For three quarters, St. Henry and Wapakoneta battled toe-to-toe.
Then, suddenly, St. Henry stomped on the toes of its namesake and left them black-and-blue as it pulled away to a 53-47 win in a non-league varsity girls basketball game at Wapakoneta.
Trailing 37-33 late in the third quarter, St. Henry went on a 15-1 run — including 10 unanswered points to start the fourth quarter — to take a 48-38 lead with 3:15 left in the game.
Wapak was held without a field goal for a span of 8:31 during the run.
“We just didn’t slow down,” Wapak varsity coach Rusty Allen said. “We get our feet going so fast that we don’t let our heads catch up with our feet, per se, sometimes. We see that opening, but we don’t see that opening.”
The game started at a fast-and-furious pace as the two teams combined for 38 points in the first quarter, with Wapak leading 20-18.
Annie Henderson scored 10 of Wapak’s points in the quarter, including a pair of threes.
But the scoring pace slowed considerably the rest of the way. Wapak led 29-25 at the half. And the score was tied at 38-all heading into the fourth.
“In the first half, we kept losing shooter,” St. Henry coach Jeff Roessner said. “After they make one or two, at some point you have to figure out that we’d better guard this kid.”
Wapak suffered a setback when guard Amy Hume, its best ball handler, injured her ankle just before the half. Without Hume, Wapak struggled against the intense St. Henry pressure defense, turning the ball over nine times in the second half.
Knippen and Nicole Brown tied for high-scoring honors for Wapak at 13 points apiece. Brown hit three 3-pointers. Henderson finished with 10.
Wapak was 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) on free throws in the contest.
“You can’t go 8-of-19 and expect to win too many ballgames,” Allen said. “Not a game like tonight.”
St. Henry was 8-of-11 (72.7 percent) on threes.
Wapak won the junior varsity game 49-29.