BASKETBALL: Fourth-quarter drought dooms Wapak
One-by-one the shots rimmed out, clanged off and missed their mark.
And one-by-one, so did the Redskins’ hopes.
A dismal fourth-quarter shooting performance doomed Wapakoneta in a 51-43 loss to the Celina Bulldogs in a Western Buckeye League varsity girls basketball game Thursday at Wapakoneta High School.
Wapak fell to 5-5 overall and 2-2 in the WBL. Celina is 8-3 and 3-1.
Sara Warner’s transition layup at the 6:50 mark was Wapak’s only field goal in the fourth quarter as the Redskins shot a paltry 1-of-13 (7.7 percent) from the floor.
Things weren’t much better from the free throw line where the Redskins were just 3-for-10.
“The frustrating part is we had looks,” Wapak coach Rusty Allen said. “We had some shots around the bucket. We had some open looks from three. It just felt like there was a lid on the basket there in the fourth quarter. ...
“We had some girls miss some free throws who are typically solid at the line. We just had some things that were not working for us in our favor down the stretch. I thought the effort was there. Unfortunately the baskets weren’t rolling.”
In spite of its shooting struggles, Wapak was still in the game until the final moments.
The Redskins trailed by two, 44-42, when Celina coach Brian Stetler called a timeout with 2:35 to play. From there, the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to take a 51-42 lead with 41 seconds to play.
Junior Taylor Guingrich scoring five of the seven points in the run, including a layup behind the Redskins defensive pressure that proved to be the back-breaker.
“That says a lot for our team because Wapak has a lot of nice players,” Stetler said. “They can shoot the ball. But our girls did a nice job of fighting off that run that they had.
“We didn’t drop our heads. We changed defenses a little bit. We adjusted little things.”
The game featured multiple swings.
Celina jumped out to an early 12-4 lead midway through the first quarter and led 25-15 at the 4:00 mark of the second.
But Wapak seniors Mallory McDevitt and Tasha Helmstetter combined for 10 points and junior Amy Hume added a bucket as the Redskins closed out the half with a 12-2 run.
Helmstetter’s 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining tied the score at 27-all heading into the break.
The Wapak push continued into the third quarter. Juniors Nicole Brown and Annie Henderson each knocked down a three and Helmstetter chipped in a basket off a turnover to lead the Redskins to a 35-29 lead with 4:28 left in the quarter.
This time it was Celina responding with an 11-3 run to close out the quarter with a 40-38 lead.
“Physically, we were OK,” Allen said. “But I think sometimes mentally we’re not focused for the 32 minutes that we need to be. I think sometimes we have players take plays off. And we can’t have that happen, not at this level.”
Heiby led all scorers with 15 points. Katie Stahl added 10 for the Bulldogs and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.
Senior Courtney Knippen recorded a double-double, leading Wapak with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Helmstetter finished with nine points. Henderson, McDevitt and Sara Warner added six apiece.
Wapak won the junior varsity game 45-35.
Megan Watt led the Redskins with 12 points. Carly Buzzard added 10.