FORT RECOVERY — The Wapakoneta Redskins varsity boys basketball team suffered its first loss on the season, falling 61-38 to the Fort Recovery Indians on Saturday at Fort Site Gymnasium.
Partly thanks to a significant size disadvantage at the guard positions, Wapak struggled shooting the ball and were never really able to mount a challenge to the Indians.
The Redskins shot just 35.7 percent (15-of-42) from the floor, including an abysmal 3-of-19 (15.8 percent) in the second half.
“I didn’t think our defensive effort in the first half was where it needed to be to play a team of this caliber,” Wapak coach Matt Bradley said. “I thought our defensive effort in the second half was much, much better.
“We held them to 22 points in the second half, and several of those points were when we were kind of gambling, trying to stay in it.”
The Indians led from the get-go, but Wapak had an opportunity to take a big bite out of Fort Recovery’s lead with a small run late in the second quarter.
Down 36-24 with 1:49 left in the half, Wapak got a 3-pointer from Kaleb Vondenhuevel with 33 seconds to play to cut the lead to nine.
The Redskins got the ball back with 4.5 seconds left and had a chance to make it a six- or seven-point game at the half.
But Fort Recovery’s Elijah Kahlig stole the ball from Redskins junior Travis Bertram and drained a three at the buzzer to make it a 39-27 lead.
“That’s a huge turnover there when we do have a chance to go up and throw it in,” Bradley said. “Worst-case scenario we’re down nine rather than 12.”
Wapak would never get closer as the Indians pulled away in the second half.
“We weren’t rushing and we got great looks,” Indians coach Brian Patch said.
Making matters worse for the Redskins, Bertram went down with an apparent ankle sprain midway through the third quarter and never returned to the game.
Bradley was hopeful Bertram, who scored a team-high 13 points despite playing just 2 1/2 quarters, would be back for Friday night’s home opener against Ada.
Wapak fell to 1-1. Fort Recovery is 2-0.
In the JV contest, Wapak (2-0) held off a late charge and survived a buzzer-beater three-point attempt to win 41-38.