Who knew that welcoming in the No. 9 ranked team in the state in Division I would be the proper recipe for success for a team riding a three game losing streak? But that’s just what the doctor ordered for Wauseon, and the highly-motivated Indians used a stingy effort defensively to take down previously unbeaten Perrysburg, 50-39, in non-league boys basketball Tuesday.
“I just thought it was a great test for us mentally and physically,” said Wauseon coach Chad Burt. “We’ve lost a couple tough ones down the stretch. It didn’t get any easier, obviously, with Perrysburg coming in. We had a really good practice yesterday. I like how our guys prepared. And I thought we played with a lot of energy tonight. We played very well on both ends of the floor. It was just a great win for us.”
Wauseon improved to 8-4 on the season with the win. Perrysburg fell to 10-1.
The Indians were on the attack all night from an offensive standpoint, with it finally paying dividends in the second quarter. They trailed 11-10 after the opening period on a Drew Sims free throw.
The two teams traded buckets in the first 1:45 of the second, but Connar Penrod’s three-pointer put Wauseon up 15-13 at the 6:27 mark. They continued to build on that lead as Penrod registered a putback hoop, Noah Tester got to the foul line and converted a pair, and Sean Brock laid one in for an eight-point lead with just under four minutes to go.
Wauseon’s guards often times had to utilize the floater to get it over the Yellow Jackets’ 6-foot-7-inch center, Jackson Sizemore. However, they did not shy away from going to the basket.
“We talked about, we’ve got to be a little more aggressive off the dribble,” stated Burt. “I thought early on we really were aggressive off the dribble. He (Sizemore) is long and active inside. It’s kind of hard to go at him with a normal shot. So yeah, our guys knew that they’d have to go in there and maybe have some creative finishes.
“It was just nip and tuck the whole way, and we were able to make some plays down the stretch.”
Another key was creating second and third opportunities by crashing the offensive boards, something Burt says is a staple of his team.
“I thought we did a good job not only getting them (offensive rebounds) tonight, but I thought we converted very well,” said the coach. “That was a big difference in the game. We had each team for 15 offensive rebounds – which is definitely a few more than we would like to give up. But I thought we did a great job. A lot of that’s just effort, and our guys were very motivated tonight.”
Perrysburg got within three late in the half; however, a cherry pick bucket by Brock made it 25-20 at the half.
Brock’s three with exactly two minutes remaining in the third put his team ahead 32-25. They maintained a seven point edge at 42-35 into the fourth, on the back of two Noah Tester threes.
The Indians then outscored the Jackets 8-4 over the final 3:39 to put a bow on the victory.
Tester led the Indians with 20 points, while Brock tacked on 13.
Wauseon will look to ride this momentum into the weekend when they resume Northwest Ohio Athletic League play at Bryan (10-2) Friday. They also play at Sylvania Northview on Saturday.
“We get to enjoy it for a day, but the reality is we got to come back to practice tomorrow and prepare for a good Bryan team,” said Burt on refocusing after the big win. “Win or lose tonight, we’re on the road at Bryan. It’s gonna be a heck of a tough game. Hopefully our guys are ready to go.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010