ST. MARYS — Wapakoneta’s Nicole Brown darted all over the floor, looking for a crevice of space to get off yet another 3-point attempt and break two school records she’s been stalking for a few years now.
Everyone in the gym knew another launch from the 5-foot-6 senior was coming and yet St. Marys couldn’t stop her.
Brown set a new single-game Wapakoneta girls basketball record with seven made 3-pointers. Brown scored 23 points to lead the Redskins to a big second half and a 59-39 win on Thursday night at Memorial High School.
Brown also broke the record for most 3-pointers made in a season. That record was previously held by Erica Drexler, the current 7th grade coach at Wapakoneta. Brown now has 58 3-pointers this season, Drexler's record from 2005-2006 was 51.
Brown hit her seventh trey with a hand in her face on the left wing right in front of the Wapakoneta student section, sending the red-clad into a tizzy.
Brown was 7-for-13 from beyond the arc.
“Tonight was pretty special for her,” Wapakoneta head coach Rusty Allen said. “She’s tied it about four times in her career so far, so it was special for her to finally get this record by herself.”
Wapakoneta knocked down 12 treys in the face of St. Marys’ 2-3 zone defense and pulled away with a big run early in the third quarter.
“We definitely have some weapons on the outside,” Allen said. “We feel like we have four or five girls who can knock that shot down.”
Five days after the Riders’ zone slowed down New Knoxville, Wapak took advantage of it and drained the dozen three’s.
“We have to do what we do best,” St. Marys head coach Kelly Fulmer said. “They came out and hit some shots, even when we had hands in their faces.”
St. Marys made it a game at the half with an 8-3 spurt in the final minutes of the second quarter. When Paige Dicus sank a free throw with 1.4 seconds left, it sent the teams to the locker room with Wapakoneta’s once 10-point lead down to five points.
“I thought we played well offensively in the first half,” Fulmer said. “We were really patient with the basketball and took it up strong and got some early buckets.”
Kelsey Rohrbach led St. Marys with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor. Molly Albert and LeeAnn Bertke each added eight points.
St. Marys tightened the score a little more when Bertke hit an eight-foot runner to start the second half and make it 28-25.
“I was disappointed with our defensive intensity in that first half,” Allen said.
Wapakoneta then turned on the full-court defensive pressure and accelerated away with a 15-1 run that put the Redskins up 45-30.
“We made a few minor adjustments defensively,” Allen said. “It was just turning the pressure up full court instead of letting them dictate what they wanted to do offensively. We went on that little run where we started our full-court pressure, that was the shot in the arm we were looking for. That mini run carried us the rest of the way.”
Wapakoneta outscored St. Marys 31-16 in the second half.
“We were where we wanted to be heading into the second half,” Fulmer said. “We just had to execute like we did in the first half and we just didn’t get it done.”
Wapak shot 7-for-13 from the floor in the fourth quarter.
About the only place the Redskins struggled was at the free throw line, where they went 5-for-14.
Wapakoneta has won the last two encounters and six of the last seven match-ups in the Auglaize County rivalry.
Wapakoneta moves to 5-2 in the Western Buckeye League and 9-9 overall. The Redskins will host Coldwater on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. and then host Van Wert in a WBL game on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.
St. Marys slips to 3-14 on the season and 2-5 in the league. The Roughriders host Greenville for a rare Monday night game that will have a 6 p.m. junior varsity tip-off. The Riders then host Ottawa-Glandorf on Thursday, Feb. 7 in their next-to-last league contest of the season.