Bowling Green hit first, and by the time Maumee figured out who hit them, the Bobcats were rolling to a 55-34 victory over the visiting Panthers in both team’s Northern Lakes League opener Tuesday.

The Bobcats’ press forced 15 first quarter turnovers, including 13 steals, and the onslaught continued into the second quarter as the Bobcats led 30-5 with 4:20 remaining in the first half.

“We talk a lot about at the beginning of the game making sure we came out and throw the first punch,” BG coach Alexis Rogers said.

“So many times, the other team wants to fight back after they’ve already been hit, so we talked about hitting first and going out there and making a statement.

“It’s nice to get a win early in the season, and a first quarter like that gives you a lot of confidence going into the game,” continued Rogers, who saw her team improve to 1-1.

BG sophomore guard Lola Thompson led the Bobcats with 14 points, freshman guard Madi Cowan had 12 points and three steals and senior forward Mackenna Fry scored 11 points.

“This is our first home game, and we had a little bit of a crowd tonight, and that was exciting for the girls, and they definitely came out and made a statement,” Rogers said.

The Bobcats started no seniors, so one senior, junior forward Shayle Greiner, who contributed four points and four steals off the bench, loved playing that up-tempo pressure in the first quarter.

“It was really fun and I’m glad that we pulled through and got the win. It was our press, and we just like to hustle,” Greiner said.

Plus, Greiner was impressed by the play of the Bobcats’ lone freshman starter, Cowan.

“I think Madi had a really good game today. She put up a lot of points, she did a lot of nice work, and she really hustled a lot after the ball,” Greiner said.

It was also the defensive play of junior guard CeCe Marovich, who did not score but had six steals, and sophomore guard Macyn Dean-Scheele, who had two points and five steals, that made the Bobcats’ transition game work.

Eventually the Panthers settled down and began trimming away at the lead, cutting it to 13, 34-21, after Maumee junior Evelynn Schneider scored in the paint on an inbound pass with 3:15 remaining in the third.

Once down by 25, it started to look as if the Panthers had the time and the energy to make a close game out of it before all was said and done. Rogers said she saw her girls relax a little too much.

“I think we have to find a second speed and we have to stay there,” Rogers said. “We don’t have the consistency we had coming out, but they got tired in the third quarter.

“I think we have a long way to go to get in shape, but they did a lot of nice things tonight.”

Because the Bobcats forced 33 turnovers by game’s end, BG had 26 more shots from the field, making 22 of 58 field goals (38%), while the Panthers hit on 13 of 32 (41%).

The Bobcats also committed 20 turnovers, and out rebounded Maumee by a narrow 36-34 count. BG was 8-for-15 from the free line, Maumee was 2-for-4.

The Panthers were led by freshman Lucy Porter, who scored 12 points and had six steals and five rebounds.

Maumee senior Jessica Roper scored seven and sophomore Hannah Binckowski had nine rebounds to go with her two points.

Maumee coach Rafael Soler was pleased to see the fight in his team, even after falling behind by 25 points. The Panthers are winless in two games.

“This is a team that I’m never going to question their fight,” Soler said. “They love to play with each other, and they are doing it for each other. They are fighting and they are continuing to keep working.

“You can’t spot a team that many points and then decide to start playing from there. That was the main thing today is that we are capable, but we just have to start from beginning to end.”

MAUMEE (34)

Lilly Duling 1-0-4; Lucy Porter 5-1-12; Evelynn Schneider 2-0-4; Jessica Roper 3-1-7; Taylor Westrick 1-0-2; Skyelar Warncke 1-0-3; Totals 13-2-34

BOWLING GREEN (55)

Lola Thompson 5-4-14; Madi Cowan 5-0-12; Jamie Sayen 2-1-5; Shayle Greiner 2-0-4; Mackenna Fry 5-0-11; Macyn Dean-Scheele 1-0-2; Sydney Mass 1-0-2; Makenzie Lucas 1-0-2; Jayla Parker 0-3-3; Totals 22-8-55.

Maumee 4 10 9 11 - 34

Bowling Green 20 12 6 17 - 55

3 pt. goals—Maumee – Porter, Duling, Warncke; BG – Cowan (2), Fry. Rebounds—BG 36, Maumee 34. Turnovers—Maumee 33, BG 20. JV—Maumee 29, BG 15

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