The Wapakoneta girls basketball team was overpowered by the visiting Liberty Benton Eagles, as they fell, 54-36.
Liberty Benton’s Katie Simon had 28 points on the night, dominating the paint. Simon’s play was not limited to the paint, as she was able to step back and hit a couple 3-pointers.
Wapakoneta varsity coach Rusty Allen said Simon’s play was the focus of their pregame preparation.
“That was a concern of ours coming in tonight, their bigs, not really all of them, but Simon in particular. We knew she was going to be a tough matchup because she can play inside and outside,” Allen said.
Allen said he tasked Karli Schneider with guarding Simon, because of her inside and outside presence.
“Guarding Simon is just not a job for one person. Our help side was late rotating around, and I think that kind of hurt us at times, and I think Simon ended up shooting something like 57 percent,” Allen said. “She was feeling it obviously tonight.”
Liberty Benton varsity coach Nate Irwin said his team is young, and they knew Wapakoneta was going to be better than their 5-6 record.
“We started to play better, we’ve got a young team and we’re coming around,” Irwin said. “Wapak’s record is deceiving, they play some tough teams, this is not your typical 5-6 team. They are much better than their record shows, and they are challenging themselves with their schedule.”
Irwin also recognized the size mismatch pregame, and said that was the plan going in.
“Katie’s a tough matchup. She is 6-foot tall, capable of playing inside and stepping out and hitting the jump shot,” Irwin said. “Tonight is one of the first night’s where she did both together.”
In the first quarter, Liberty Benton came out on fire, and the Redskins came out flat. At the end of the first quarter Liberty Benton led, 10-4.
“We won the first quarter and kind of went from there,” Irwin said. “We had a size advantage.”
Allen said the Redskins struggled to get things going offensively, particularly on the perimeter.
“They did an excellent job on us, overall. They kept us from getting the open look on the outside,” Allen said. “Our post players are young, so they’re still learning.”
Allen said when the outside shot is taken away by solid guard play, they look to their young bigs to grow up quickly.
“Teams know they can key on us at a perimeter, that can sometimes put us at a disadvantage,” Allen said. “Our bigs are young. We’re going to be patient with them.”
Allen said overall they were out matched, and undersized.
“When you’ve got a player like (Simon) in the zone, it’s tough to stop,” Allen said.
Leading in scoring for the Redskins was Sara Warner with 13 points. Schneider added eight to the Redskin total.
Simon finished with a game-high 28. Rachel Myers added 14 points with a strong second half presence.
The Redskins were only 3-of-5 from the free-throw line, while the Eagles were 8-of-15.
The Redskins play next at Celina Thursday night. The Eagles next travel to Leipsic Thursday evening.
The Redskins JV team won, 40-24.
Faith Hensley led the way for the Redskins with seven points.