Wauseon limited Defiance to just one made field goal in the fourth quarter while on their way to a 38-29 win at home in non-league girls basketball Tuesday.
In what many in attendance would describe as a sloppy game, the Indians prevailed behind a 20-7 edge in the fourth quarter.
Wauseon coach Dan Seiler had a hard time putting this win into words.
“That was an ugly game of basketball,” he admitted. “We could have quit, and I thought we did early. Then that second half I thought we played harder. But we still could not get the ball in the hoop. We couldn’t get the loose balls. But, you know we still kept fighting. And I think, ultimately, that was probably what made the biggest dividends towards the end.
“Defiance played hard. Hats off to Defiance and the coaching staff. They battled us every bit of that game. Luckily, we were able to make some plays towards the end that got us a win.”
Wauseon finally gained the upperhand in the final two minutes with baskets on consecutive trips up the floor from Sydney Zirkle and Autumn Pelok. Then, with 1:09 remaining in the game, Marisa Seiler canned a pair of free throws for a 33-27 Indian lead.
Carlee Smiddy got the Bulldogs within four after two free throws of her own, but those would be the final points of the game for Defiance.
The Indians closed the scoring with 1 of 2 from the foul line by Zirkle, a pair from Seiler, plus a Seiler layup with three seconds to go.
Scoring was at a premium pretty much the whole night as both defenses played very physical.
“It almost seemed like it got out of control for a little bit,” said coach Seiler on the physical nature of the game. “I can tell you it was very physical. And it was on both sides. I don’t think it was just one-sided. Both teams played very physical and they battled hard.”
An Autumn Pelok putback hoop pulled the Indians within two, 8-6, at the end of the first quarter.
Defiance’s biggest lead of the night was eight following three straight hoops from Raelle Gonzales in the middle of the second quarter, putting the Dogs up 14-6 at the 3:26 mark.
However, Zirkle quickly answered at the other end, then a Hayley Meyer putback and Sam Aeschliman’s drive and score reduced the margin to two.
The Bulldogs’ Trinity Shirk closed the first half scoring with a triple at the 1:04 mark, pushing her team’s lead to 17-12 at the break.
Defiance matched its biggest lead 2:41 into the third when Tammy Aguilera stuck a three. They would hold the lead until the final two minutes of the game.
Seiler led all scorers with 14 points. Zirkle added eight for the Indians.
For Defiance, Smiddy had 11 points and Gonzales eight.
Wauseon (9-3) stays home to host Archbold on Friday in a Northwest Ohio Athletic League matchup.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010