FINDLAY — Jackson Courter delivered two late free throws and Wapakoneta’s defense came through for a second consecutive game as the Redskins posted a 37-34 nonconference road win at Liberty-Benton on Wednesday.

Wapakoneta, which improved to 5-3 overall, won for the second straight night after applying a solid defense. The Redskins turned back Allen East 43-28 in a nonconference home win Tuesday.

“Those were huge free throws for Jackson, especially after he was a guy who didn’t a lot of minutes in the second half,” Wapakoneta coach Trey Elchert said. “You talk about stepping up when you’re called upon. Those were huge shots to put it away for us.”

Courter went to the free-throw line with a positive attitude

“I got to make these,” Courter said. “The game was so close, and we we’re only up by one (point). I knew if I knocked those shots down, we were probably going to win.”

The Redskins went 7 of 12 at the free-throw line overall, but made each of their last four. Grant Bauer put in two free throws to give Wapakoneta a 33-32 lead with 1:58 remaining. After the Eagles went ahead by one point on a Kameron Garlock basket, a Braeden Goulet field goal handed the Redskins a 35-34 cushion with 1:18 left.

Carson Conaway missed two 3-point attempts as Liberty-Benton tried to regain the lead in the final minute. But Wapakoneta took over after the Eagles tossed the ball out of bounds with 10.6 seconds to play.

Goulet inbounded the ball to Courter, who was immediately fouled. Courter gave the Redskins a critical three-point (37-34) lead.

“If you can get up three (points) in that situation, the worst that can happen is they make a shot that sends the game into overtime,” Elchert said. “A three-point margin compared to a one-point margin in the situation is completely different. If they were down by one, they’re trying to get to the rim, draw contact and get themselves to the line. If you’re up by three, they’re probably going to have to settle for something contested.”

Cason Doolittle’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer fell short as Wapakoneta preserved its victory.

Elchert knows playing defense is essential to his team’s success, but it can be a taxing detail.

“Right now, as it continues to be a little bit of a struggle offensively, we have to battle each and every possession at the defensive end of the floor. Sometimes, that not easy when things are not clicking on offense,” Elchert said. “We kept battling on defense and that kept us in this game long enough, and we received just enough offense to find a way (Wednesday).”

Kaden Siefring led all scorers with 19 points for the Redskins.

After the Eagles took a 7-1 lead after 8 minutes, Siefring began the second quarter with an individual 9-0 run. In the first 3 minutes of the period, he converted a 3-point play and knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to give Wapakoneta a 10-7 lead.

“Kaden is a kid who finds a way who has become a consistent steady scorer for us,” Elchert said. “Give him credit. I joke with Kaden and others because he doesn’t fit the physical mold of what you think of as a scorer. But he finds a way to do a lot of really good things for us.”

The Eagles closed the first half on an 8-0 run — highlighted by Doolittle’s 3-point play and a pair of baskets from Austin Hanni-Wells. Liberty-Benon led 15-10 at halftime.

Although the Eagles grew their lead to seven points in the second half, the Redskins took a 20-17 third-quarter lead on Siefring’s 3-pointer at the 3:11 mark and maintained a 25-23 advantage after 24 minutes.

Liberty-Benton rallied for a 32-29 edge in the fourth quarter as Conaway hit a 3 with 3:39 remaining. Goulet’s driving layup with 3:15 left made it a one-point margin that Wapakoneta went on to overcome.

“Our defense has kept us in every game because we’re keeping teams in the 40s,” Courter said. “The last two games, we’ve held them in the 20s and 30s. It has really helped us win a lot of games.”

Recommended for you