BASKETBALL: Improved 'Skins to host Ada

At first glance, the opening weekend of the Wapakoneta Redskins varsity boys basketball season looks a lot like the opening weekend a year ago — a win over a not-so-good Piqua team on Friday followed by a loss to a very good Fort Recovery squad on Saturday.

At first glance.

To anyone who was actually paying attention, however, this is not the same Redskins team.

With as many as four sophomores starting at times and with Alex Greve sidelined by an injury, the 2010-2011 Wapak team went on to lose 11 of its next 12 games.

How the current edition fares over that same span remains to be seen. But with a year of experience under their belt and their point guard healthy, the Redskins are clearly improved.

This could be a good team.

“I don’t think our guys, really at any level, have been involved in a game where, no offense to Piqua, we dominated them,” Wapak varsity coach Matt Bradley said. “Then to turn around Saturday night and get dominated, quite frankly, I think was good because we saw what we can be, and I think we saw where we need to get to.

“I think the guys have been very receptive to coaching this week. We’ve watched some film and seen the areas we need to improve. I feel like we’re addressing them and guys are listening. I think the picture of that 30-plus point lead on the scoreboard Friday night is really kind of resounding with them right now, like ‘Wow, we have a chance to be a good basketball team.’ So I’m very pleased with the opening weekend.”

Bradley said two areas of concern were help-side defense and on-the-ball defense. Fort Recovery routinely beat the Redskins off the dribble and Bradley said that has to change when Redskins will play their first home game of the season Friday night against the Ada Bulldogs.

Ada will be a good measuring stick for Wapak. The Bulldogs are led by Connor Baker, who scored 25 points against the Redskins as a sophomore and 29 last year as a junior.

“We know that we’ve got to limit him,” Bradley said. “He reminds me a lot of what Derek Roop did for St. Marys last season. They’re very similar in build and style of play.”

Wapak suffered a scare Saturday when Travis Bertram went down with an ankle injury. But Bradley said the junior forward was back up to near full-speed by Tuesday and is expected to be in the lineup Friday.

Bertram scored a team-high 23 points on Friday and led the Redskins with 13 points on Saturday despite missing most of the second half.

Fellow junior forward Jake Buzzard scored 20 points Friday and eight on Saturday.

The JV game will tip off Friday at 6 p.m.