For the second year in a row, this time in the non-league contest, Wauseon and Delta’s boys basketball game at the Panthers’ home gym was pushed to overtime. And once again the result was the same as the Indians held the Panthers scoreless in the extra session and went on to pick up a 64-57 victory Saturday night.
“It was a very physical game between two quality NWOAL teams,” said Delta interim coach Jeremy Lohman. “In the end, Wauseon just made a few more plays than we did.
“I thought we did a good job on the boards considering Wauseon’s size advantage at almost every position.”
It was Wauseon who was forced to play catch up to start the fourth quarter as Delta’s Noah Parsons hit a jump shot as the buzzer sounded to end the third with the Panthers ahead 46-40.
However, Wauseon got a bucket by Brooks Gype on a fastbreak, then an Indian steal that led to a hoop for Luke Rychener and Carter Bzovi’s steal and score knotted the score with 5:45 remaining in regulation.
Peyton Phillips responded with a putback to once again put the Panthers on top, then Marc Callahan scored inside before Wauseon’s Austin Rotroff got a three point play to make it 50-49 Panthers at the 4:17 mark.
But, the roller coaster continued when the Indians sent Rotroff to the foul line on their next possession and he hit two free throws. Gype scored on an inbound play with 3:16 to go that put them up by three.
Callahan converted a layup 39 seconds later to reduce Wauseon’s lead to one, then Parsons nailed a fall away jumper that once again gave the Panthers the advantage. The Delta defense stopped Wauseon, leading to a triple by Callahan.
However, Rychener answered with a basket for Wauseon, and with the Indians’ pressure defense dialed up, he got a steal and score to knot the score at 57 with 38 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
“I thought in the fourth quarter and overtime we did a better job of exploiting the zone, getting to the rim (and) getting to the foul line,” said Wauseon coach Chad Burt of his team’s offense. “Again, (we) just made some winning plays down the stretch.”
The first points in the extra session did not come until there was 2:28 left when Wauseon’s Chase Brock drew a foul and split a pair of free throws to give his team the lead, 58-57. Then, the next time down Bzovi buried a three to make the advantage four.
Wauseon’s defense again got a stop as Rotroff scored on a pass from Bzovi at the other end, and at the 36 second mark, Bzovi split a pair to equal the final tally of 64-57.
Burt was impressed with his team’s defense down the stretch, especially their 1-3-1 which they used frequently in the closing minutes.
“It was do or die time,” he noted. “We had some seniors on the bench that were pretty vocal. It’s a testament to our guys. I thought our bench was very into it in providing energy both on the floor and off the floor.
“I don’t know that we played the 1-3-1 great, but I did think it made them hesitate a little bit and got them out of their comfort zone.”
Parsons scored five points in the opening quarter for Delta while Vasquez added five, but Gype’s three-point play put the score even at 14 after one.
The duo led the Panthers in scoring as Parsons finished with 16 points and Vasquez had 12.
“We really couldn’t handle either one of them,” noted Burt. “We are going to have to get back to the drawing board (for the league game) and try and figure out what we can do differently.
“The reality is those two kids are seniors. They’ve been doing this for a long time, and they are both great playmakers.”
Despite Wauseon getting their first lead of the game when Will Dorsey split a pair of free throws and Rychener hit a three to open the second quarter, a floater by Parsons and a bucket inside for Phillips kept the score tied at 18 with just under five to go until halftime.
However, the Indians reclaimed the lead on a triple by Brock, while Brock’s putback off a miss on a front-end of a 1-and-1 by Rotroff gave them the lead by five. Delta’s Bowen Green then converted a pair from the charity stripe while Rotroff made one of two as the Wauseon lead was 24-20 at the 1:44 mark.
A score on a cut to the basket by Wauseon’s Austin Bachman in response to a three by Vasquez made it 26-23 at the break.
Momentum shifted back and forth between the two teams in the third until Callahan drilled a triple for Delta to give the Panthers a 39-38 lead with 3:06 to go.
The lone score for Wauseon in the final three minutes was a deuce by Gype. However, two-point buckets by Delta’s Tim Sonick, Green and Parsons made the difference six heading into the final period.
Gype paced the Indians with 21 points, Bzovi added 13 and Rychener 11. Callahan was also in double digits for Delta as he finished with 16.
Wauseon (8-2, 2-0 NWOAL) is back in action next Saturday when they host the defending Division II state champions Defiance. Delta (4-4, 0-1 NWOAL) returns to league play as they are at home against Swanton on Friday.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010