Wildcats control offensive glass to down Bobcats, 76-40

TOLEDO — In the first quarter of Bowling Green’s Division I district semifinal tournament game against Sylvania Northview, it looked like the Bobcats’ magic was still in place.

At Central Catholic’s Sullivan Center Tuesday, BG opened a 13-7 first quarter lead, but it did not last as the Wildcats eventually took control, winning 76-40.

For the Wildcats, 6-foot-4 senior wing Kasey Hunt had 20 points and six rebounds, senior point guard Kenny Biggs had 19 points and two steals, and 6-7 senior power forward Sean Craig had 18 points and 10 rebounds.

BG senior guard Ryan Jackson had 10 points, four rebounds and two steals, and 6-foot-8 junior forward Jabari Conway had 10 points and four rebounds.

BG sees its season end at 14-11, while Northview, the Northern Lakes League champion and No. 4 ranked team in the final Associated Press Division I poll, takes it’s 23-1 record into the district finals.

“It was a great year. A lot of things happened, a lot of adversity, and stuff like that,” BG coach Mason Roth said.

“I’m proud of the guys. You never want to lose a tournament game, but we weren’t really expecting to be here,” Roth continued.

“Like I told the guys, ‘You know, we’ll just come out, play, execute and we’ll see what happens.’”

BG opened the tournament with two wins over Ohio Cardinal Conference teams, defeating Mansfield Madison (55-45) and Ashland (69-53). The Bobcats were hoping the magic might continue against the Wildcats.

Early on, everything seemed to be falling in place for that to happen as the Wildcats missed their first seven shots and only had one first quarter field goal — a three-pointer by Biggs almost four minutes into the game.

BG junior guard Brock Hastings scored with two minutes remaining and senior guard Isaiah Cook scored on a dish from Hastings with 30 seconds left as the Bobcats scored the final two goals of the opening stanza to grab a six-point lead.

“The first quarter we really executed our plan,” Roth said. “Our best hope was they missed a lot of shots and we rebounded. They did that in the first quarter and then (after that) we just didn’t rebound.”

Northview coach Jeremy McDonald had seen his team start that way before, so he was not overly concerned yet.

“Four out of our last five games we got off to a rugged start, so it’s not uncharted territory. It’s certainly not where you want to be,” McDonald said.

Northview opened the second quarter on a 19-3 run by controlling the glass. The Wildcats outrebounded the Bobcats 14-2 in the second stanza and finished the game with a 40-17 advantage.

That included 17 offensive rebounds, leading to over 30 second chance points by Northview.

“They do a great job of crashing the offensive glass,” Roth said. “It makes it hard, and we started turning it over in the second quarter and when you don’t take good shots against these guys, you are really in trouble.

“Give credit to Northview — that is why they are really good. They don’t lose many games because of that,” Roth added.

In the middle two quarters, Northview outscored BG 49-22 and midway through the fourth quarter the Wildcats had a 35-point lead and a running clock.

To McDonald, it appeared that the gas in BG’s tank had gone empty after their wins over Ashland and Mansfield Madison.

“They have had a tough stretch of games the past two weeks and they played really well down the stretch,” McDonald said.

“Maybe they ran out of gas a little bit and maybe they were a little pressured — that was advantage to us,” McDonald continued. “We did a great job of attacking the basket the last three quarters.”

The Bobcats, known for their success shooting behind the arc in wins this season, hit just four treys and shot 30% (13-for-44) from the floor, made 9-of-10 free throws and had 15 turnovers.

For BG, Hastings had seven points and two steals and sophomore guard Jake Amspoker scored six points.

Senior guard Zach Furnas scored three points and Cook and sophomore forward Ahmir Ruffin scored two points apiece for the Bobcats.

Northview shot 52% (29-for-56) from the field, made 12-of-13 free throws and had 11 turnovers.

Senior wing Grant Kopan had 11 points and four rebounds and senior guard Braden Tackett had two points and six rebounds.

Sophomore wing Drew Barnesky, senior wing Alex Prymas and sophomore guard Jackson Clausius scored two apiece for the Wildcats.