The Wapakoneta Redskins came out of the gate sluggish against the hosting Van Wert Cougars, but used a solid second half to pick up another Western Buckeye League victory.
Wapakoneta found itself trailing by six at halftime, but came back in the second half to defeat Van Wert, 44-39.
“A win is a win is a win,” said Matt Bradley, Wapakoneta varsity coach. “We’re not going to complain especially coming to Van Wert. This is a tough place to play. They are always well coached, they are always well prepared.”
With a halftime score of 22-16, the Redskins relied heavily on the inside play of senior Travis Bertram and senior Jake Buzzard to take the lead in the fourth quarter and hold on for the victory.
“That was just a grind up until the end,” Bradley said. “I was really proud of how we battled especially in the second half.”
Buzzard finished the game with 14 points. Bertram added nine to the Redskin total.
“We felt that was going to be an advantage for us, getting the ball inside,” Bradley said. “I thought Buzzard in the first half and Bertram in the second half really did a great job of posting up hard, demanding the ball.”
Going into the fourth quarter, the Cougars held a 2-point lead, 36-34. The first several minutes of the fourth quarter were scoreless, and until a steal and a layup from Alex Greve, there was hardly any quarter scoring.
“Fortunately we got that big steal where we trapped the ball screen and Greve got the layup. That was huge,” Bradley said.
Greve finished the game with 10 points for the Redskins.
The Redskins held the Cougars to only three points in the entire quarter.
“We feel like we were pretty prepared,” Bradley said. “I think you saw two pretty good defensive teams that knew they had to get stops to win the game.”
The Redskins were aided in the contest by poor free-throw shooting from Van Wert throughout the game. The Cougars shot 15 percent from the charity stripe on 2-of-13 shooting.
“We’ll take all gifts kindly appreciated,” Bradley said. “I thought in the first half we were not very solid. We were fortunate to only be down six at halftime. We were fortunate that they missed a lot of their free throws.”
“It seemed like if we got over that hump, we were going to end up with the win,” Bradley said.
The Redskins improve to 11-8 on the year and 4-3 in the WBL. Seeding for Sectional play takes place Sunday afternoon.
“With tournament draw coming up Sunday, this was a great game for seeding. It was a good win,” Bradley said.
Bradley said this game was a huge one for the team. This win puts the Redskins over .500 in league play for the first time since 2007.
“We withstood their early run and managed to get it done,” Bradley said.