This basketball season for the Wapakoneta girls varsity squad began a little differently this year, hosting a Tip-Off Tournament.
But the result Friday night was less than desired for a host school at their own event.
In the second game of the evening, the Wapakoneta Redskins took on the Bellefontaine Chieftains and found themselves on the wrong side of a 51-44 match.
Wapakoneta varsity coach Rusty Allen said although the season started off with a loss, he saw a lot of things he liked, and other things he sees that needs improvement.
“I think if you take the first 12 minutes of the game, we did some things really well. Then we went into a funk, and we couldn’t seem to snap out of it,” Allen said.
In those first 12 minutes, Wapakoneta was shooting and shooting, and it almost seemed like the Redskins couldn’t miss. Senior guard Nicole Brown connected on three of her first five 3-pointers. Junior Sara Warner hit her first 3-pointer. Riley Culver, Carly Buzzard, Annie Henderson and Erin Schnell all hit their first shot of the game.
And then, something clicked for the Bellefontaine defense. Chieftain point guard Regan Price began pressuring the ball more and coming up with multiple steals. Warner and Amy Hume got into early foul trouble.
“We’ve got to do a much better job of not committing silly fouls. I think sometimes we just made some silly fouls when we didn’t need to be that aggressive,” Allen said. “We got into some foul trouble early with Sara Warner and Amy Hume. Our rotation got out-of-whack just a little bit. I think that kind of created some issues for us.”
The buckets started falling for the Chieftains. Suddenly a 19-13 first quarter Redskin lead had turned into a 30-29 Chieftain halftime lead.
“We just kind of let them get back into things,” Allen said. “I thought we did some nice things, but obviously there is room for improvement.”
The Chieftains began seeing production out of its scorers in the second quarter, and by the end of the game, they had five players that scored eight points or more. Bellefontaine’s Brenda Johnson led the Chieftains with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
Warner led all Redskin scorers with 10 points of her own, but came on a 23 percent shooting performance, something she will look to improve on.
One of the big differences in the outcome though, was free throw shooting. Wapakoneta only shot 28 percent from the charity stripe.
“We did not shoot the ball very well from the free throw line. You go to the line 14 times, you’ve got to make more than four,” Allen said.
The Chieftains made 10 of their 18 free throw opportunities.
Allen said that his squad needs to fine tune the free throws, but also they need to work on being aggressive on the offensive boards.
“I’m not even sure if we had more than two offensive rebounds. I don’t think we were real aggressive attacking the offensive glass.”
The loss to Bellefontaine sets up a matchup with Troy in the consolation game today at 6 p.m. at Wapakoneta High School. Troy lost to Waynesfield-Goshen Friday night.
“They look like an athletic team, they like to spread the floor out on you,” Allen said. “We’re going to have our hands full tomorrow nights, and hopefully we can make some adjustments.”