The intensity at both ends of the floor by the Wapakoneta Redskins led to a flood of points early, drowning the Indian Lake Lakers Monday in varsity girls non-league basketball action.
Pressure defense and a quicker trigger on the offensive end powered the Redskins to a 74-43 win as Wapak forced nine first half turnovers and junior guard Nicole Brown hit for a game high 20 points including tying a record six 3-pointers.
“In the last few days since the Celina game, we talked about wanting to get out to a real good start and we felt against Celina and some of the other teams we dug holes and had to work our way out and use a lot of energy to get back into the game — that makes it tough,” Redskin varsity coach Rusty Allen said after Wapak dropped to 2-2 in the Western Buckeye League with a 51-43 loss to Celina on Thursday. “We wanted to come out with some defensive intensity, get off to a good start and hopefully put them in a hole tonight.”
The Redskins dug a big hole for the Lakers this time as they closed out the last 2:44 of the first quarter on a 10-0 run to take a commanding 23-7 lead, which grew to 44-16 at the half as Wapak used a full-court press and a trapping half-court defense. The pressure resulted in a 13-5 run to start the quarter and a 8-2 run to close out the half.
Indian Lake varsity coach Chris Burden watched his team improve during the game at handling the pressure, but the youth of his ball-handlers played a part in the early deficit.
“We start a freshman at point guard (Sydney Miller) and we have a sophomore (Haley Boberg) come off the bench and we have been home for awhile so we are starting a tough stretch on the road now,” Burden said. “When you are on the road, you have to be patient and our youth showed tonight with Wapak’s pressure.
“We talked at half time about our effort and laying it all on the line and whatever happens happens,” he said. “There toward the end I was very pleased with what I saw.”
While the Wapak press and the trap caused trouble for the Lakers on the defensive end of the floor, the Redskins’ Brown caused problems for them on the offensive end of the court. She hit 5-of-8 from behind the 3-point line in the first half and scored another five points in the fourth quarter to end with 20 points.
“We had some heart-to-heart talks the last few days and we just said, ‘If you are open, shoot,’ and that showed tonight because when she (Brown) had some looks she didn’t turn them down,” Allen said as he watched his team improve to 6-5 on the season. “This is a girl who shoots 40,000 shots in the summer and we want to make sure when she is open she is willing to take the shot and tonight she did.”
Burden said he scouted the Redskins twice and both times Brown was in foul trouble so his staff didn’t see how well she could shoot — but they knew she had a reputation of being a strong outside shooter.
“That was quite a shooting performance so I tip my hat,” Burden said.
He also could tip his hat to one of his own players as well. Junior post Mikaela Oyer hit for 15 points on the night and grabbed three rebounds. She scored 11 first half points, with eight coming in the second quarter.
Others scoring for Lakers were junior Jordan Keckler with eight points and junior Leslie Reichert with six points.
The Redskins countered with junior guard Annie Henderson pouring in 13 points, with 11 in the first half. She also grabbed five rebounds.
Senior post Courtney Knippen hit for eight points and grabbed five defensive rebounds, while senior guard Tasha Helmstetter scored seven points.
Sophomore guard Sara Warner also hit for eight points, and senior post Mallory McDevitt hit for six points and grabbed a team leading eight boards.
The Redskins hit 14-of-33 from the floor in the first half and 7-of-15 from beyond the arc. They hit 9-of-12 from the free throw line. They hit 11-of-24 from the floor in the second half.
Through the first three quarters, the Lakers hit 10-of-36 and 3-of-10 from behind the 3-point line. They were 1-of-4 from the charity stripe.
Allen said his team also worked being more confident when they trap which helped his team stifle the Lakers scoring opportunities.
“Defensively we want to stay intense and we don’t want to hesitate and that has been our focus the last few days,” Allen said. “Don’t hesitate. If we are running the full-court press or the half-court trap, don’t hesitate and go trap, go get to a spot and that rolled over into our intensity level.
“We don’t want to worry about the what-ifs.”