BASKETBALL: Wildcats await Wapak
If Wapakoneta’s matchup against Bath is anything like the last two, you might want to plan ahead.
This one could get late.
The past three Redskins/Wildcats contests have gone to overtime, with Bath ultimately prevailing in each.
So when the Wildcats (5-3, 0-1 WBL) come to Wapakoneta High School for a Western Buckeye League varsity boys basketball contest on Friday, it should be interesting.
“I would expect a close, physical, hard-fought battle,” Redskins varsity coach Matt Bradley said. “Hopefully we can stop that trend of Bath winning close games against us.
“With that being said, we know they’re a very solid basketball team. They’re LCC’s one loss. They just won on the road at Columbus Grove their last game. So we know they can play. We know we’ve got our work cut out for us. We can’t afford to score seven points over a span of two quarters [like we did against Marion Local] and expect to beat Bath.”
Senior Brad Davis, a four-year starter and the son of Wildcats coach Doug Davis, leads Bath.
“He is a phenomenal perimeter shooter,” Bradley said. “And they’ve surrounded him with some really good pieces. They’ve got, at any time, four guys on the floor that can really knock down perimeter jumpers.”
Complementing Brad Davis are twin brothers Logan and Connor Rockhold and sophomore Taren Sullivan, who scored 28 points in a game earlier this season.
Nate Hefner and Keaton Sullivan anchor the inside.
Wapak has shown signs of consistent improvement this season over past seasons.
In the Redskins WBL opener, they fought back from a 20-point deficit to close with five before succumbing to league-favorite Elida, 46-41.
The next night they battled a tough St. Henry squad and suffered a narrow 59-57 loss. Both games were on the road.
After a tough 62-45 loss to LCC, a game which was a one-point game until a scary injury to Kaleb Vondenhuevel changed the mood of the contest, the Redskins bounced back to knock off Marion Local 39-35.
Vondenhuevel was cleared Wednesday to return to practice and will be in the lineup on Friday.
In the win over Marion Local, senior guard Andy Faller scored five points in a nine-point fourth-quarter rally as Wapak came from behind for the win.
“What I think you saw was senior Andy Faller, who is realizing this is his last go-around, and Andy is one of the most competitive people that we have in our program,” Bradley said. “I think he realized, because he is more of a distributor and he relishes that role, but I think he realized that nobody was stepping up and scoring.
“He knew we needed a shot in the arm and he did that for us.”
But the Redskins aren’t done, says Bradley.
“I think the sign that our program is progressing is that I don’t think they were satisfied with Friday night,” Bradley said. “I think they realize that we didn’t play well and were fortunate to get a win. We definitely haven’t settled.”
Junior Travis Bertram is leading Wapak in scoring at 17.0 points per game. He was held to four, however, in the win over Marion Local.
Jake Buzzard is next at 10.8 points per game. Buzzard leads Wapak in rebounding with 6.4 boards per contest.
Point guard Alex Greve leads in assists (3.4 per game), steals (1.9 per game) and is averaging 7.8 points per game.
JV tip-off is 6 p.m. Friday.