KENTON — Defiance continued its unbeaten start to the Western Buckeye League slate, but tested the anxiety levels of the Bulldog faithful with a 56-54 overtime nailbiter of a win at Kenton on Thursday.

The charity stripe was the difference maker for the Bulldogs (7-3, 4-0 WBL), which moved into a tie for first place in the league standings with Ottawa-Glandorf after losses by Lima Bath (to O-G) and Celina (to Elida) on Thursday.

Defiance converted all 14 of its points in the overtime at the free throw line, including six from senior Tammy Aguilera in an eight-point effort.

“We had the lead for most of the game and for us to battle and keep it tight and send it into overtime was good to see,” said Defiance coach Rafael Manriquez. “It’s basically our second game in two and a half weeks so we’re still trying to get in the flow.”

“It’s an area we’ve continued to grow in,” added Manriquez of the effort from the line, which saw the Bulldogs convert 19 makes from the charity stripe. “Even Tammy as a sophomore, she struggled from the line and it’s something she’s worked hard on.”

Carlee Smiddy paced the effort for the Bulldogs with 20 points while Raelle Gonzales chipped in 10.

Lindsey Smith’s 16 points paced Kenton (4-6, 0-4 WBL) while Sidney Plott and Kaylin Hildreth added 15 and 10 markers, respectively.

Defiance will return to action Thursday, Jan. 16 on the road for a league clash with Elida.

DEFIANCE (56) — Moats 2; Shirk 3; Schlatter 4; Aguilera 8; Black 2; McKenzie 7; Gonzales 10; Smiddy 20. Totals 18-19-56.

KENTON (54) — Plott 15; Holland 4; Bays 1; Hildreth 10; Harpel 6; Smith 16; Manns 2. Totals 21-6-54.

Three-point goals: Defiance — Shirk. Kenton — Plott 2, Hildreth 2, Harpel 2. Rebounds: Defiance 28. Turnovers: Defiance 10.

Defiance 16 8 8 10 14 — 56

Kenton 12 5 10 15 12 — 54

Reserves: Defiance, 39-26.

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