By Gary R. Rasberry
VAN WERT -- Nearly a month after the rest of the area started its season, the Coldwater boys basketball team made its 2005-06 debut.
It was worth the weight.
The Cavaliers took the lead for good midway through the third quarter and held on for the 49-46 win at the Cougar Den on Friday night, handing the Cougars its first loss of the season in five contests.
New Cavalier coach Mike Kanney continued his success against his former Western Buckeye League foe. Kanney was 7-2 against the Cougars while at Celina.
Kanney knew it would be a struggle. The players that were part of the state title team came in after a few days' rest and got to work. Kanney played 10 players in the game, knowing that the legs would get a little tired. "The kids have done a good job in the practices that we had," said Kanney. "The kids that didn't play football, like Mike Lefeld, Aaron Evers and Trent Brunswick, practiced a lot. I was real pleased with the effort we had tonight."
Kanney had his team put the pressure on the Cougars from the start. The Cavaliers' press and traps forced 18 Cougar turnovers in the game. The guard corps of Troy Siefring, Brady and Ryan Geier, Lefeld and Cory Klenke put the pressure on.
"They did what they had to do," said veteran Cougars coach Dave Froelich. "They were certainly more physical than we were. They took us out of our offense and rhythm."
But in the beginning, Van Wert had the hot hand. Jared Myers hit two big three-pointers early to help Van Wert lead 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Coldwater rebounded in the (Continued from page 6)
second, outscoring the Cougars 10-5 to take a 22-19 lead at the break. Six players were in the scoring column for the Cavs at the half.
The Cougars jumped back into the game at the start of the third quarter. Jordan Kline hit the offensive boards for two stickbacks and Myers hit back-to-back buckets to make it 27-24 with 4:35 left.
Coldwater rebounded quickly. Brian Brunswick hit a bucket and was fouled with 4:23 in the quarter to get to within one. Brunswick missed the free throw, but Coldwater got the rebound and Brunswick got the ball and the bucket to put Coldwater up for good at 28-27. After a turnover, Lefeld, launched a three-pointer and got it to drop to put Coldwater up 31-28. A Ryan Geier bucket almost two minutes later make it 33-27. The Cougars got to within one with a three-pointer from Kody Heppeard and a bucket from Chris Morrow but Lefeld and Trent Brunswick got buckets in the final 49 seconds to push the lead back to 37-32.
Van Wert stayed close in answering Coldwater's tries to push the lead up. The Cavaliers tried to put the game away after Brady Geier hit two free throws after Myers intentionally fouled him with 1:07 to go to make it 48-41. Kline scored on a rebound to get to within five and Myers used a screen at the top of the key to hit his third trey of the night to get to within two. Lefeld made a free throw with 25 seconds left to make it a three-point game. Van Wert had three tries at a tying bucket in the final seconds, but all three missed.
"Some things we would have liked to have done better down the stretch," said Kanney, "But that will come with time."
"Our guys made a good effort to try and get back into it," said Froelich.
Brian Brunswick and Brady Geier each had 12 to pace the Cavaliers. Nine of the 10 Cavaliers that saw playing time scored at least a point.
"It was a good team win for the first game," said Kanney. "Do we have things to work on? You betcha. Van Wert is a very good team. Coach Froelich does a good job with the kids. You always have to be ready for their shooters
Myers and Morrow each had 13 points to pace the Cougars.
Coldwater returns to action next Friday with a road trip to Lima Central Catholic.