Wapakoneta Redskins junior Megan Watt (25) shoots a 3-pointer Friday in a non-league varsity basketball game against the Bellefontaine Chieftains in the Wapakoneta High School gymnasium. (Staff photo/William Laney)
Sara Warner and the rest of the Wapakoneta Redskins just kept shooting Friday, and those shots just kept going in.
The Redskins used a torrid start in the first period Friday to establish a comfortable lead the rest of the game, as Wapak recorded a 67-40 non-league win over the Bellefontaine Cheiftains in the first regular contest of the varsity girls basketball season for both teams.
Warner, who scored a game-high 28 points, made four of Wapak’s six 3-point field goals in the first period, as the Redskins exploded, grabbing a 25-10 lead. Megan Watt and Megan Fisher each added one 3-pointer in the opening period.
Wapak varsity coach Rusty Allen said the key to getting so many open looks was point guard Maddi Stiles finding shooters in transition.
“Maddi was doing a good job getting the ball up the floor and finding the girls on the wing,” Allen said. “And they were doing a good job of getting themselves set to take that shot, and, obviously, Sara got in that groove.
“The rim probably looked twice as big when she was throwing the ball at it,” he said.
The Redskins extended their lead to 19 before Bellefontaine slightly trimmed the lead to 12 points twice in the second period.
Wapak eventually forced 10 turnovers in the first half.
Allen described how his defense approached Friday’s game.
“We wanted to get a lot of shots up, and, in order to get a lot of shots up, we’ve got to create some turnovers,” Allen said. “To do that, we have to pressure the ball and get ourselves in passing lanes and really force the tempo.
“The girls did a nice job of doing that,” he said. “It wasn’t just one girl pressuring the ball, we had to have the other girls in position to get those deflections and tips so that we could go the other way.”
With three buckets and a free throw in the second period, Warner had 19 points entering halftime.
The Redskins increased their lead by two points to 21 after the third period and by another two points in the fourth for a final of 67-40.
Warner hit her fifth 3-pointer of the game midway through the final period before being taken out with 28 points at exactly 4:00 minutes left in the contest.
“Sara had a great game, but it wasn’t just Sara Warner who won us the game,” Allen said. “It was the other four girls on the floor doing the little things.”
Watt added her three 3-pointer in the fourth to give Wapak 10 of them of the game.
With 11 points, Watt was second to Warner in scoring for Wapak.
Carly Buzzard notched 10 points and seven rebounds for the Redskins.
Fisher, in her varsity debut, scored nine points off of the bench.
“Megan Fisher did not play like a freshman,” Allen said. “That’s one of the reasons she’s up here playing with us. She understands the game, but we understand she’s going to have her growing pains.
“It’s a long season,” he said. “There’ll be ups and downs.”
Although the win was an up for the Redskins in their season opener, one down was the fact that they will be playing without two regulars for a little while.
Sophomore post Riley Culver will be sitting a few games with a leg injury, while senior guard Karli Schneider is out for a handful of games with a concussion.
Allen evaluated his team’s performance Friday as a whole, rating it based on it being the first game of the season.
“I was pleasantly surprised and pleased,” the coach said Friday. “To have some of younger girls step up and contribute the way they did, that was nice,” he said.
Wapakoneta will take its 1-0 overall record into a long break.
After having its game Tuesday against St. Henry postponed until Dec. 23, the team will resume its schedule next Saturday in a non-league contest against Fort Loramie.
Bellefontaine dropped to 0-1 overall with Friday’s loss.
Jazmyn Haley led the Chieftains in scoring, accounting for 22 of their 40 points.
The junior varsity Redskins opened their season with a 43-17 win.
Blasia Moyler led Wapak with 10 points, while Emily Klopfenstein added nine.
Kenzie Brunswick 2-1-6, Kameron Haley 4-0-8, Megan Lonsway 0-1-1, Brenda Johnson 1-0-3, Jazmyn Haley 10-2-22. Totals 17-4-40.
Maddie Stiles 1-0-3, Erin Schnell 1-1-3, Megan Fisher 4-0-9, Sara Warner 10-3-28, Carly Buzzard 5-0-10, Megan Watt 4-0-11, Morgan Miller 1-0-2, Hilary Bourne 0-1-1. Totals 26-5-67.
B 10 12 9 9 40
W 25 16 11 15 67
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Amani Vicker 1-0-2, Deja Peterson 1-1-3, Georgia Cooper 2-0-4, Jaelynn Roberts 3-0-6, Maddie Mitchell 1-0-2. Totals 8-1-17.
Allie Zofkie 2-0-4, Kasey Helmstetter 1-0-3, Taylor Goulet 1-0-2, Cori Hager 3-0-6, Blasia Moyler 5-0-10, Brooke Schlenker 3-0-6, Emily Klopfenstein 3-3-9, Maddison Watt 1-0-2, Becca Young 0-1-1. Totals 19-4-43.
B 6 3 2 6 17
W 10 11 12 10 43