NAPOLEON – Wauseon led for much of the game but the senior-laden Holgate Tigers kept coming back for more, eventually outlasting the Indians 50-48 in overtime of the opener of the Northwest Signal Holiday Classic Wednesday in girls basketball action.
“They are a team that’s used to winning. They’ve got a winning mentality,” said Wauseon coach Dan Seiler of Holgate. “They are a good program. We are not there yet. I think we are gaining, but we’ve got to get the winning mentality. We’ve got to learn how to finish games. And that’s on me.”
Late in the fourth quarter, the Indians took back the lead with Marisa Seiler’s three-pointer and Sydney Zirkle’s hoop on an assist from Sam Aeschliman, giving them a 42-38 edge with only 1:29 to go. But, the Tigers then got a three-point play from Madilyn Hohenberger.
After using up their fouls to give, Holgate forced a Wauseon turnover, allowing them a chance to tie or take the lead. Hohenberger got to the foul line where she split a pair to knot the score at 42, and that’s where it would stay until the end of regulation.
Zirkle hit on 1 of 2 free throws to start the extra session but Hohenberger’s basket inside put Holgate on top, albeit briefly. Alexis Suarez nailed a three for the Indians, then after Bailey Plott split a pair at the line for the Tigers, a Suarez putback made it 48-45 Indians at the 1:31 mark.
However, the Tigers got five straight from Plott to seal the win. She first knocked down a triple, then her two free throws with 33 seconds left brought it to the final score.
“We made a bad decision,” said Seiler on his team fouling Plott as she was bringing the ball upcourt. “We tried to cut the girl off rather than sprinting ahead and getting set up again. But you know, that’s stuff that I’ve got to work on with them and get them to understand.”
The final possession for Wauseon did not lack drama.
Suarez lost the ball out of bounds when she appeared to be fouled with 4 ticks to go, however, the Tigers immediately turned it back over to the Indians on the ensuing inbound pass.
But Wauseon would turn it over again, sealing their fate.
“We took good shots for the most part,” explained coach Seiler. “I think we had too many turnovers that ended up biting us, that were kind of unforced.
“I thought we handled their press very well. And we moved the ball good. We got some good looks. We’ve just got to get better and we’ve got to finish.”
Wauseon’s defense put the clamps down on Holgate in the first half as they led 20-14 at the break.
“I thought we contained everybody really well,” said Seiler. “We had a hand in the shooter’s face. We were helping. We rotated very well out of that 3-2 (defense). To be honest with you that’s the first I’ve ever ran a 3-2 with these girls. We’ve been working at it and working at it. We thought let’s try it and see what we can do.”
The Indians got eight first half points from Aeschliman – including a three at the end of the second quarter – plus six from Marisa Seiler.
Seiler had 22 points total. Hohenberger paced the Tigers with 21.
Wauseon would play another overtime game Thursday versus Patrick Henry in the consolation round. The Indians fell to the Patriots 53-47. They were outscored 12-6 in the extra session.
Wauseon (3-8) begins Northwest Ohio Athletic League play next Friday when they welcome Delta.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010