The Defiance Bulldogs showed why they were the 10th-ranked team in the state earlier this week.
In the third period Friday, the Bulldogs pounded the Wapakoneta Redskins 23-3, while senior Trey Guilliam scored 12 straight points after the Bulldogs led by just two, 24-22, at halftime.
Defiance’s huge surge after halftime was more than enough to secure a 58-42 victory Friday in a Western Buckeye League varsity boys basketball game at Wapakoneta High School.
Wapak did not score in the second half until 1:43 left in the third period. By then, Defiance had opened the half with 14 straight points to take a 38-22 lead.
After the midway point in the period, Guilliam hit three straight 3-pointers and then converted an and-one at 1:01 left in the period, at which point Defiance turned its two-point halftime advantage into a comfortable 44-23 lead.
The Bulldogs eventually outscored Wapak by 20 points in the third.
“Trey did most of the talking at halftime,” Defiance varsity coach Kirk Lehman said. “That was great to see, for him to lead the way he did. That speaks volumes. That’s really important for our basketball team.
“He was adamant about coming out and setting the tone. Along with his teammates, he did a great job of that.”
Defiance was 8 of 11 with just one turnover in the third period Friday.
Wapak, meanwhile, shot just 1 of 8 with six turnovers in the third.
“I felt like Defiance went into halftime saying ‘we’re the 10th-ranked team in the state’ and buckled down,” Redskins varsity coach Doug Selvey said. “That’s what I want my team to be in the next couple years. That toughness. That grit.”
The Redskins did manage to outrebound Defiance 30-17 on Friday.
“Give our kids credit on that,” Selvey said. “We really keyed on that.”
Wapak had to do some damage control midway through the second period in order to keep the game close at halftime.
Defiance led 22-11 midway through the second period on an and-one by Guilliam.
The Redskins responded with an 8-0 run which included one 3-pointer each by Jarrett Koch and Kodi Morgan.
As the first-half buzzer sounded, Morgan sank another 3 to pull Wapak with two, 24-22.
“We got ourselves in tough positions and hit shots,” Selvey said. “That’s a good job by our kids to be able to make shots. Our shooting is coming.”
Lehman praised Wapak for its resiliency in the first half.
“Give those guys credit, for a 1-11 team,” he said. “I tried to convince our guys after watching the Celina game that’s not a team that thinks they’re 1-11.
“They do a lot of the right things. They get after you defensively. They’re going to be a team to be reckoned with before long. It may take them a year but they’ll be alright. They play extremely hard.”
Lehman felt his team was too interested in 3-pointers during Friday’s first half, as Defiance shot 14 of them.
“We got perimeter-oriented and weren’t as aggressive as we were in the beginning of the second half,” the coach said.
The Bulldogs established a post presence to start the third period, which freed up Guiilliam for his scoring barrage later in the stanza.
“All week we worked on hands up on shooters,” Selvey said. “We didn’t get as many hands up as we could have. Guilliam comes off screens well. They set good screens.”
Selvey commended Adam Henderson for his performance Friday.
The junior finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, four of which were offensive.
“Talk about toughness with Guilliam, we’ve got it in Adam Henderson,” Selvey said. “What a consistency he brings. As of late he’s been pretty consistent. As the season goes on, I’m sure that’s someone teams will key on.”
Morgan was Wapak’s leading scorer with 15 points, all of them coming on 3-pointers. Morgan hit a 3 on three straight possessions late in the fourth quarter.
“Kodi definitely hit some big 3s,” Selvey said about his two first-half triples. “That’s what Kodi Morgan can do. I know he can do that. It may surprise other people but not me. Kodi has the confidence to do that, and we all do, too.”
The Redskins’ loss Friday was their ninth in a row, dropping them to 1-12 overall and to 0-4 in the WBL.
Wapak will continue its season tonight in a non-league game on the road against the St. Henry Redskins.
The Bulldogs kept their share of the lead atop the WBL standings with Friday’s win.
Defiance moved to 12-2 overall and to 4-1 in the WBL with Friday’s win.
The Bulldogs will resume their schedule next Friday in a WBL contest at home against the St. Marys Roughriders.
The junior varsity game went into overtime and saw the visiting Bulldogs emerge victorious Friday.
Defiance led by four before Wapak’s Aaron Huffman notched two straight buckets, including a putback as regulation time expired, tying the game at 26-26.
The Redskins twice by one point in the overtime period but committed a foul with 0.6 seconds remaining, while Defiance’s Jordan Scott sank both free throws to give the Bulldogs a 31-30 win.
Huffman paced Wapak with 10 points.