The Wapakoneta girls basketball team seemed to have everything under control in the beginning of Thursday night’s game.
The Redskins were up 17-6 at the end of the first quarter before the Cougars made a charge and made a ballgame out of the matchup.
A last-second 3-pointer from Van Wert’s Cheyenne Handy hit front iron and bounced harmlessly to the court as the buzzer sounded. Wapakoneta held on for the narrow victory, 51-50.
“Van Wert is a good ball club,” said Rusty Allen, Wapakoneta varsity coach. “They have some good players. This is a league game they weren’t just going to roll over.”
Sara Warner led the Redskins in scoring with 10 points in the game. Nicole Brown also added 9 points to the Redskin total.
At halftime, Wapakoneta’s huge advantage was all but gone as Van Wert brought it back to 25-23 at the intermission.
“I thought in the first quarter we came out with some great defensive intensity,” Allen said.
Wapakoneta let the Cougars back into the game with poor free-throw shooting. The Redskins shot 4-of-13 from the line.
“I think it’s just a matter of concentration sometimes at the line,” Allen said. “We’re not using our legs at times at the line. Free throws are mental. It’ll come around.”
Turnovers became a problem for the Redskins from the second quarter on. Despite the victory, the Redskins committed more turnovers than the Cougars.
“It seemed like we got a little rushed, they wanted us to pick up the pace because it played right into their favor,” Allen said.
With seven seconds left on the clock, Van Wert called a timeout to set up a play for the victory. They were trailing by one, and had the ball.
“In the last couple minutes we made some adjustments out of timeouts,” Allen said. “I thought our girls did a nice job of executing. Sometimes it’s easy to lose focus defensively.”
Allen said Warner played great defense at the end to force a 3-pointer from Handy.
“I thought at the end there Sara did a nice job getting her hands in just enough to disrupt that girl and force her to take a deep 3-pointer,” Allen said.
Wapakoneta improves to 10-10 on the season and 6-2 in the WBL. The Redskins now prepare for Minster on Tuesday.