SPENCERVILLE — A good mix of an inside-out game offensively for St. Marys Memorial helped them build a first half lead that was too much for Wauseon to overcome, defeating the Indians 58-43 in a Division II boys basketball district semifinal at Spencerville Wednesday night.
In the first quarter all of Wauseon’s points were scored by either Jonas Tester or Easton Delgado, as Tester had seven in the frame and Delgado three. But, after Jace Turner’s midrange jumper in the final minute, the difference was 14-10 in favor of St. Marys.
The game was essentially won in the second quarter, where the Roughriders held a 17-4 advantage over the Indians.
They used a combination 6’10” sophomore Austin Parks’ skills inside, plus their transition game to find success.
First Jadin Davis put away a bucket following a Roughrider offensive rebound, then Parks slammed one home and Davis’ drive and score increased their lead to 10 not even two minutes in. LeTrey Williams added a bucket off a steal and a Parks basket in the paint put the difference at 24-10 with 4:45 before half, forcing a timeout from Wauseon coach Chad Burt.
This onslaught came with the Indians’ senior big man Isaac Wilson on the bench with two fouls.
“The second quarter was a critical turning point,” Burt said. “I thought they did a good job of attacking us offensively on the interior and were able to make perimeter shots. Not having Isaac on the inside to defend made us more vulnerable, but I think you have to give them a lot of credit for playing well.”
Connar Penrod broke the Wauseon drought with a hoop off an inbound play out of the timeout; however, St. Marys then got a deuce inside from Parks and one from Turner. Tester scored off a pass from Jude Armstrong, but Williams’ swish of a three-point shot with the clock running down gave the Roughriders a 31-14 edge at halftime.
The Indians could not make much headway in the third quarter, but did get within 43-29 after two Tester free throws near the end of the frame.
Then, by employing some pressure defense and more use of a zone when the Roughriders got into the halfcourt, the Indians nearly forged a comeback in the fourth.
They went on a 7-0 run as Penrod hit a midrange jumper and also a 3-pointer, plus Kolton DeGroff’s fastbreak bucket in between reduced the deficit to seven. Turner was left open for a bucket inside on the next Roughrider possession, but Tester answered with a spin to the goal and layup that kept Wauseon within seven, 45-38, with 4:32 remaining.
“I thought we played with much more urgency at both ends of the floor in the second half,” explained Burt. “We knew our backs were against the wall and played more loose. I thought we played a little tight at times in the first half. I was proud of our kids’ effort.”
The backbreaker came when Davis cashed in a three-point play at the other end, once again giving St. Marys a double-digit lead.
Tester paced the Indians with 17 points and Penrod tacked on 15. Davis had 17 for the Roughriders, Williams 15 and Parks 13.
Wauseon closes the 2020-21 campaign at 18-5.
With the loss, Burt and the Indians say goodbye to a strong core of seniors. Tyson Britsch, Delgado, DeGroff, Penrod, Wilson, Jacob Hageman and Noah Sauber are all graduating this spring.
“This was a great group of seven seniors that definitely left an imprint on Wauseon basketball, and I’m proud of the effort that they have put in over the years,” said the veteran Wauseon coach.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.