Fifteen minutes after the conclusion of the Wapakoneta Redskinsâ 56-42 loss to the Marion Local Flyers on Tuesday night, Redskins varsity girls basketball coach Rusty Allen still hadnât emerged from the home lockerroom.
Once he did, Allen knew what the first question was going to be.
âIt was the call,â Allen said.
âThe callâ was what Allen would later describe as a âphantom chargeâ against senior guard Tasha Helmstetter.
With Wapak rallying and the Flyers clinging to a 47-42 lead late in the fourth quarter, Helmstetter grabbed a Marion Local turnover and led a 2-on-1 fast break to other end.
At the last second, the Marion Local defender stepped in front of Helmstetter, whose layup appeared to cut the Flyer lead to three.
But Helmstetter was whistled for a charge and the basket was waived off.
Allen erupted from the Wapak bench as a chorus of âboosâ rained down on the court.
The official warned Allen, âThatâs enough of that,â before hitting him with a technical foul.
Marion Localâs Margaret Wuebker made both free throws and Brooke Winner added a basket on the ensuing possession.
Wapak would not score again as the Flyers rattled off nine unanswered points to close out the contest.
âI donât normally blame things on the officials,â Allen said. âI think theyâre pretty fair. Youâre always going to have a call here and there that you disagree with. But I donât know that Iâve ever seen a call that Iâm going to disagree with more than that call.
âIt just took the wind out of our sails. ... We werenât shooting the ball real well. We were doing everything we could in that second half to try to get back in that game. Then to have a call made like that, which I think was very questionable, then to not listen to my side of the story, I think even compounded the whole incident.
âIâll be frank. I didnât say anything Iâve never said to officials that I wouldnât say to my own kids in the house. It wasnât like anything vulgar came out of my mouth. But it is what it is and youâve still got to play the game.â
Wapak had to claw its way from behind after an abysmal first quarter in which it connected on just 2-of-17 shot attempts as the Flyers pulled out to a 13-4 advantage.
âWe were getting good looks,â Allen said. âIt think sometimes we were maybe rushing our shot a little bit, because they (Marion Local) are a little bit bigger. Getting a hand in our face might have distracted us a little bit more than what we originally thought.â
Said Marion Local coach Treva Fortkamp, âWe tried to utilize that (height advantage). Give them credit. They didnât quit.â
Marion Localâs lead fluctuated anywhere from seven to 16 points over the next two quarters. Four times Wapak cut the lead to single digits. And each time the Flyers responded to stretch the margin again.
Junior guard Nicole Brown led Wapak with 12 points on 4-of-6 from the three-point line. Wapak had success getting her open using a double screen at the top of the key.
âAfter the third time, we told them at halftime what to do,â Fortkamp said. âAnd I donât know, sometimes they donât listen. But we got two blocks right after that and got a distraction. Brown just was killing us at that spot.â
The Redskins finally hit their stride in the fourth quarter, slicing Marion Localâs lead from 43-30 to start the quarter to 47-42 with just more than two minutes to play before the charge and subsequent technical foul.
âWe knew we were capable of making that run,â Allen said. âIt was just a matter of, OK, when are we going to make that extra stop to get it within four or five. We got it within five, Tasha got the steal and took it down. It looked like she (the defender) was underneath the basket when she took the charge â or âphantom charge.â
âYou canât blame it on just that call. But that was a huge momentum swing.â
Marion Local improved to 5-1. Wapak fell to 4-3.
The Redskins are off until Thursday, Jan. 5 when they travel to Bath to take on the Wildcats.
In the JV contest, Wapak broke a 29-29 tie in the fourth quarter and pulled away for a 38-31 win.
Karli Schneiderâs 3-pointer with three minutes to play started the Redskinsâ run. And Freshman Sarah Horman knocked down back-to-back jumpers to keep the rally going.
Freshman Megan Watt led Wapak with 13 points.
Horman added eight points. Freshman Lea Stoner chipped in seven. And Schneider scored six.
Marion Local 56, Wapak 42
Score by quarters:
Quarter 1 2 3 4 - F
Marion L. 13 17 13 13 - 56
Wapak 4 16 10 12 - 52
Ashley Wilker 0-0-0, Leah Puthoff 0-0-0, Allie Thobe 3-1-7, Megan Kuether 4-2-11, Margaret Wuebker 4-3-12, Darian Bergman 1-0-2, Brooke Winner 3-1-7, Chelsea Winner 4-2-11, Megan Seitz 3-0-6; Totals 22-9-56.
Annie Henderson 2-0-5, Amy Hume 0-0-0, Nicole Brown 4-0-12, Sara Warner 3-0-8, Mallory McDevitt 3-0-6, Tasha Helmstetter 1-0-2, Courtney Knippen 2-5-9 Carly Buzzard 0-0-0, Karli Schneider 0-0-0; Totals 15-5-42.
3-pointers: ML â Kuether 1, Wuebker 1, C. Winner 1; W â Brown 4, Warner 2, Henderson 1.
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Records: Marion Local 5-1; Wapakoneta 4-3.
JV score: Wapak, 38-31.