The Wapakoneta girls basketball team nearly squandered a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter against Ottawa-Glandorf, but was able to hold on for a three-point victory.
By making free throws down the stretch, the Redskins came up with a 59-56 victory over the Titans.
“We didn’t panic, we had some things not go our way, but the girls stayed focus,” said Rusty Allen, Wapakoneta varsity coach. “And hitting our free throws. We knew it was going to come down to free throws. We did some key things down the stretch.”
Wapakoneta held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, but a great run from the Titans, led by Stephanie Hempfling and Kristen Miller, brought the game to within one with 3 seconds to go.
But after a couple made free throws, from Wapakoneta’s Nicole Brown, the only thing left was a half-court desperation attempt that did not fall.
The Redskins got a boost in scoring from a variety of players including a career game for the freshman, Riley Culver.
Culver had 13 points and 11 rebounds in the victory, a boost that Allen said made a difference.
“Huge,” Allen said “I thought that when we got the ball into the post to her she was very aggressive, did some nice things inside for us, offensively and defensively.”
The Redskins, normally a three-point chucking team, found different ways to score Thursday. They drove to the basket off the dribble more and pressured the inside defense of the Titans. And they found success.
“I lot them ‘We’ve got to get to the rim more, and be more effective with our dribbles,’” Allen said. “Annie (Henderson) did a great job of that three times in a row. Great court awareness by her.”
Henderson finished the game with 12 points.
The first half of play was sloppy for both teams, several turnovers a piece and Allen said it might have been due to nerves and the big crowd presence.
“I think both teams did a nice job of just settling into play,” Allen said. “We knew it was going to be a battle. Both teams did a nice job of settling down and running their game plan.”
Ottawa-Glandorf varsity coach Troy Yant said his girls were going to be disappointed after Thursday’s loss.
“They are going to fight hard (in every game) and they are going to be upset,” Yant said. “Obviously things didn’t go our way early.”
Yant said OG played into the hands of the Redskins.
“I thought Wapak did an excellent job of taking us out of our game,” Yant said. “Basically we played their tempo basketball tonight.”
Yant said it was tough to defend Wapakoneta Thursday because they had many scorers step up that normally were not high-scoring players. He pointed out Culver in particular.
“(Culver) had six points early against us, and I guess we weren’t expecting that,” Yant said.
Wapakoneta’s Sara Warner finished the game with 11 points. Nicole Brown had 14 points with four 3-pointers.
Wapakoneta’s record moves to 8-9 and 4-2 in the Western Buckeye league. The Redskins have a week off now before a game against St. Marys on Thursday. Ottawa-Glandorf now falls to 10-6 on the season, 3-3 in the WBL.
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