BASKETBALL: Wapak hopes to bounce back vs. O-G

A week ago, the Wapakoneta Redskins varsity boys basketball team came up just short of stunning the unbeaten and state-ranked Defiance Bulldogs.

That game came on the heels of a nail-biter, five-point loss to the previously state-ranked Elida Bulldogs and a one-point win over the defending Western Buckeye League champion Celina Bulldogs.

If Wapak caught the trio of Bulldogs off-guard, it won’t get that opportunity against the Ottawa-Glandorf Titans on Friday.

The proverbial cover is blown.

Wapak is no longer a bye week for opposing teams.

“We’re definitely not Wapak of a year or two ago, where it’s a breather in the league schedule,” Redskins varsity coach Matt Bradley said. “Teams have to take us seriously now.

“But, with that being said, we’ve got to be consistent in our performance.”

Consistency has been the biggest bugaboo for Wapak this season. For every Elida and Defiance performance, there is a Bath and New Knoxville, games where the Redskins looked like the Redskins of old.

“The teams that played at Elida and played at St. Henry and played against Defiance aren’t the same teams that played against Bath and played against New Knoxville,” Bradley said. “That’s probably our biggest challenge right now. We’ve shown we can play at a high level. Now let’s do it consistently.”

O-G, meanwhile, finds itself in a period of transition. The Titans are young, with just three seniors. And Josh Leslie is no longer barking out instructions from the sideline.

In his place is former O-G and University of Findlay standout Tyson McGlaughlin.

A key cog for the Titans is 6-foot-6 freshman Noah Bramlage.

The Titans haven’t looked like a team in transition. They’re 9-4 overall and 3-1 in the WBL.

O-G has won three in a row, including a 57-54 win over the Lima Senior Spartans on Saturday.

“I think they’ve kind of got things figured out here recently,” Bradley said.

That’s not to say there haven’t been bumps in the road. Defiance pasted the Titans 63-44 on January 13. And Putnam County rival Columbus Grove rolled to a 60-39 win over the Titans.

“O-G is a completely different animal than Defiance,” Bradley said. “Where Defiance was guard-oriented, played a lot of open post, want to shoot a lot of perimeter jump shots, O-G has some good size and they want to pound it in. They do some really good things with their offense to get the ball inside and don’t shoot a lot of threes. So our focus is going to do a complete 180. ...

“Watching them on film, they’re going to be tougher to guard than Elida or Defiance just because of what they’re doing offensively.”

The Redskins will have a healthy Kaleb Vondenhuevel back in the lineup Friday night.

“We feel like we still haven’t peaked yet,” Bradley said. “We’re working toward playing in March and playing our best basketball in March.”