BRYAN – Meeting for the second time this season, the rematch almost mirrored the earlier matchup with Wauseon getting the better of Bryan, 63-46, in Northwest Ohio Athletic League boys basketball Friday in Bryan.
The Indians also defeated the Golden Bears 50-36 in the Grube Family Holiday Classic championship at Defiance College back on Dec. 28.
“The start of the second half was huge for us,” said Wauseon coach Chad Burt on the key to winning Friday’s contest. “I thought that we were very efficent offensively. I thought we played fast offensively. I think we made some shots, which makes everything look better. I was just really happy with the speed at which we played at both ends of the floor. Our guys were ready to go.”
Adding in a 71-62 overtime win at Sylvania Northview on Saturday, Wauseon (10-4) has now won three in a row in response to a three-game losing streak. The Bryan win also got them to 1-1 in league play.
The key to getting things headed in the right direction, especially from an offensive standpoint, better ball movement and letting their playmakers make plays.
“We have very good athletes,” said Burt after the Bryan game. “We’re still searching offensively, obviously, some games. But I think we’re learning to play fast. We’re learning to play together. That’s hopefully something we can continue as the season goes on.”
Two Sean Brock free throws gave Wauseon a 16-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. The margin would only get bigger from there.
Momentum shifted for good after Bryan’s Connor Arthur drilled a three-pointer to pull them within a deuce at the 5:52 mark of quarter number two.
The Indians responded with a 6-0 run.
Connar Penrod had two of the baskets – one on the benefit of a pass from Isaac Wilson – while Wilson scored on a spin move for a 26-18 lead with 3:15 before halftime. The Indians got hoops from Brock and Penrod in the final minute, helping keep an eight point lead at 34-26 at the break.
Wauseon continued to find easy baskets in the third period while Bryan had a tougher time. The Bears finished with just two made shots in the frame, being outscored by the Indians 14-6. This gave the visiting team a 48-32 lead after three quarters.
They would balloon their lead to as much as 23 points in the fourth, allowing them to cruise to victory.
Reese Jackson (15) and Titus Rohrer (14) – the Bears’ twin towers – had 29 of Bryan’s 46 points, but they had trouble finding a third scorer until it was too late.
“I thought Noah Tester did a great job on (Caleb) Zuver for the most part. And then we put Jonas (Tester) on him a little bit. Because that kid, he can knock shots down from anywhere on the floor. And they had a little bit of a mismatch inside against us. So I thought we brought some help to those guys and it was very effective. Again, it was just a great effort on both ends of the floor for us,” said Burt.
Noah Tester led the way for Wauseon with 19 points. Penrod chipped in 16 and Jonas Tester 10.
Wauseon next hosts Liberty Center (8-5, 1-1 NWOAL) this Friday, before taking on Rossford at Owens Community College on Saturday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010