KENTON — The Wapakoneta Redskins started strong and nearly finished strong.
But they hit a wall in the second quarter and never fully recovered, suffering a 54-46 defeat at the hands of the Kenton Wildcats in a Western Buckeye League varsity boys basketball game Friday night at Kenton High School.
Wapak scored just two points in the second quarter on a Travis Bertram jumper at the 4:53 mark.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats went on a 10-0 run the final three minutes of the quarter to take a 22-14 lead at the half.
“It was frustrating because we came out with such a hot start and then we just, we didn’t make shots,” Wapak coach Matt Bradley said. “We had not a whole lot of possessions in the second quarter, and we gave up offensive rebounds, which even lowered the number of possessions.
“You’ve got to score more than two points in a quarter if you want to win a game.”
Kenton led 38-26 early in the fourth quarter when the Redskins made their run.
Junior Jake Buzzard drained a long 3-pointer. Then junior Alex Greve stole the ball in the backcourt and flipped it to senior Andy Faller, who knocked down a three from the right wing.
In a span of 11 seconds, the Redskins had cut the lead in half.
Wapak got the ball back and senior Kaleb Vondenhuevel scored on a pick and roll to cut it to 38-34 with 6:06 to play.
“When a team gets backed up against the wall, they’re going to make some plays,” Kenton coach Terry Rowe said. “We figured they were going to do that. ..... Things got interesting there.”
After a back-and-forth exchange, Kenton’s Maty Mauk scored eight points in a two-minute span, sinking a pair of long-range 3-pointers to give the Wildcats a 50-42 lead with 1:25 remaining.
Wapak got no closer than six in the final moments.
“We were able to make enough plays down the stretch to win the game,” Rowe said.
Mauk finished with half (27) of Kenton’s 54 points. He connected on six 3-pointers and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
“Hat’s off to them for finding Maty Mauk,” Bradley said. “And he made shots.
“The scouting report is when he steps across half court, he’s open. And we didn’t do a good job of finding where he was and he hit big shots.”
Bertram had a big game for Wapak, matching Mauk’s 27 points. He scored 10 of the Redskins’ 12 first-quarter points.
Vondenhuevel added eight points for Wapak and grabbed a team-high sox boards.
Kenton outrebounded the Redskins 28-21.
Wapak finished its regular season 7-13 overall and 3-6 in league play. Kenton is 5-13 and 1-8 in WBL play.
In the junior varsity game, Kenton held off a late Redskins’ charge by shooting 11 of 14 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter for a 67-57 win.
Freshman Kodi Morgan scored 13 points with three 3-pointers for Wapak. Sophomore Zach Schmerge added nine points.