SPENCERVILLE — If you were to ask any coach when he wants a player’s best performance of the season, the answer would always be the same.
For sophomore guard Megan Watt, Tuesday night was her time.
The Wapakoneta Redskins easily defeated cross-county rivals St. Marys in the first round of Sectional play at Spencerville High School. 53-31.
Watt led all scorers in the game with 15 points, and in one swift motion, emerged herself from part-time bench player to a serious scoring threat.
“I thought Megan Watt did a nice job tonight getting to the bucket tonight for us. She’s really come along for us here in the last four to five games,” said Rusty Allen, Wapakoneta varsity coach.
Allen said the performance did not surprise the coaching staff, because they have seen this play in practice before, but the timing of the performance was perfect.
“I wouldn’t say it was a surprise for us, because we knew she had it in her, it was just a matter of getting her battle tested and prepared for this run,” Allen said.
Watt scored from inside and outside, applied great defensive pressure and really made a difference in all aspects of the game.
“This is by far one of her best games, we know she has it in her, it was just a matter of getting her to that point. Obviously this is a great time to have her start playing like this,” Allen said.
The first half belonged 100 percent to Wapakoneta, as the Redskins applied a pesky full-court pressure and held the Roughriders to only six points in the entire half.
At halftime, the Redskins led, 30-6.
“I thought we played with some intensity in the first half,” Allen said. “We figured we could put some pressure on their guards. We have developed a deep bench and knew we could get to them. So that was our strategy, to wear them down with the full court pressure.”
St. Marys varsity coach Kelly Fulmer said St. Marys struggled to get their offense going because of the pressure.
“We really let their pressure get to us, and they forced us into some turnovers. We had a hard time getting our offense start,” Fulmer said.
St. Marys made it a point to face-guard Nicole Brown all night, trying to prevent another 21-point performance she had last meeting. Brown hit seven 3-pointers in the last St.Marys-Wapakoneta matchup.
“We knew they were going to hound Nicole (Brown). We knew they were going to follow Sara (Warner) around, too,” Allen said. “We talked about it this week in practice, we knew we had to do something different because they weren’t going to give us the outside shot.”
Fulmer said that was exactly their plan.
“Earlier in the season Brown hit seven 3-pointers against us,” Fulmer said. “We wanted to make someone else score against us, someone else beat us.”
Allen said he was happy with the way the girls played offensively.
“I thought our girls did a really good job of attacking the basket,” Allen said.
Warner finished the game with 12 points on the night.
Wapakoneta now prepares for a game against Bath on Saturday night at 8 p.m.
“Obviously it’s Bath. There’s a team that went to State last year,” Allen said. “You gotta come out and play well, we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Wapakoneta improved to 12-11 on the season. St. Marys fell to 3-20.