Bowling Green girls basketball opened the season with nine straight losses, but on Saturday the Bobcats won their third straight, defeating visiting Eastwood, 41-34, to improve to 3-9.
Three of the losses were by single digits, so it only seemed a matter of time before the Bobcats would get over the hump.
The other two wins were over Maumee and Otsego, two teams that also do not have a lot of wins, but BG first-year coach Jake Vanneman says there is more to the streak than playing a weak schedule.
“I think it’s partly schedule, but I also think they are starting to realize they can compete with teams and they are taking care of the basketball and making their minutes count,” Vanneman said.
The Bobcats had a slight height advantage, so they used that to their advantage as 5-foot-9 senior post Jamie Sayen had 13 points and six rebounds, 5-8 junior Allison Fry had five points and 10 rebounds, and 5-8 senior post Shayle Greiner had seven points and eight rebounds.
“Offensively, we were able to get the ball into the low post,” Vanneman said. “We knew we had a mismatch in the size, and we just had to continue to feed our post.
“That was part of our focus today was making sure we run our offense through our post, and we did a nice job of crashing the boards.”
Sayen says she welcomed the opportunity to get the ball in the paint.
“We’ve been really pushing each other, and we’ve been working on the little things, passing into the post, working with our guards, and finishing,” Sayen said.
“I like that we’re looking into the post and even when the post isn’t there, we are able to kick it back out and our shooters are able to knock it down.”
BG controlled the glass by a 42-24 count, but the Eagles used defensive pressure to keep the game close, resulting in seven lead changes.
Eastwood opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run as junior Kayla Buehler scored in the paint to put the Eagles up, 34-32, with 4:20 remaining. It was one of several runs the Eagles put together that always seemed to fizzle out.
“I think their post game gave us a little trouble in the beginning but I think we adjusted well in the second half,” Eastwood coach Brittany Butler said.
“We had some really good scoring spurts there where we looked tough and there were other times where we just got defeated,” Butler continued.
Buehler’s score was Eastwood’s last points of the game, but BG did not put points on the board in the fourth stanza until 6:35 had passed.
Fry scored on an offensive rebound and putback with 1:25 remaining to knot the game at 34-all, and 15 seconds later junior guard Lola Thompson hit a baseline three-pointer to give the Bobcats the lead for good, 37-34.
Lola Thompson’s triple ultimately became the winning shot and the backbreaker for the Eagles.
“That was exciting,” Sayen said. “We were looking for her to make a play and she was able to knock it down.”
Senior guard Londyn Thompson hit four of six free throws in the final 38 seconds to put the game away.
Lola Thompson finished with seven points, six rebounds, and five steals, Londyn Thompson had six points and four steals, and senior guard Sydney Maas had three points, four rebounds and four steals.
Londyn Thompson also had the task of guarding Buehler, who was held to 11 points.
“Londyn is one of our most tenacious defenders and Buehler is one of their best offensive players,” Vanneman said. “So, I knew that she gave us our best chance to get the win today and she did a great job.”
The Bobcats shot 28% (13-for-47) from the field, made 11-of-20 free throws, while Eastwood shot 36% (14-for-39) from the floor and made 6-of-12 free throws.
The two teams combined for 38 turnovers — 22 by BG and 16 by Eastwood, which falls to 7-8.
Even though BG had six more turnovers, Eastwood coach Brittany Butler said BG’s offensive rebounds were too much to overcome. She said that mattered more than what happened in the closing minutes.
“When you’re in a game like that, it seems like it comes down to that last two minutes but really it’s everything that happened in the minutes prior to that,” Butler said.
“We gave up 16 offensive boards that killed us, we had 16 turnovers, so when you look at those numbers it’s hard to get a win with those.”
Eastwood junior Paige Hoodlebrink had eight points and six rebounds, junior Saylor King had seven points, five rebounds and five steals, junior Amelia Ward had five points and three steals, and senior Grace Kingery had three points and three steals.