Perrysburg was the preseason pick to defend its Northern Lakes League girls basketball championship, and the Yellow Jackets are clearly living up to that assessment three games into the 2013-14 season.
Behind 13 points apiece from post players Sarah Baer and Allex Brown, a huge 49-20 rebounding advantage, and some solid shooting from beyond the 3-point arc, the Jackets (3-0, 3-0 NLL) cruised to a 62-36 victory Friday night over visiting Bowling Green.
“I like how we seem to play pretty free and easy and don’t seem tight,” said Perrysburg coach Todd Sims, whose team has reached the Division I regionals the past two seasons, and finished 23-2 (14-0 NLL) last year. “We shoot 3s when we’re open and, when we’re not, we throw the ball inside. We’re better when we’re an inside-out team, and I thought we played pretty well most of the game.”
Perrysburg did look a bit sluggish at the outset, trailing 6-5 midway in the first quarter.
The 3-point shooting of guard Abby Sattler served to loosen up the Bobcats’ defensive scheme, and turn the Jackets’ offensive valve wide open.
With Sattler (12 points) hitting three of her four 3-pointers during a nine-minute span late in the first half, Perrysburg closed the first quarter with an 11-2 surge, which grew to a 19-5 run after guard Lindy Long hit a shot from just inside the arc for a 24-11 Jackets lead midway in the second quarter.
“Abby Sattler hit some huge shots in the first half that really started to stretch their defense out,” Sims said. “That made it easier for us to get the ball inside.
“If we can stretch you out, we’re pretty good inside, and we shoot the ball pretty well. When you have to defend outside and inside, that’s pretty hard to do.”
By halftime, that run increased to 25-7, as the Yellow Jackets took a 30-13 halftime lead and never looked back.
“Everybody did a great job,” Baer said. “Our guards’ shots were just on today. At first we were trying to take it inside. But our guards kept making shots, so we kept kicking it out to them. They weren’t taking that away.”
Perrysburg was 25 of 50 from the field in the game, and cruised late despite committing 21 turnovers to 14 for BG.
If the Jackets’ perimeter shooting didn’t bury the Bobcats (3-2, 1-2), Perrysburg’s work on the boards certainly did.
Baer, who scored 11 of her 13 points after the break, pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds with a relentless effort in the lane. Kelsey Moore added seven rebounds for the Yellow Jackets.
“That’s one of our strengths,” Sims said of the board work. “We should be a very good rebounding team.”
Bowling Green was paced by 13 points from Livvy Dill, and Kendal Glandorff added eight for the Bobcats. BG’s top returning scorer, senior guard Hanna Williford (12.9 average last season) was held to three points, and did not get her first points until hitting two free throws with 1:07 left in the third quarter and BG down 43-21.
The Bobcats, who had trouble throughout creating solid scoring chances, were just 10 for 45 (22 percent) from the field in the game.
“We wanted to play a little slower to try to grind it out,” BG coach Jeff Nichols said. “We didn’t want to get into a game that was out of control. We’ve played them many times before and tried to press the pace a little bit, and it seems to always get away from us.
“Our goal was to be a little more disciplined and execute, and our kids did that pretty well. But every time we’d kind of get something going [Perrysburg] made a play or we made a mistake. Our kids battled, but they got the better of us.”