Dealing with a senior-laden group in Genoa who refused to quit, Wauseon turned to two of their seniors in the fourth quarter, Noah Tester and Sean Brock, who combined to score 13 in the period to lift the Indians to a 56-45 win at home in boys basketball Saturday night.
In fact, the duo scored 13 of the 15 Indians’ points in the stanza.
The response came after Zach Szepiela scored inside for Genoa and Allen Laytart added a triple, pulling the Comets within 41-39 at the 6:29 mark of the fourth.
Jonas Tester started the Wauseon run with a layup, then Brock hit a three-pointer and Noah Tester two free throws. Laytart trimmed the margin to 48-41 with 2:09 to go, but Noah Tester answered at the other end with a basket down low.
“I thought they made some critical plays for us down the stretch,” said Wauseon coach Chad Burt, referring to Brock and Noah Tester. “They are guys that have been there done that. And we’re gonna rely upon them, as we’ve relied upon them so far this year. They responded. Again, made winning plays down the stretch.”
Andrew St. Claire and Mike Rightnowar each added hoops in the final minute for Genoa; however, Wauseon countered with four points from Brock and two from the line from Noah Tester.
The Indians could never quite pull away from the Comets in the first half – or throughout the game’s entirety for that matter.
They went on a mini run at the end of the first quarter and start of the second. Connar Penrod scored off an assist from Brock and Jonas Tester turned a Wauseon steal into two points at the end of the first, then Jonas tacked on a triple 26 seconds into the second for a 17-9 Indian lead.
In turn, Rightnowar buried a three for the Comets, Brock laid one in for the Indians, but a Rylen Stoner putback of his own miss and St. Claire’s layup trimmed the lead to 21-18 with 4:54 left in the half.
“They are very athletic. They’re tough kids. And that’s how they play. They challenged us and I thought our kids responded well. They are definitely gonna win some games,” said Burt of Genoa’s refusal to give in.
Rightnowar later got Genoa within two, 25-23, on his third three of the first half. But the halftime margin would be four when Wauseon’s Isaac Wilson answered with a hoop that was assisted by Noah Tester.
A big key to Wauseon getting the win was limiting Rightnowar in the second half. He scored 11 in the first 16 minutes but was limited to one basket after halftime.
“I thought, specifically, Noah Tester did a really good job on him (Rightnowar). Limiting his good looks (at the basket),” said Burt. “I thought we let him get free a few times in the first half and he’s gonna make shots. He’s a very good basketball player. So I thought we did a better job of focusing some attention to him. Credit to them, they had some other guys step up and make some shots. But second half I thought our defensive effort was better.”
Wauseon led by as many as 10 in the third quarter, settling on a 41-34 lead after Szepiela’s third-chance putback with 32 seconds left in the stanza.
Noah Tester had 19 points and Brock chipped in with 18 for the Indians (4-1).
Furthermore, coach Burt is now one win away from 200 for his career. He will look to reach that plateau when his Indians compete in a holiday tournament at Defiance College this Friday and Saturday.
Wauseon opens with a game against Paulding Friday night. Bryan and Tinora are the other two teams competing.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010