WAYNESFIELD — The Botkins Trojans let their lead slip away briefly but regained it for good late in the first half Saturday in their non-league game against the Waynesfield-Goshen Tigers.
The Trojans led 9-0 to start the game but trailed by as many as five, 17-12, in the second period.
Botkins ultimately swung the scoreboard by 27 points to sustain a 22-point victory, 53-31, in a varsity boys basketball contest on Senior Night at Waynesfield-Goshen High School.
“In the first half we had too many turnovers. We got in a little foul trouble. We were trying get some sub situations in the first half,” Botkins varsity coach Brett Meyer said. “In the second half we didn’t have the foul trouble, we were able to get guys in more of a flow. We got some easy baskets. We made some nice passes for baskets. Any time you can get layups over threes, that’s good.”
Botkins opened the game with a 9-0 lead before W-G came alive via its defense, as the Tigers began forcing turnovers with an extended zone defense.
W-G went on a 17-3 run in a 7-minute stretch.
“Our three-quarter court (zone) kind of stunned them a little bit,” W-G varsity coach Ryan Taylor said. “It gave us a little shot in the arm by them turning it over and giving us some easy buckets.
“We struggle to score if we don’t get out and run and get some layups.”
Botkins also saw a bit of foul trouble in the first half, as Mitch Goubeaux drew his second foul with 21.9 seconds left in the first period.
The Trojans rallied before halftime, as 3-pointers by Mitch Stone and Austin Jones helped Botkins the lead at 20-17.
The Trojans managed to lead by eight, 26-18, at halftime.
W-G stayed within eight points late in the third period but could not reduce Botkins’ lead any further.
Instead, the Trojans overcame the Tigers’ zone press and shut down W-G on defense as the game wore on, pulling away with a 17-5 advantage in the fourth period.
“Our bench was deeper than theirs and that wore them down in the third and fourth quarter,” Meyer said. “Our depth was able to help us tonight.”
Taylor felt his team’s defense was fueling some of its offense Saturday, which, the coach believes, in turn, keeps fueling the team’s defensive efforts.
In the second half, however, W-G’s offense was pretty much dead and stopped helping defensively, as the Tigers posted only 13 points in the second half.
“When you can’t really get set up and don’t have momentum going into a trapping defense, it’s going to hurt the effort in everything,” Taylor said. “It’s something that needs to snowball. It’s hard to make the snowball if you can’t get it started.”
W-G shot 28 percent (10 of 36) on field goals and just 42 percent (8 of 19) from the free-throw line Saturday.
“That’s plagued us all year,” Taylor said about free throws.
Stone was 5 of 5 from the field and posted 14 points off of the bench to lead all scorers. Stone, a transfer, had to sit out the first half of the season and is getting acclimated with the team.
“Mitch is starting to get into the flow now,” Meyer said Saturday. “We had him in last night and thought he did pretty well. He got more time tonight and did well for us.”
Brock Fullenkamp supplied 13 points for the Trojans, and Alex Roberts had 10.
Each team entered Saturday’s game having won their game the night before.
Botkins improved to 4-16 overall with its win Saturday, which ended a five-game loss streak.
The Trojans will conclude their season with a road game in the Shelby County Athletic League against the Houston Wildcats on Friday and a non-league home game against the Perry Commodores on Saturday.
W-G moved to 3-13 overall after Saturday’s loss.
The Tigers will play a non-league road contest against the Indian Lake Lakers for their next game.