December 18, 2019 at 5:29 p.m.

Five in a row for 5-0

Patriots extend streak, remain perfect at home
Five in a row for 5-0
Five in a row for 5-0

By RAY COONEY
President, editor and publisher

After a slow start, the Patriots have strung together five straight wins to get above .500 for the first time this season.

And their latest victory extended their stretch of home perfection to five games.

Jay County High School’s girls basketball team never trailed Tuesday as it won 53-34 over the visiting Blackford Bruins.

The Patriots, who lost five of their first six games, are now 6-5 after consecutive victories over New Castle, Fort Recovery, Muncie Central, Adams Central and Blackford.

“It feels good,” said JCHS senior Hallie Fields. “At the beginning we were lacking a lot of confidence with being a young team and losing six seniors. We had to rebuild a lot. It feels good to be back up there having a winning record now.”

The Patriots, who are also 5-0 at home, took control early Tuesday as freshman Renna Schwieterman scored the game’s first four points and then assisted on an Izzy Rodgers 3-pointer for a 7-0 lead. Their advantage hovered around the 10-point mark before Schwieterman and Madison Dirksen dominated the early part of the fourth quarter.

With Jay County leading 42-29 after Fields scored the final hoop of the third quarter, Schwieterman drove to the basket for the opening points of the fourth. Dirksen followed with five consecutive points, including a three-point play, and then Schwieterman fought for back-to-back offensive rebounds before scoring on her third opportunity to make it 50-29.

“Overall I was proud of the efforts that we had on Renna. Dirksen as well,” said Blackford coach Mitch Waters, a 2002 JCHS graduate. “It was their secondary scorers that stepped up and hit a couple big threes mixed with a couple easy layups and it kind of got out of hand for us.”

Those came from Rodgers, who connected on a trio of 3-pointers and totaled 11 points, and Grace Saxman, who was 2-for-4 from long distance and scored eight points.

The loss was the second in three games for Blackford (7-5), which had won four in a row from Nov. 26 through Dec. 7.

“We knew coming into it Jay County was tough,” said Waters, who got 14 and 11 points, respectively, from freshmen Olivia Leas and Olivia Waters, his sister. “Obviously they play a great schedule. They were 5-5 coming in, but we knew they were a much better team than that.”

That tough schedule included early losses to Class 3A No. 2 Winchester (12-0), Woodlan (8-3) and Northeastern (10-2). Those games served as a learning experience for the Patriots.

The lesson?

“Just do your part, because if everybody does their own part then it will all come together,” said Fields, who had four points, two rebounds, one assist and one block against the Bruins. “Just do what you can do and don’t try to overdo it.”

In addition to her game-high 18 points, Schwieterman hauled in a career-best 15 rebounds and dished out four assists. Rodgers added six boards and three assists, and Dirksen also grabbed six rebounds.

Prior to the season, Comer noted that with a squad mostly lacking varsity experience it would be important to grow throughout the year.

At the mid-point of the season, so far, so good.

“To be honest, I’m really pleased with where we’re at,” he said. “The big thing with anybody is confidence. Everybody does better when they have confidence, and we’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.”



Junior varsity

Jay County dominated the second quarter and cruised to a 51-29 victory over the Bruins.

The Patriots (7-4) outscored Blackford 19-5 in the second quarter for a 17-point halftime lead. They extended the advantage to 22 in the third quarter and held that margin in the fourth.

Gabi Bilbrey scored all of her team-high 17 points for JCHS in the first half. Andrea Jutte had 15 points, 11 of which came after intermission, and Abbie Fields added eight.

Cayley Hodges’ nine points were a team-high for the Bruins. Brianna Stroble finished with seven points.
PORTLAND WEATHER

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