After giving up the lead briefly to start the second half, the Wapakoneta Redskins quickly rebounded and closed out the Minster Wildcats in a tight ball game Saturday, giving first-year coach Doug Selvey his first win with the Redskins.
After leading virtually the entire first half, Wapak quickly regained the lead and held onto it the rest of the game in a 53-48 victory Saturday over Minster in the Wapakoneta High School gymnasium.
“I’d like to see many more from this day on,” Selvey said about getting his first win with Wapakoneta.
“Hopefully, we’ll see many more wins as we continue through this process.”
After extending its first-period lead to six points, 22-16, just over 2 minutes into the second period, Wapak went scoreless for 4 minutes. In that time frame, Minster managed to tie the score at 22-22 after a 6-0 run was helped by five Redskins turnovers.
A basket by the Wildcats’ Brandon Hoying with 1 second left on the second-period clock tied the halftime score at 26-26.
Minster took the lead to open the second half, grabbing a four-point advantage, 30-26, but the Wildcats let their lead slip as quickly as they took it.
The final two lead changes of the game came midway through the third period: first, on an and-one by Wapak junior Adam Henderson, and, second, on another Henderson field goal.
In the final seconds of the third period, Wapak senior Jake Bruns made his first on-court appearance of the season, having missed the first three games recovering from an injury.
The Redskins ran their lead to seven points by the end of the third period, 41-34.
Minster twice cut its deficit to a single possession in the fourth period.
The final instance came midway through the period, after a pair of made free throws by Matthew Trushaw.
Wapak responded with a 3-pointer from Henderson and bumped its lead to seven, 49-42, inside two minutes with a Henderson fastbreak layup which started with an Alec Temple block on the defensive end.
The Redskins struggled to put the game away from the free-throw line, going just 4 of 8 in the final 92 seconds of the game.
Missed 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions by Minster prevented the Wildcats from reducing their deficit to one possession inside one minute to play.
Wapak did make its final three free throws of the game.
“When we were finally able to grab the lead, we were up four in the second half and then, with a couple turnovers thrown in, our shot selection was just not very good,” Minster varsity coach Mike Lee said. “We forced shots. That was a rerun from, unfortunately, what took place last night.”
The Wildcats dropped a 51-41 contest Friday against St. Henry.
“I figured we could wear down Minster, and I think mentally we did that,” Selvey said.
Henderson scored eight of Wapak’s 12 points in the final period, totaling a game-high 15.
Wapak’s Keaton Metz recorded 12 points Friday, including 10 in the first half.
Kodi Morgan, Sam Hinegardner and Zach Schmerge each supplied seven points for the Redskins.
“We got the shots we wanted,” Selvey said. “Every shot we hit was a nice shot. Everyone had open looks as much as they possibly could. We worked the ball around.
“If you look at the scores, across the board, no one really stood out. We talked to the kids about sharing the ball. We’ve been really focusing on that in our offense.”
Hoying paced Minster with 12 points, although he did not score in the final 13:16 of the game.
The Wildcats’ Eli Wolf scored all nine of his points, which included two 3-pointers, in the fourth period Friday.
Prater Otting and Drew Ripploh each added nine points for Minster.
“Their kids played extremely hard,” Lee said. “That’s something we need to address. We need to match our opponents’ intensity, and I don’t think we did that.”
Saturday’s scheduled varsity and junior varsity doubleheader was contained to a varsity only event, as heavy snowfall in the area starting late Friday night postponed all area basketball games, minus the Minster-Wapakoneta meeting.
The Redskins (1-3) will resume their season Tuesday with a non-league contest on the road against the Bluffton Pirates.
Minster (2-3) will next play Saturday in a non-conference game against the Anna Rockets.