The Wapakoneta Redskins varsity boys basketball team has already faced four state-ranked opponents this season.
Add one more to the list.
Wapak will face perhaps its stiffest test of the season Friday night when the undefeated and state-ranked Defiance Bulldogs come to town.
Defiance is 9-0 overall and 3-0 in the Western Buckeye League. The Bulldogs are No. 8 in Division II and received one first-place vote.
They are outscoring their opponents by an average of 18 points per game and have won all but one of their games — a 60-51 win over the Bath Wildcats — by double digits.
“It’s kind of clichéd to say this, but they’re the best team we’ve played all year,” Redskins varsity coach Matt Bradley said. “They’re 9-0 and state-ranked for a reason. Incredibly unselfish, really good guards. Unlike us, they knock down jump shots consistently. They defend really hard. They’re well-coached. Everything you want in a good team, they’ve got it.”
Bradley’s words are high praise considering four of Wapak’s seven losses this season have come at the hands of state-ranked opponents — Elida, Lima Central Catholic, Ft. Recovery and Ada.
He says the secret to Defiance’s success is really no secret at all.
“Every single one of their guys has bought into going all-out all the time,” Bradley said. “Watching them on film, they’re always in the right spot defensively. They rarely get beat on a box-out. They rarely give up offensive rebounds.
“Offensively, they’re always looking for the next guy, always passing up a good shot for a great shot. All the things that are kind of the rules of basketball, if you will, they do them.”
Defiance presents a number of threats on the offensive side of the ball with four players averaging in double figures.
Anthony Kidston (6-foot-2 senior) leads the way with a 16.7 points-per-game average. Kidston also leads the team in assists (3.2 per game) and rebounding (6.6 per game).
Josh Scott (6-0 senior) is averaging 13.6 points and 2.8 assists per game. Doug Herrett (5-11 senior) adds 12.3 points per game. And Tory Guilliam (6-0 senior) chips in with 10.5 points a night.
The Bulldogs run a free-flowing offense similar to Wapak’s Princeton offense.
Wapak has struggled defensively its past couple game. The Redskins were routinely late rotating to get in position in their 55-38 loss to New Knoxville on Tuesday.
“We’ve got to go back to basics as far as defensive responsibilities,” Bradley said. “Things that I’ve probably taken for granted as a coach as the year has gone on, kind of back to some things that we worked on at the beginning of the year, where to be in help when the ball is here or over here, defending the post, defending screens.
“I’ve done a bad job of staying on the little things defensively. Those are some things we’ll work on this week.”
The Redskins will have senior center Kaleb Vondenhuevel back in the lineup Friday night.
Vondenhuevel sat out Wapak's last two games after undergoing an emergency appendectomy last Monday.
The junior varsity contest tips off at 6 p.m.