SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — For a good eight minutes, Shawnee did exactly what it wanted to do.
Then it happened.
Bath got its perimeter shooting going, and its defensive pressure wreaked havoc, en route to a 48-31 Western Buckeye League victory over Shawnee in girls basketball action at Lappin Gymnasium Thursday night.
Bath’s Jaidyn Hale connected six times behind the 3-point line, ending the game with 23 points. Hale, a 5-foot-8 junior guard, was 8-of-10 shooting on the night. She also came up with six steals at the defensive end. Teammate Bailey Dackin had seven points, six rebounds and three steals.
Alissa Stahler led Shawnee (5-14, 0-8 WBL) with 11 points and six rebounds.
Bath’s defensive pressure helped cause 21 Shawnee turnovers.
After Bath (13-7, 6-2 WBL) came away with a 10-9 lead by the end of a hard-fought first quarter, the game quickly changed.
In the second quarter, Hale scored 14 of her points, on 5-of-5 shooting from the field. By the halftime break, Bath’s lead had ballooned to 31-15.
By the third stop, Bath’s lead was 41-22. Its largest lead of the game was 23.
“We got a really nice game out of Jaidyn Hale tonight,” longtime Bath coach Greg Mauk said. “Offensively, when she’s got that mindset, she can do a lot of good things for us.
“But, I thought our defensive intensity in the full-court was the key. I thought we really got after them and bothered them a little bit, and forced them into a different mode, because they came out right away and was aggressive and was doing things. I thought our full-court defense was a factor.”
In the second half, Shawnee settled down. Bath outscored Shawnee 17-16 in the final 16 minutes of action.
“We worked hard on locating the shooters,” longtime Shawnee coach Jeff Heistan said. “We thought we couldn’t stop everybody on their team, because they’re a pretty good basketball team. We worked hard on trying to stop the 3-point shooters.
“But, we just let Hale go. We let her get too much offense. And when we dig that deep of a hole, we have no margin of error. We couldn’t overcome that (big deficit). But, I thought in the first quarter, we played tremendous. I thought we did exactly what we sought out to do. Then, for some reason, in the second quarter, we lost it. We weren’t able to maintain the same intensity and passion that we had in the first quarter.”
For the game, Bath shot 41 percent from the field. Shawnee countered with 29-percent shooting from the floor.
In the history between the two girls programs, Bath has now won the last 58 meetings with Shawnee.
Added Mauk, “We did a good job of attacking the rim. (Shawnee coach) Jeff (Heistan) runs a great zone. His zone defense is solid. They are good at it. I thought, tonight, we did a good job of getting the ball into the high post. When that zone collapsed, we kicked it out to the shooters. We had not done that in the past. We have not attacked that zone very well in the past. And we were good in our zone offense, as well.”