Wapakoneta Redskins junior Carly Buzzard (22), right, defends Elida Bulldogs sophomore Bailey Kuhn (44) in a Division II girls basketball sectional championship game Saturday at Spencerville High School. (Staff photo/Brad Frank)
SPENCERVILLE — The Wapakoneta Redskins held the Elida Bulldogs scoreless in the second period Saturday, the impact from which could be felt the rest of the game.
The Redskins went from a 10-6 first-period lead to a 23-6 advantage at halftime.
Not only did the shutout in that period allow the Redskins to build their lead before halftime but it gave them the benefit of the game’s time being on their side, too.
Wapak’s lead hovered between 15 and 20 points for much of the second half, never having it threatened by Elida.
The shutout helped Wapakoneta en route to its 48-24 win Saturday in a Division II girls basketball sectional championship at Spencerville High School.
“It was huge for us,” Redskins coach Rusty Allen said. “To have them (his players) coming into halftime with that much confidence, saying ‘we were able to shut a team completely out in the second’ really gave us some momentum going into the second half.
“That was one thing we wanted to make sure we continue, to put pressure on them.”
Wapak first pushed its lead to double digits early in the second period when senior Karli Schneider hit the second of back-to-back 3-pointers, giving Wapak a 16-6 advantage.
The Redskins closed the first half on a 16-0 run after leading 7-6.
Allen described the feeling of winning the sectional championship.
“It’s great. It’s a goal you set to have at the beginning of season,” he said. “I’m happy for the girls. They’ve put in a lot of time and work to get to this point.
“As a coach, sometimes you don’t get to savor it as long as you want, because now we’re already starting to think about the next opponent. We’re going to enjoy it. We’ll get back to work (today). It’s back to business I guess.”
Sara Warner paced Wapak with 12 points. Schneider added 10 off of the bench. Maddi Stiles scored seven.
“Maddi did a great job (Saturday),” Allen said. “She sometimes doesn’t show up in the boxscore in terms of points. She did a nice job of controlling the tempo for us, running when we had the opportunity and slowing it when we had to slow it down. Karli came off the bench and hit a couple huge 3s. Warner continued to roll like she does.
“It was an outstanding effort by everybody. You could list everyone and say what they each individually did. They did what they needed to do.”
Perhaps the only misstep Saturday by the Redskins was their free-throw shooting, as the team combined to go 9 of 20 for 45 percent.
The Bulldogs shot 4 of 9 (44 percent) from the foul line.
Nine different players accounted for Elida’s 24 points Saturday.
The Bulldogs were led by Sabrina Klima’s five points.
Saturday’s game was Wapak’s first since Feb. 13, a 48-40 loss to Van Wert in the regular season finale.
The Redskins had eight full days off after that game until Saturday’s game.
Allen explained how his team managed the extended layoff.
“The season is so long. You’re playing 22 games. You try to preserve your legs as long as you can,” the coach said. “Having those 10 days allowed us to do that a little bit more. We’d give them a light night practice and go hard the next. We were able to do that routine all the way up until tonight.
“It was beneficial to us, but you worry that it might have been too much time and come out flat, but we didn’t.”
Wapak will continue its postseason in a Division II district semifinal at 8 p.m. Thursday at Paulding High School against the Napoleon Wildcats, who beat Van Wert, the top seed at the Hicksville sectional, on Saturday, 29-26.
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