It was a victorious effort for the Van Meter girls’ basketball team Thursday night as the team bested non-conference foe Winterset at home 60-23.
It was the fourth highest scoring total and fourth fewest points given up for the Bulldogs in a contest that head coach Jay Olson described as an all around win.
“In the past few games while we did skate away with wins, I felt we didn’t play the way we should either offensively or defensively,” began Olson. “Tonight however, we played sound basketball on both sides of the court and it showed in the win.”
It all started with a phenomenal first half including their second shutout quarter of the season defensively as Van Meter took to the second quarter up 13-0. It took all the way until the 3:50 mark in the second quarter before the Bulldogs would allow their first points of the night and eventually their second lowest first half point total given up on the season. Both teams marched into the halftime break with a resounding Bulldog advantage 24-6.
The scoring intensified in the third quarter for the highest scoring quarter of the night from both teams in a 22-14 quarter led by the Bulldogs. Ultimately, Van Meter held efficient overall shooting on the night including 11-of-23 from three point range which aided in that 22 point third quarter, something coach Olson spoke about after the game.
“We really found our shots tonight and didn’t try and force something that wasn’t there,”said Olson. “It’s easy for a team to try and create something that’s not there but we established ourselves down low and then took what the defense gave us on the perimeter and just connected on shots with great form.”
That then led to a 14-3 fourth quarter run to round out the team’s 11th victory of the season.
As a team Van Meter shot 47 percent from field goal range to go along wit that 48 percent mark from three point range. As is the case in every contest, the Bulldogs provided great hustle and energy but this time it led to even more offensive opportunities and a total of seven second chance points on the night. A portion of those second half points came from the likes of sharp shooter Clair Lauterbach who talked about the intensity from Van Meter on the night.
“Just as we do going into every game, we knew we had to put in 110 percent effort if we were going to beat Winterset tonight,” began Lauterbach. “The thing about basketball is that any team can be beaten on any given night. We kept the pressure on Winterset tonight and forced them to make mistakes on both sides of the ball and we kept up that intensity all game long which put them off balance all night.”
Lauterbach herself posted 19 total points on the night courtesy of 7-of-13 two point shooting and four-of-eight from three point range. The leading scorer on the night for Van Meter was senior Emily Roberts who posted up a season high 21 points on seven-of-twelve from field goal range and a mark of five-of-eight from beyond the three point arc. Roberts also went two-for-two from the free throw line while also adding on one assist on the night. For the fifth time this season, the Bulldog girls saw three players score in double figures and Thursday night, that third double digit scorer was Natalie Barth. The junior battled down low despite a size disadvantage and connected on 11 points from three-of-five field goal shooting and a mark of five-of-seven from the free throw line.
“We practiced finding the proper shot under pressure and we really worked on our fundamentals in shooting this week which I feel really paid off tonight,” said Clair Lauterbach. “We also did a good job of getting the ball to Natalie and others in the paint which in turn provided other scoring opportunities as well.”
Along with a strong shooting night, the Bulldogs collected 31 rebounds on the night to win the battle of the boards 31-19.
The win continues Van Meter’s winning streak to now five straight games with a six win mark over the past seven total games. Their record now stands at 11-2 overall and a perfect 4-0 in non-conference play. The Bulldog girls will resume their season on Friday, January 18 when they travel to Earlham High School for a conference battle beginning at 5 p.m.