BASKETBALL: 'Skins stop 'Stangs

HARROD — Wapakoneta’s Courtney Knippen may be sporting a black eye but there is definitely nothing wrong with her shooting eye as she pumped in a game-high 33 points to propel the Redskins past Allen East, 72-40, in a non-league confrontation Tuesday night at Allen East High School.

The Redskins improve to 3-1 overall and Allen East evens its record at 3-3.

Knippen was a scintillating 12-of-14 from the floor and a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe.

It was Knippen’s early offensive output from the onset that allowed Wapakoneta to break out to a quick 11-2 lead by the 3:30 mark and own a 17-8 lead after the first eight minutes.

The Redskins, thanks to some tenacious defense and Knippen’s hot hand, broke the game open in the second quarter after outscoring the Mustangs 18-11 in the pivotal second stanza. Knippen notched 14 second-quarter points and at one point had doubled the Mustang’s total offensive output on her own. By the time the halftime buzzer sounded Wapakoneta owned a commanding 35-19 lead.

The Redskins quickly quelled any inklings of a momentous Mustang comeback when they opened the third quarter with a 12-2 run to put the game away. This time, Knippen’s teammates, Annie Henderson, who finished with 14 points and Sara Warner, who chipped in nine, found their shooting touch to spearhead the scoring.

Redskins varsity coach Rusty Allen said the game plan was to jump out to quick lead and set the tone early.

“We talked about it in the pregame that we wanted to come out fast,” Allen said. “We felt we needed to set the tempo and the tone early and I was real pleased with our effort at the start.”

Allen said that offensively the team was patient yet willing to take advantage of the quick shot when it presented itself during transitions.

Allen praised Knippen‘s effort but added that it was a total team effort.

“You hate to say this but it was kind of a silent 33 because we had the other four girls really contributing and it wasn’t like we were simply looking for her every time down the floor,” Allen said. “She got a lot of points on extra effort and getting the rebound and putback.”

The 72 points scored was the most by the Redskins this season.

Not to be overlooked in the convincing win was the Wapakoneta defense that completely shut down a pesky Mustang squad. Kayee Rowe led the Mustangs in scoring with 11 and teammate Jadin Salyer added 10.

“We just wanted to make sure they didn’t beat us inside,” Allen said. “We felt they were a pretty good team that could drive to the bucket. We just made sure we stayed in front of them and force them to shoot the outside shot and then take advantage of that and clean the glass up with our rebounding.”

Knippen also shined in this category, grabbing 10 caroms. Mallory McDevitt snared eight boards.
Allen East varsity coach Jarrod Wehri said Wapakoneta was too much to handle for his overmatched Allen East squad.

“They are a talented squad and they came out hot and made shots early but we have to work to battle through that adversity,” Wehri said. “We need to play more as a unit rather than five individuals. We have shown we can do that but we need to do it on a more consistent basis.”

With the huge win, Allen said this team appears to be heading in the right direction.

“We felt we were capable of playing this type of game and we knew going into the preseason we were still working some kinks out and we have seen ourselves progress in the past week so the coaches and the players were all eager to get this started because we felt we were capable of producing this kind of output and we felt we had all five people contributing,” Allen said.

The Redskins will try to keep the momentum rolling with a home game Thursday against Elida in a key Western Buckeye League contest.

In junior varsity action, Wapakoneta posted a 45-42 victory.