NAPOLEON — Wauseon led at halftime by four but went cold in the second half, falling to defending D-II state champion Napoleon 48-33 in the championship of the Northwest Signal Holiday Classic Wednesday night.
The Wildcat defense was able to force the Indians into some second half turnovers, however, that wasn’t necessarily why they lost the game according to Wauseon Coach Dan Seiler.
“We just couldn’t rebound, and we couldn’t get shots to go,” he said. “We had a couple turnovers, but you’re gonna have that. We just couldn’t put the ball in the hoop and couldn’t rebound.”
Wauseon claimed a 10-9 lead at the end of quarter number one following a Marisa Seiler three-point play. She scored 9 of her 10 points before half.
The Indians’ Autumn Pelok started the second quarter with a triple at the 7:42 mark, but Sophie Chipps responded from long range for Napoleon. Two straight Seiler hoops plus another Pelok three bumped the Wauseon lead to 20-12 with 5:13 left in the half.
The Wildcats gained some ground but Pelok went 4-4 from the foul line down the stretch as the Indians maintained a 24-20 lead at halftime.
Wauseon would be limited to just nine second half points.
Napoleon’s Ella Rausch and Kadence Carroll of Wauseon traded baskets to begin the third quarter. Then the Cats went on a 11-0 run.
Emma Pedroza and Makayla Kruse converted buckets, Vivienne Macheck scored on a fast break, Pedroza off a steal, then Chipps’ triple put Napoleon up 33-26 at the 2:35 mark.
Ellie Rodriguez sank a 3-pointer for the Indians and Seiler’s 1 of 2 at the line made it a one possession game. However, a Pedroza triple gave the Cats a 36-30 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
Like how Seiler was a catalyst for Wauseon in the first half, Pedroza gave Napoleon a jolt in the second half. She had 13 of her game-high 19 points after intermission — including six in the fourth where they outscored Wauseon 12-3.
“She did a great job; she’s a great player,” said Coach Seiler of Pedroza. “That’s a great team. Tonight they were better than we were.”
The Indians being down junior center Hayley Meyer, weren’t able to match the depth of the Wildcats. Coach Seiler also referenced having a small roster with 13 girls available in the program.
“We’ve just got too many girls that are injured and it’s tough to battle. But, I’m proud of the girls, they played hard and that’s all we can ask,” Seiler said.
Wauseon drops to 8-1 on the season. They host Defiance Tuesday before a home date with Bryan in NWOAL play on Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.