quite a ride this year,” the coach added. “To see where we started and to see where we ended up – it’s not the result we wanted, but when I look back on it it’s pretty special what we were able to do.”

Laudick also praised his lone seniors, Treece and Evan Knittle.

“Owen is Owen and his name is in the paper all the time…that’s a credit to all the hard work that he’s put in and he deserves all of the accolades that he gets,” Laudick said. “Evan is a great young man, he never complains, he works his tail off, he accepted his role and if he can do that in the game of life he’s going to do really good things.”

“It’s sad to lose those two but at the same time when I look at the big picture we have a lot of guys coming back next year and we have guys at other levels that are going to be able to compete for spots as well.”

Scoring summary

Defiance 12 8 19 12 – 51
Van Wert 13 6 5 6 – 30

Defiance: Brayden Shaw 5-5-18; David Jimenez 3-4-10; Isaac Schlatter 2-0-4; CJ Zachrich 3-0-6; Cayden Zachrich 3-0-8: Ta’Marrion Davis 1-0-3; TJ Nafziger 1-0-2

Van Wert: Ethan Brown 1-1-3; Owen Treece 6-2-15; Garett Gunter 1-0-3; Aidan Pratt 6-1-7; Nate Jackson 2-0-4

Van Wert’s Ethan Brown (3) is off to the races after grabbing a rebound during Saturday’s sectional championship game against Defiance. Bob Barnes photo

POSTED: 02/28/21 at 9:44 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports