Wapakoneta Redskins senior Sara Warner (15) drives to the basket Saturday in a Division II girls basketball district final against the Bath Wildkittens in Paulding. (Staff photo/Brad Frank)
PAULDING — The Bath Wildkittens were prolific from 3-point range Saturday, especially Alyssa Manley, who hit all five of her first-half attempts.
The Wildkittens used the cushion they gained from their success with long-range shooting to keep the Wapakoneta Redskins away from the lead as they landed a 61-42 victory Saturday in a Division II girls basketball district final at Paulding High School.
Bath hit nine 3-pointers before halftime, while Manley scored 17 first-half points, all but two coming on 3-pointers.
The Wildkittens led by 11 points, 33-22, at halftime.
“We wanted to keep the ball out of Manley’s hands in the second half,” Redskins coach Rusty Allen said. “We did a great job of that. Unfortunately, they had other girls step up.”
Manley scored just two points in the second half with a bucket at 45 seconds left in the game, but Maddie Dackin took over scoring duties for Bath in the second half, scoring 15 of her 18 points after halftime.
Wapak’s lone push toward the lead came midway through the third period as the Redskins closed their deficit to seven points, 39-32, but Bath responded with seven straight points to take control of the game.
The Wildkittens made 12 of 21 3-pointers in total.
“Obviously, a team that shoots that well from the outside, you just shake your head,” Allen said. “I thought we played pretty good defense. It wasn’t breakdowns or anything like that. A couple of those 3s were pretty deep.
“I thought we, offensively, did some nice things. We didn’t play a bad game. Unfortunately, tonight we ran into a team that was exceptionally hot from the outside. When they shoot like that, they’re going to be tough to beat. I don’t care who you are and how well you shoot.”
Carly Buzzard paced Wapakoneta with nine points. Sara Warner, Megan Watt and Riley Culver each scored eight.
“This was a fun season,” Allen said. “As a coach, you want to win as many games as you can. This group did a nice job of getting better every game.”
The Redskins finished the season with a 14-11 record.
“I thought we had an outstanding season,” Allen said. “You win 14 games ... that’s pretty impressive with the team we had. We were pretty young.”
Wapak had four seniors on this season’s roster — Warner, Karli Schneider, Erin Schnell and Hilary Bourne.
“The seniors and their dedication and commitment to this program was outstanding,” Allen said. “They put a lot of time and effort into it. They’re going to be missed. I know only one started, but when you have those four individuals in your program, they do a lot of things that may not necessarily show up on Thursday nights and Saturdays, when you’re out here on game nights.
“I definitely want to thank them for their time and effort.”
Next season Wapak will return four starters — sophomore point guard Maddi Stiles, junior wing Watt, junior post Buzzard and sophomore center Culver.
Junior guard Morgan Miller and freshman wing Megan Fisher will each be in the rotation after coming off the bench this season.
“Looking at what we have coming back, we’re pretty excited but we also know that you can’t just show up next November and December and expect to be back where you were and playing for a district championship,” Allen said. “We’ve got to put the time in in the summer. I think this group will.”
Bath, with its win Saturday, advanced to a Division II, Region 6 semifinal to play the Toledo Rogers Rams at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Ohio Northern University Sports Center in Ada.
This is the fourth consecutive year Bath has won a district championship.
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