DEFIANCE – Tinora’s pace of play had something to do with it, but Wauseon’s defense was suffocating in a scoreless period for the Rams as the Indians took the championship game of the Vision Chrysler Holiday Classic over Tinora 40-19 Thursday night at Defiance College.
“Coming into the game, we knew it was going to be a possession game,” Wauseon coach Chad Burt said of the game. “Every possession matters and they are very well coached. It’s a bear to score on any team coached by Paul Wayne.”
Wauseon’s 15-11 lead at the half quickly grew into the double digit range in the third period. Owen Newlove opened the half with a spin in the paint, Brooks Gype hit Trent Armstrong on a skip pass along the baseline for a triple and Newlove scored again in the paint on the first three possessions for the Tribe in the third period to make the score 22-11, and at that point Tinora asked for a timeout.
“I think we forced a few turnovers,” the Wauseon coach said on a difference in the third period. “Trent Armstong hit a couple big shots for us in the third quarter. It kind of relaxed us.
It didn’t get much better for the Rams. Armstong added his second triple of the frame, this time on a feed from Austin Rotroff before Tinora missed a couple of free throws.
“Fortunately in the second half they missed a few shots and we made a few shots,” added Burt. “They had some decent looks, they just missed shots.”
Armstong also had the final two buckets of the period when he came up with a steal and score with 1:45 left and hit a floater from the free throw line at the horn to end the period with the Indians ahead 29-11. He led the Indians with 12 points in the contest.
“Our guys are very, very unselfish,” mentioned Burt. “They don’t care who scores and that showed tonight. Trent stepped up and hit some really big shots for us.”
The Rams went 0 of 8 shooting in the period and it didn’t get better in the opening minutes of the final frame. Gype drained a triple, Rotroff had two baskets and Noah Tester sank a free throw in the first three minutes for a 37-11 lead.
To go along with the tough shooting, Wauseon forced Tinora into four turnovers in the period.
Tinora missed 10 shots in a row, then finally broke through when Ryan Mohr, Landon Rinkel and Brayden Flory all scored in succession. It cut the lead to 37-17, but Wauseon closed the door when Tester hit a three-point play inside the final minute.
A back-and-forth opening frame ended with a swipe and score by Gype to put Wauseon ahead 8-4. It stayed close, with Rotroff canning a pair of free throws, after Wauseon missed six in a row at the line, with under a second left in the half for a 15-11 halftime score.
Rotroff had eight points, blocked a shot and passed the ball well to be named tournament MVP.
“It’s an honor,” the 6-9 senior said on winning the award. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. They do a great job of working the offense and getting me the ball.”
Gype was named to the all-tournament team and Newlove was named Mr. Hustle.
Both teams pulled down 19 rebounds. Tinora committed 16 turnovers to seven for Wauseon. The Indians were also 16 of 34 shooting the basketball while the Rams hit 8 of 23 shots.
Wauseon (9-0) plays Jan. 6 at Southview.
Reach Randy Roberts at email@example.com