By Gary R. Rasberry
COLDWATER -- A quick start spurred on by forcing turnovers allowed Fort Recovery to improve to 2-0 in the Midwest Athletic Conference with a 52-41 win over Coldwater on Thursday at the Palace.
The victory extends the Indians' win streak to three and puts them at 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the MAC. The loss snaps the Cavaliers' three-game season-opening winning streak and drops to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in league play.
Fort Recovery's pressure defense in the opening moments of the game set the pace for the Indians. The Indians jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the opening 31/2 minutes and forced five turnovers on the Cavaliers.
"We felt like if we could go after them early and have some success, that it might turn out to be important to us," said Tribe coach Jeff Roessner. "We got some good pressure early and forced them into some turnovers."
"I think they got us back on our heels a little bit," said Coldwater coach Nick Fisher. "We've been playing pretty well. We got off to a slow start." Despite the early woes, the Cavaliers came back and made a game of it. Some timely shooting from Kendra Robbins and Kelly Obringer got the Cavaliers to within 25-21 with 1:39 left in the first half, but Kelsie Will hit three buckets, her only three of the game, in the final 84 seconds to push the lead to 31-21 at halftime.
"Isn't that what you would like to see?" said Roessner with a grin. "It was really key for her to do that. Kelsie's a great shooter when she has the chance to shoot it."
For the rest of the game, Coldwater stayed within 10 points, but the Indians were able to keep the cushion far enough never to be seriously threatened. Post players Krystal Rammel and Tiff Gaerke were able to get decent short shots much of the evening as the pair combined to go 10-of-23. Gaerke posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds while Rammel led all scorers with 14.
Coldwater suffered through a shooting slump, making just 31.9 percent of the shots after connecting on just 6-of-23 in the first 16 minutes of action.
"We battled back and got it going," said Fisher, "But that slow start hurt us.
"We just had to keep shooting. To their credit, Fort Recovery came out, got out to a great start and had us on our heels," added Fisher.
The Indians shot a solid 56.5 percent from the field in the opening half and just slightly cooled down in the second, finishing the night with a 44.9 field goal percentage, something that elated Roessner.
"That's the best we've shot this season by far," said Roessner. "The key for us was the play of Krystal Rammel. She really played hard on the boards and got some key buckets for us throughout the game."
The Cavaliers were led by sophomore Kendra Robbins. Robbins was 6-of-12 from the floor for 13 points and seven rebounds.
Both teams play Western Buckeye League schools on Saturday. Fort Recovery travels to Wapakoneta to face the Redskins while Coldwater travels to Bath to face the Wildkittens.