Wapakoneta Redskins senior Sara Warner (15), right, fights St. Marys senior Reagan Aller (5), left, for a loose ball Thursday in a Western Buckeye League varsity girls basketball game at Wapakoneta High School. (Staff photo/Rob Laney)
The level of success the Wapakoneta Redskins had on offense Thursday dictated the ease with which they held a lead on the scoreboard.
Other than a stretch of six-and-a-half minutes in the first half during which they were held without a field goal, the Redskins were consistently strong inside the arc Thursday.
The St. Marys Roughriders, meanwhile, were not effective enough defensively and were not consistent enough offensively Thursday to keep pace with Wapakoneta.
The result was a 51-32 win for the Redskins in a Western Buckeye League varsity girls basketball contest Thursday at Wapakoneta High School.
“I thought we did a nice job of just getting the ball out off of our defensive rebounds,” Wapak varsity coach Rusty Allen said. “The girls ran the floor pretty well. Not that we scored a ton of transition points, but that put pressure on them defensively as far as getting back.
“We did a nice job of looking to get the quick score. We’ve gotten away from that, not really by design. Over a long season, sometimes you forget what you want to try and do.”
Wapak shot over 50 percent on 2-pointers in every period Thursday minus the second one.
“It was defense,” St. Marys coach Kelly Fulmer said about what her team fell short on in Thursday’s game. “At times we were able to stop them but not consistently.”
The Redskins started the game with a 9-0 lead, as St. Marys was 0 for 7 with seven turnovers before scoring its first points of the game with 1:01 left in the first period. The Roughriders managed to cut their deficit to four, 9-5, entering the second.
Erin Schnell’s basket with 2:43 left in the first period was the final field goal Wapak scored until she scored again with 4:09 remaining until halftime.
Between that time, Wapak was struggling with missed shots but not turnovers, as they committed none in the second period.
The Redskins managed four free throws to keep them afloat, while St. Marys cut the lead to two points twice, the last instance being 11-9 with 6:04 to play in the second.
Schnell steadied Wapak offensively, supplying six of the team’s final eight points before halftime, while St. Marys went 4 minutes without scoring.
The Redskins enjoyed a 11-1 run entering halftime to extend their lead to 22-10, which would prove to be enough cushion for the duration of the game.
St. Marys increased its scoring in the second half with 10 and 12 points in each period but Wapak did the same with 15 and 14 in the final two periods.
Sara Warner paced Wapak with 14 points, while Megan Watt added 11 with the help of two 3-pointers.
Schnell finished with nine points. Carly Buzzard and Riley Culver added six points each, with Culver collecting nine rebounds.
The Redskins established a strong interior presense throughout the game Tuesday, and not until late in the game did jump shots and 3-point shots truly arrive.
“After the last game, we challenged our posts,” Allen said. “We felt like we weren’t getting much out of our posts. With Carly, Riley and Erin, we finally established a presence inside tonight. We know they’re capable of that; they know they’re capable. We need that balance. Our posts carried us at the beginning and then it opened up things later on.”
Wapak shot 21 of 45 from the floor and committed 12 turnovers Thursday.
The Roughriders, meanwhile, shot 10 of 34 from the field Thursday. Their nine players who scored each had one 2-point field goal, while freshman Quincy Rabel had both of the Roughriders’ 3-pointers Thursday.
Rabel had 10 points to lead St. Marys, while Reagan Aller had six.
“Sometimes if we have a hard time scoring, everybody chips in a little bit,” Fulmer said Thursday. “Sometimes we’ll have a player get hot and go off for 15, but tonight it was rounded out a little bit.”
St. Marys had 17 turnovers Tuesday.
Allen described how his team approached facing the Roughriders’ offense.
“We tried to switch it up,” he said. “We did some different things out of our matchup zone. We’ve had some success with that lately. The girls are starting to understand it. We’ve put some wrinkles into it and keep them off balance.”
The Redskins’ home win Tuesday came after back-to-back road losses.
“It’s always good to come back and play in front of your home crowd,” Allen said. “We get great support. The girls feed off that good energy in the gym. We get good student body support.
“It was good to get a win. It was our second-to-last home game. It was good to get a win and try to finish the season strong.”
Wapak improved to 11-8 this season and to 6-2 in the WBL.
The Roughriders fell to 3-15 overall and 1-7 in the league.
Bath clinched at least a share of the WBL title Tuesday with a whopping 105-42 win over Kenton. Bath’s win Thursday eliminated Wapak from the race for a league championship.
The Redskins will play out-of-league for their next game as they will travel to Findlay to play the Lib-erty-Benton Eagles on Saturday.
St. Marys will visit the Lima Senior Spartans on Saturday for a non-league game.
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