The Wauseon boys basketball team won their eighth straight game Friday with a 49-30 NWOAL victory over Bryan at home. They then defeated Pettisville 56-34 on Saturday.
It was the Indians’ defense that led the way against Bryan, limiting the Golden Bears to only 12 points in the second half.
“Defensively I thought we played very very well, especially in the second half,” said head coach Chad Burt. “I think Bryan can score the basketball. They’ve got a lot of offensive talent. Fortunately for us I don’t think they shot it as well as they can.
“In the third quarter I think it was, we finally hit a couple perimeter shots and ended up stretching their defense.”
In a game that Wauseon led from wire to wire, Deylen Miley’s putback basket for Bryan reduced the Indians advantage to 8-7 with 4:36 left in the first quarter.
However, Wauseon responded with buckets for Mason Creager and Austin Rotroff, plus one of two free throws for Carter Bzovi around a floater by Bryan’s John Garza. A steal and score by Chase Brock off an errant inbound pass by Bryan, then a pair of free throws for Brock gave the Indians a 17-9 lead after one.
“It was a variety of guys. It wasn’t just one or two guys,” said Burt of his team’s offense on the night. “I thought early on Mason Creager had a couple real strong takes and that’s something he’s gonna have to do for us at times. But Brooks (Gype), and across the board. Chase (Brock) had a couple takes, Will (Dorsey) had a couple takes.”
The Golden Bears scored seven straight to begin the second period, however, baskets by Dorsey, Creager, Bzovi, Brock and two free throws for Gype made the score 27-18 Indians at the half.
Bryan opened the third period with a pair from the foul line by Miley at the 6:29 mark, but the Bears then went scoreless over the next five and a half minutes.
Rotroff started the Wauseon rally with a three-point play, followed by Gype’s jumper which forced a Bryan timeout with the score at 32-20 with 5:26 left.
“I think some of it was our defense, and some of it was just that it was one of those nights for Bryan that they didn’t shoot the ball extremely well,” said Burt on slowing the Bears down. “I thought our length at the rim bothered them a little bit on some shots. That allowed us to stay out on the perimeter a little bit tighter.”
Out of the timeout, Gype knocked down a triple and Luke Rychener scored seven straight for Wauseon to extend their lead to 22 with 2:10 left in the third. Bryan finally got back on the scoreboard as Colt Arthur converted a floater in the lane and Garza one of two free throws to make it 42-23 after three.
Miley’s putback 28 seconds into the fourth cut Wauseon’s lead to 17, but that was as close as the Bears would get the rest of the way.
Burt felt this was a total team win, commending his bench players for their effort.
“Energy,” he said of his team. “Just that comradery that exists, I think makes you play a little bit harder. It brings teams closer together and that’s great to see.”
Wauseon did not have a double-digit scorer, but had five players with at least seven. Leading the charge was Gype and Rotroff who had nine points, while Brock scored eight.
Miley added nine for the Bears.
Bzovi pegged 14 points in the Indians’ win over Pettisville. Gabe Beck had 15 for the Blackbirds.
Wauseon (18-3, 6-1 NWOAL) ends the regular season at Montpelier on Friday.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010