HARROD — The Allen East Mustangs seemed to have figured out the Wapakoneta Redskins defense and relied upon it to sustain a lead nearly the entire second half Tuesday.
After falling behind by eight, 26-18, midway through the second quarter, a 17-3 run before halftime gave the Mustangs a six-point lead, 35-29, at halftime.
They surrendered a 10-point second half lead inside the three minutes left in the game but managed to came away with the win, 62-60, in a non-league varsity girls basketball game Tuesday at Allen East High School.
The Mustangs had a 10-point lead, 43-33, at 4:43 to go in the third period.
The Redskins only allowed four points the rest of the period and closed the gap to five, 47-42, entering the fourth.
Wapak, after 11 straight points including three 3-pointers from Megan Watt, tied the game for the second time in the period at 55-55.
Allen East’s Erin Conkle responded with a basket before Redskins point guard Maddi Stiles buried a 3-pointer to give Wapak its first lead since the second period.
The Mustangs answered with two straight field goals to take a three-point lead, 61-58. The Redskins, however, only scored one field goal the rest of the game.
Sara Warner’s basket with 28 seconds left was Wapak’s final points of the game.
The Redskins had a chance to tie the game or take the lead after Allen East missed the front end of a one-and-one.
The Mustangs, however, used a foul to give upon Wapak’s inbounds.
The Redskins then called their final timeout to set up a shot. A deflection at that baseline allowed Wapak to retain possession but a turnover gave the ball back to the Mustangs with 2.9 seconds remaining.
With 1 second left on the clock, Allen East missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Wapak, down by two, a desperation opportunity.
Off of a missed free throw, Warner heaved a full-court toss at the hoop but the improbable heavy sailed left, clinching the win for Allen East.
Wapak coach Rusty Allen said he and his coaching staff anticipated Allen East using its fouls to give on the Redskins’ final half-court possession, complicating efforts after having used his final timeout.
“We anticipated that,” the coach said. “We felt like that was our best opportunity to get something set up and possibly get to the foul line.
“If not, we had confidence in our out of bounds play. We got a look inside. We got a look we wanted. Unfortunately, it wasn’t executed 100 percent.”
Allen said his team began to execute the game plan in the fourth quarter, resulting in a combined four 3-pointers from Watt and Stiles.
“She really got hot in that fourth quarter,” Allen said of Watt. “She is definitely capable of doing that for us. We needed it tonight. We were stagnant. We didn’t execute our game plan very well.
“It took us three quarters to get going, get post touches and get inside-outside going. That ‘s what got Megan going. We can’t wait until the fourth quarter to execute our game plan.”
Other than a scoreless stretch by Allen East for four-and-a-half minutes in the second period, the Redskins’ defense had difficult stopping the Mustangs’ offense, particularly on each block on the interior.
Despite being shut out for so long in the second period, Allen East managed 17 points in the final 3:34 to grab a six-point halftime advantage.
“Defensively, we definitely didn’t execute,” Allen said. “It was a bad effort all the way around. We did a lot of standing around. Even when we were in the half court, they got quite a few easy looks because we fell asleep on the back side.
“It was a matter our intensity. We played hard but right now we’re not playing sound, fundamental defense.”
Allen East’s Kaycee Rowe led all scorers with 21 points.
Allen pointed out that his team has allowed a 20-plus points scorer in three of Wapak’s four games.
The Redskins had four players reach double figures Tuesday, led by Watt’s 18.
Carly Buzzard had 14, Stiles 12 and Warner 11.
The loss evened Wapak’s record at 2-2 this season.
The Redskins will continue their season at home Thursday, after three straight road games, in a Western Buckeye League contest against the Kenton Wildcats.
The Redskins handily won the junior varsity game Tuesday, 44-16.
Wapak shut out Allen East in the first period, 14-0, in the win.
Kasey Helmstetter and Emily Klopfenstein paced the Redskins with 13 and 11 points, respectively.