Wauseon boys basketball ended one of their most successful seasons in the program’s history with a 60-39 victory at home over Patrick Henry Friday night.
The win made them 21-1 on the season and gave them the NWOAL title outright, their first outright league title since 2000.
“It is atop of the goal sheet every year,” said head coach Chad Burt on winning the league. “We’ve shared three of the last four (titles). With (winning) back-to-back two in a row. But we hadn’t done it outright. So, credit to the kids. This was a great win tonight to cap off that undefeated (league) season.”
The Indians built up a 17-3 lead in the first quarter and never looked back from there.
Carter Bzovi got Wauseon on the board first with a floater, then Austin Rotroff added a three-point play and a putback slam dunk, Bzovi converted a putback and Rotroff hit a pair of free throws to make it 11-0 at the 3:55 mark of the first quarter.
Patrick Henry’s Kaiden McGraw hit a three-pointer to end the Wauseon run, but Bzovi followed with a pair of triples. Alex VanDeBussche scored on a drive to the hoop with 10 seconds left, putting the first quarter score at 17-5.
“We are at home. Obviously teams play a little more confident at home,” said Burt of his team’s fast start. “Our fans have been great this year. We’ve been getting off to very good starts. I think the (fast) start was key in settling us in.”
The Patriots made it a seven point game 1:40 in to the second after two free throws from VanDeBussche and a three by Christian Petersen. However, the Indians responded with an 8-0 run on more contributions from Rotroff and Bzovi.
Levi Seiler’s basket on a pass from Rotroff got it going, then Rotroff hit a pair of shots himself, and Bzovi’s bucket on a drive to the hoop made it 25-10 with 4:20 left in the half.
“Obviously, we had a size advantage,” said Burt. “I think they (Patrick Henry) are playing very hard, playing very physical, but the reality is they are giving up some size inside. And I thought we did a nice job exploiting that early.”
Xavier Wensink then hit a pair of free throws for the Patriots while VanDeBussche followed with a triple, however, Wauseon’s Brooks Gype scored inside and Rotroff followed with a deuce to keep the margin at 14 near the end of the half.
The two teams traded deuces for the rest of the half, giving the Indians a 33-19 edge at the break.
In the third quarter Patrick Henry trimmed the Wauseon lead to 37-24 at the 6:30 mark on McGraw’s bucket off a steal, but that was as close as they would get. Rotroff’s bucket inside and Gype’s three-point play quickly bumped their lead back to 18 just over a minute later.
Bzovi paced the Indians with 21 points, Rotroff added 15 and Gype 10. VanDeBussche notched 16 for the Patriots.
Wauseon now begins the Division II sectional tournament at Anthony Wayne this Friday where they will take on the winner of Maumee and Bowling Green at approximately 8 p.m for the sectional title.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010