Other than the early moments of the game, the closest the Wapakoneta Redskins could have gotten to the Bath Wildcats was trailing by six points at half-time.
With Bath leading 23-15, senior guard Alex Greve drained a shot from the foul line as the buzzer sounded but the referee waved off the shot and the gap remained at eight.
Bath took control in the third period outscoring the Redskins 23-7, with all but one scoring opportunity a simple basket as they outdistanced Wapak, 66-32. The loss drops the Redskins to 5-5 on the season and 0-2 in the Western Buckeye League, while the Wildcats improve to 8-2 and 2-0.
“First of all, Bath is really good and credit them with being ready to play tonight (Friday) and we were not,” Redskin varsity coach Matt Bradley said after the game. “All week we stressed, ‘You gotta handle pressure, you gotta handle pressure, you gotta handle pressure’ and it seemed as soon the lights came it was like everything we worked on all week just left.”
From the onset of the game, Bath varsity coach Doug Davis had the Wildcats on the prowl with a full-court press which frustrated the Redskins and their attempt to run their half-court offense. Davis continued the trapping in half-court, pushing the Wapak guards further away from the basket forcing them into either long-range shots and disrupting their passing lanes.
Bradley praised Bath’s quickness, length and effort in besting his squad.
Bradley also felt fortunate his team was still in the game at half. Wapak shot 5-of-14 from the field, or 35.7 percent, and 2-of-6, or 33.3 percent, from beyond the arc. While Bath got off more shots, they struggled hitting only 9-of-27 from the field, or 33.3 percent, and 3-of-15 from 3-point range, or 20 percent.
“I thought we rebounded pretty well in the first half, I thought we got out on the shooters pretty good in the first half, but when we can’t run any offense because we can’t get the ball past half court we are not going to stay close because they have so many weapons,” Bradley said. “If we could beat the pressure, we could get the ball inside and that is what we told them all week.”
The third period doomed the Redskins. Bath hit 7-of-11 from the floor, or 63.6 percent, while the Redskins put up only five shots. Bath hit 4-of-7 from the field and two of the three field goals came with a foul shot which was made.
“Our defense got us the lead in the first half and our offense picked up,” Davis said. “In the third period, I think our traps really started to bother them and (Alex) Greve’s foul trouble — he is definitely their best ball handler — and when he played with four fouls he had to play a little cautious and played careful. I thought it was our traps and the rotation of the other players when we trapped caused them trouble.”
Bath limited the Redskins to nine shots in the fourth period when they called off the full-court pressure. They shot only eight times, but made six including two from 3-point territory.
Logan Rockhold led the way for the Wildcats with 18 points, scoring nine in the first period. Taren Sullivan scored 11 points in the game, with eight in the first half, while Cole Chambers scored all nine of his points in the second half.
Wapak senior post Jake Buzzard led the Redskins with 13 points, most coming from the block. He also had 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Greve contributed with his 5 points and three players scored three in the game including sophomore guard Kodi Morgan and junior posts Kaleb Miller and Alec Temple. Temple also grabbed six rebounds, four on the defensive end.
“The thing about Temple that I really appreciate is he wants to be good, and he will take the things we coach him up in practice and try to put that into play,” Bradley said. “I thought defensively in the second half he did a good job of holding his ground and getting the rebound and not just flinging the outlet pass, but being strong with it. He is working hard to get posted up on the offense.
“I think the more minutes he can play regardless of the situation are good for him,” the coach said. “It will pay off in the end.”
Others to score for the Redskins were senior guard Travis Bertram with a bucket and junior guard Brandon Erb with a basket in the third period and junior Jake Bruns with a free throw in the fourth period.
Next week the Redskins host the Celina Bulldogs, who lost 63-40 to the Defiance Bulldogs.