BASKETBALL: Wildkittens bounce Wapak from tourney

SPENCERVILLE — There was only so much the Wapakoneta Redskins could do.

Emily Ruhe was just that good.

The Bath junior scored 20 points and pulled down 17 rebounds — both game highs — to lead the Wildkittens past the Redskins, 48-31, in a Division II girls basketball sectional final Saturday night at Spencerville High School.

“This was a night tonight where we are just too short,” Wapak coach Rusty Allen said.  “They weren’t rebounds where we weren’t putting a body on her.  We had somebody on her.  At times we had two or three girls on her.”

“She was just a force,” Bath coach Greg Mauk said.  “What a performance.  ... And give Wapak a lot of credit.  They are a great check-out team.  How in the world she was able to find ways to get around their kids checking out, I don’t know.  Because the rest of our kids were all checked.  That just speaks to her athleticism.”

By comparison, Wapak as a team had 18 rebounds.  Bath ended up with 34 boards.

“I thought our girls did a nice job of doing everything they needed to do to put themselves in a good defensive position,” Allen said.  “It’s just unfortunate we aren’t three or four inches taller.”

The Redskins made a game of it early, matching Bath basket-for-basket to end the first quarter tied, 10-10.

But Ruhe set the tone inside in that quarter, scoring eight points and grabbing five offensive rebounds.

Of Ruhe’s 17 boards, 11 came on the offensive glass.

The second quarter was all Bath as the Wildkittens defense clamped down, holding Wapak to just four points on a pair of free throws and a transition layup both by junior Annie Henderson.

Bath closed the half with an 11-0 run to take a 27-14 lead at the break.

Sophomore Jenna Hollar buried a three from the right wing.  Ruhe sank a jumper.  And senior Madison Clark knocked down a 3-pointer then sank three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt.

“She (Clark) went in and did what you expect a senior to do when we’re not playing like I felt like we should be able to play,” Mauk said.

Wapak tried to claw its way back into the game but could get no closer than nine, 38-29, with 3:40 left in the fourth quarter.

“You know teams are going to make runs,” Allen said.  “When they made their run, we said, ‘Just relax and stay focused.’  And I thought our girls did.  Once they got up on us, we played even with them.  

“We told our girls we were going to make our run.  Our run just never seemed to come.”

Senior Tasha Helmstetter led Wapak with 11 points and five rebounds.  Junior Nicole Brown added eight points on a pair of 3-pointers.

Sophomore Sara Warner chipped in with six points.  Henderson scored four.  

Senior Courtney Knippen rounded out the Wapak scoring with two and pulled down five boards.

The Redskins finished the season at 11-11.