The game plan was very simple for Ashley Oyer’s Wauseon Indians to defeat the Evergreen Vikings Thursday at Wauseon.
Hold the amount of mistakes to less than 20 and shoot a high percentage with the opportunities you have.
The Indians did just that, only committing 18 turnovers against a team that forces 25 a game, and shot 52 percent from the floor to take home a 57-52 win to finish the regular season at 3-19.
“We play a super tough schedule,” Oyer said after. “We’ve struggled at times but I was very proud of my kids and how they handled it. Tonight we got off to a good start and they battled back and we (battled) back and forth the whole game. We didn’t shoot great from the free throw line down the stretch but we shot good enough.”
Rylee Campbell’s triple, a basket from Brianna Castellano and another three-ball from Alexis Suarez jumped the Indians to a quick 8-0 lead.
Evergreen responded with a 6-0 run capped by Abi Borojevich’ wing jumper to chop the Tribe lead to 8-6 before Suarez nailed another triple and went right to left across the key for two more, giving the Indians a 14-6 advantage.
Hannah Herr’s three-point play and Borojevich’ triple with 55 seconds left in the quarter sliced the lead to 14-12 at the quarter break.
Evergreen came back to tie twice before taking a 23-20 lead on Herr’s three pointer with 3:39 left in the half.
That lead was short lived as Castellano drilled home a three-ball from the corner 32 seconds later and Suarez put the Indians back on top with 1:08 to go before Borojevich and Kelsie Komisarek executed a pick-and-roll for a score, cutting the Wauseon lead to 26-25 at the half.
While Evergreen was shooting just 11 for 30, Wauseon was 10 for 21 with just nine turnovers.
“I knew coming in they were going to pressure us,” said Oyer. “I told the kids it was going to be an up-and-down game. I thought Bri hit some huge shots. Alexa Suarez hit some huge shots.
“Bri hit some huge threes. We talked about ‘get yourself going from the beginning early on by attacking the basket’ and she got herself going and got some easy buckets and she is always so much more confident when she does that.”
It was Castellano once, twice, then three times around a Lexie Shipman three to extend Wauseon’s lead to 32-28 before a Borojevich to Shipman connection, and two Alyssa Noe free throws tied it again with 4:41 left in the third.
Noe’s drive to the rim put Evergreen ahead one more time at 36-34, but buckets inside by Karli Penrod and Aliza Dauterman tied it back up at 38 going into the fourth.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Suarez and Castellano boosted the Indians up 44-38.
Shipman’s triple with 2:10 left got Evergreen within 51-50.
However, the Tribe began a parade to the foul line and hit 6 for 10 going down the last two minutes compared to the Vikings 2 for 6 from the line without a field goal to ease back out to a final five point margin.
For the game, Wauseon was 20 for 39 from the floor and the Vikings were 18 for 49.
Castellano led all scorers with 22 points. Suarez added 14 and Campbell 12.
Herr had 12 and Noe 11 for Evergreen who finished the regular season at 11-11.
Wauseon opens tournament play in the Division II sectional final at Bowsher Saturday where they will face second seeded Oak Harbor. Tip-off is set for approximately 8 p.m.
Evergreen takes on Liberty Center in a Division III sectional semifinal tonight at Springfield beginning at 7 p.m.
Reach Joe Blystone at [email protected]