Wauseon was able to pull away for the 65-50 victory over Archbold at home in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League girls basketball opener Friday, but it came with a cost. Junior center Hayley Meyer, who scored nine points in the contest, went out in the early second quarter with an apparent knee injury and later came out of the locker room with crutches.
However, the team banded together to earn the much-desired win over their rival. The key to the game was outscoring the Blue Streaks 20-8 in the second quarter.
“She’s so tough. Once they seen her go out crying, I think they all just kind of realized they had to step up and make things happen. And they did,” said Wauseon Coach Dan Seiler of the Meyer injury and his team’s response. “We had great bench play tonight; we got really good minutes out of the bench. I definitely couldn’t be happier for that.”
In the first quarter, Archbold grabbed an 11-6 advantage at the 3:13 mark following consecutive 3-pointers for Harley Phillips. Meyer then pulled Wauseon within a deuce with a three-point play, Archbold’s Addison Moyer countered with a layup, but a putback by Meyer and Marisa Seiler’s basket tied it at 13-13 with 1:04 to go in the period.
The Streaks reclaimed the lead in the final minute by way of Moyer’s drive to the bucket plus Norah Ruffer’s hoop. But, they led by just one (17-16) after the first when Kadence Carroll was able to sink a triple in the closing seconds.
Coach Seiler was pretty pleased with the Indians’ offensive execution in the game.
“Even in the beginning I thought we were getting good shots, they just weren’t going. But them were definitely the shots that we wanted. And then once they started falling, I think everything just kind of fell into place and we just started playing really well,” he said.
Meyer was fouled and hit a pair at the foul line 36 seconds into the second stanza. Then Carroll was able to hit two more from long range around one from Phillips, giving Wauseon a 24-20 edge at the 5:16 mark.
The Indians pushed it to 29-20 as Autumn Pelok swished a jumper and also hit two free throws around 1 of 2 at the line by Seiler.
With Meyer not available, Wauseon had to rely more on the play of its bench. One of those players was freshman Mackenzie Stasa, who scored with 33 seconds to go in the half, thus making it a 36-25 difference at the break.
Others who saw important minutes off the bench were sophomore Kaylin Ehrsam and freshman Johanna Tester.
“They stepped up and they played really well — and they’re capable of doing it,” noted Coach Seiler of the bench play. “It’s just we got to get them more confident. And they’re young. But I think we’ve got a group of seniors that, our leaders are just second to none in this area. Their leadership, their court awareness, everything they do is just first class. I can’t be prouder of that group of seniors, and that younger group that come in and played as hard as they did today.”
Wauseon scored five straight to begin the third — Pelok notching a triple and Seiler a putback hoop to extend their lead at 41-25. They kept the pedal down from there.
Leading the effort after half was Seiler with 19 of her game-high 29 points. Pelok chipped in with 13 and Carroll 10.
For Archbold (4-5, 0-1 NWOAL), Leah McQuade, Addi Ziegler and Phillips each finished with 11 points.
Wauseon improved to 6-0 on the season and 1-0 in the league. They will visit Tinora Tuesday night while the Streaks welcome Kalida on Thursday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.