Led by the Western Buckeye League’s most potent scorer, the Elida Bulldogs picked up a road victory over the Wapakoneta boys basketball team.
Elida’s Dakota Mathias led all scorers with 22 points Friday night, as the Bulldogs defeated the Redskins, 59-46.
“He’s a phenomenal player,” said Matt Bradley, Redskin varsity basketball coach. “He hit a few shots that just show what a great player he is. We held him to 22 points tonight, and I thought, for the most part, did a really good job on him.”
Mathias has scored 40 points on three separate occasions through the first five games.
While Mathias led the team in scoring and orchestrated the offense, Bradley said the difference in the game was Ebin Stratton. Stratton had 12 points on the night, and really did an exceptional job taking away the inside play of the Redskins.
“Stratton just had the mindset that tonight he was going to own the paint,” Bradley said. “That’s something that we are priding ourselves in this season, is owning the paint, and Stratton completely took that away from us.”
Elida’s varsity coach Denny Thompson said Stratton brought the extra spark and intensity that was needed for Elida. Stratton sat out last week due to injury.
“Last week (when Stratton was injured) we got beat on the boards,” Thompson said. “To get him back and for him to play the way he did tonight is only going to step our team-play up. We’re going to battle much much better on the boards. That’s what he does, he brings energy.”
At the end of the third quarter, Wapakoneta found itself only trailing by three points. But Elida’s defensive intensity improved, and the Redskins were struggling to keep up with the scoring from Mathias.
“Yeah, Mathias hits two or three fade away jump shots, (but the problem in the fourth quarter) is that we can’t let the ball get into his hands in the first place. Credit to him. Nothing he did surprised us, he just made some big shots,” Bradley said. “Big time players make big time shots.
Thompson said that his team was able to hold onto the lead through defense and foul shots.
“They really took it to us early, and down the stretch we figured it out, especially in the fourth quarter,” Thompson said. “We stepped it up. Our defense and free throws. That was the difference.”
Offensively, the Redskins were led by senior guard Alex Greve. Greve had 17 points, including a 4-of-4 night at the free-throw line.
Jake Buzzard gave the Redskins 15 points, but scored only one point in the final period.
“Obviously teams know about (Travis) Bertram, Buzzard and Greve. We need to work on option four, five, six and seven,” Bradley said.
Kodi Morgan and Brandon Erb gave the Redskins some scoring tonight, adding six and three points, respectively.
“Brandon Erb knows his role, to come in and knock down perimeter shots,” Bradley said. “Through some injuries and through work on his part he’s worked himself into the rotation and he’s playing significant minutes for us.”
Only five players scored for the Redskins Friday night. Travis Bertram rounded out the Redskin scoring with five points of his own.
“They had a great plan to stop us defensively,” Bradley said.
An interesting note, however, is that every player who scored for the Redskins hit a 3-pointer at some point.
Elida’s JV defeated the Redskins, 36-31 in overtime.
Wapakoneta falls to 3-2 (0-1 WBL), and prepares for a game tonight as it hosts St. Henry. JV tip off at 6 p.m., varsity around 7:30 p.m.
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