Trailing for much of the first half, Wauseon came out firing on all cylinders in the second half led by Landon Hines, holding off the visitors from Sylvania Soutview for a 47-41 victory in non-league boys basketball Tuesday night.
Hines recorded the first eight points of the third quarter for the Indians, then a Tyson Rodriguez three-point play put Wauseon on top 30-26 near the midway point of the period.
The Indians led by as much as eight in the second half, but Southview would not go away.
A 3-pointer by Michael Alexander III, then his basket off a steal pulled the Cougars within a deuce, 36-34, with just north of six minutes left in the game. Jack Leatherman responded with a floater for Wauseon.
Hoping to will his team to victory, Southview’s Micah Bays buried a three, then his step-back triple at the 4:25 mark gave the lead back to his team, 40-38.
Then it was Wauseon’s turn to answer…and they did. The Cougars managed just one point the rest of the way.
“It was a grindout victory,” admitted Wauseon coach Chad Burt. “We knew Bays was gonna get off at some point. He hit those two monster threes — really unguardable shots. He’s so talented. But I thought their effort and their intensity picked up very well kind of towards the end and then to start the fourth. Honestly, we didn’t respond real well initially. But I think a credit to our guys. I think they took that two-point lead and were kind of bouncing around and playing with a lot of fire. But I thought our guys regrouped and, like I said, responded very well down the stretch.”
Rodriguez scored a tough basket inside to knot the score with 4:02 left. Elijah McLeod then went 1 of 2 from the foul line giving the lead back to Wauseon, and later Hines’ bucket in the point made it a 43-40 margin.
The Indians tacked on a hoop from Rodriguez and also 2 of 4 at the line by both him and Leatherman, closing it out.
“It’s a mentality. It’s understanding that, three/four minutes to go in a tight ball game, every single possession matters,” said Burt on his team being able grind out the win late. “You gotta lock in defensively and force tough shots. I thought overall we did that, despite the fact that Bays hit a couple and they had a couple other guys step up and made a couple big shots late. I thought offensively we executed well, we took very good shots all night long for the most part. If you can do that consistently, I think that’s gonna be a good sign for things to come.”
The first half was a back and forth slog that saw Southview take over the lead late in the opening quarter and keep it until halftime.
In response to a three by McLeod, Parker Sears laid one in at the other end followed by 1 of 2 at the line by Bays for a 21-17 Cougar lead with 1:06 remaining in the half. Leatherman answered just 14 seconds later for Wauseon, which was the final basket of the half.
For Wauseon (4-2), Hines and Rodriguez each finished with 14 points. Leatherman tacked on 10.
Bays had 14 and Avery Offenburg 10 for Southview (0-4).
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.