Wauseon adjusted its defensive game plan in the second half to turn a tight game into a 44-24 win over Wapakoneta Friday in a Division II boys basketball sectional final in Wauseon.
“We went to a zone — more out of necessity than anything,” said Wauseon coach Chad Burt of his team’s second half adjustments, leading to a 26-10 advantage after the break. “They are very good offensively at what they do in passing and (being) very patient. So I thought our zone bothered them. It gave us a couple transition buckets; a couple steals. I thought that gave us a little more confidence. I thought we finished at the rim pretty well the second half and made some big plays.
Connar Penrod had 10 of his game-high 21 points in the first half for the Indians. His 3-pointer with 2:05 left in the half gave them an 18-14 edge, and that’s where it would stay.
Burt knew his team had to take it up a notch in the second half to come out with the win. They answered his call, and the switch to a 1-3-1 defense certainly helped as well.
“Halftime message was these guys are a good team. They are very physical. We‘ve just got to keep grinding. I thought our guys did a great job of that. It was a really good win against a very solid basketball team. We get to practice tomorrow (Saturday) morning and we get to move on,” said Burt.
Wapakoneta scored first in the second half on Zach Rogers’ backcut, then it was nearly three minutes before another point was scored. Penrod tipped one in followed by a Tyson Britsch spin move for a bucket at the 3:49 mark, bumping the lead to 22-16.
Kaden Siefring got a hoop inside for the Redskins, but Isaac Wilson split from the foul line for Wauseon and also added a bucket in the paint off a Kolton DeGroff pass. The Indians continued to attack as Penrod drew a foul and hit a pair, then got a bucket and-one and a jump shot to push the difference to 32-18 after three quarters.
“Our post scoring was the difference,” Burt said. “I thought we got a couple buckets in the post. I think Connar had a three-point play; Isaac got a couple in the post. But I think again, truly, the difference was, we got a couple run-outs. Got to the foul line, (that) gave us a little more confidence and I thought second half especially we made some big plays.”
The Indians doubled up the Redskins 12-6 in the fourth quarter. They held them to just a single point over the final 4:38.
After Penrod, the Indians’ next highest scorer was Jonas Tester with nine points. Wapakoneta did not have a player score higher than seven.
Wauseon (18-4) moves on to the D-II district at Spencerville where they face No. 3 seed St. Mary’s Memorial on Wednesday in the second semifinal.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.