TOLEDO 3/5/2014—The Wauseon Indians are riding a tournament hot streak that started against Napoleon, continued against Bryan, and rolled on through against the Scott Bulldogs, as the Tribe took down the Bulldogs 57-55, advancing to the district finals.
Wauseon controlled the tip off, but the night started off shaky for the Tribe as Scott’s Chris Darrington stole a pass away, and took the ball the length of the court, throwing down a slam dunk, and giving Scott an early 2-0 lead. This started a 7-2 Bulldog run, and the Tribe was down five after three minutes of play. Wauseon Head Coach Chad Burt called a timeout, attempting to regroup his team, and it worked. The Indian’s first field goal of the contest came at the the 4:54 mark of the opening quarter of action, as junior Zac Robinson drained a three pointer, drawing the Indians within two, 7-5. Kris Boysel followed with a pair of free throws, two of the six free throws he would make in the quarter, tying the contest up at seven a piece with 3:47 remaining in the period. Scott’s offense picked the pace back up in the final three minutes of the opening quarter, pushing their lead to 18-13. That was until Robinson lined up and nailed his second three pointer of the night right before the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter, brining Wauseon within two. As the first quarter drew to a close, Scott held an 18-16 lead over Wauseon.
Boysel opened the second quarter with a strong drive to the basket, tying the game for Wauseon, and sparking some major momentum for the Indians. “Kris’ performance was huge. He has improved individually as much as any player I have coached, from the beginning of the season to the end of the season” Indian Coach Chad Burt said “I think it’s a confidence thing. His rebounding has been the unsung key for him”. The Tribe and the Bulldogs traded buckets, with Wauseon tying the contest several times, but being unable to take a lead until the 5:10 mark of the second quarter, when junior Jacob Newlove attacked the basket, putting Wauseon up 24-22. With Noah Castle picking up his second foul, Zach Johnson stepped up huge for the Tribe off the bench, scoring four points on consecutive possessions. Johnson’s buckets gave Wauseon a 32-28 with two minutes remaining in the first half. At the 1:30 mark, Scott’s Trey Brown was able to convert an old fashion three point play, making it a one point contest, 32-31. Neither team would be able to find the bucket for the remainder of the half, and it was the Tribe who held a 32-31 lead at the end of the first half of action.
Defense, as it has been much of the season, was the key for Wauseon in the third quarter. “We’ve hung our hat our the defensive end all year. Our goal was to turn them in to a jump shooting team, and I think overall we did that” Coach Burt said. This was never more evident than in the third quarter, as Wauseon held Scott to only five points. Castle’s defense was a key aspect of the Indian’s game plan in the quarter as he was able to battle with Scott big man Percy Bogan, forcing Bogan to pick up four fouls midway through the quarter, and having to sit out of the contest to avoid getting his fifth. The Tribe was able to capitalize on the offensive end, going on a 10-0 run in the final five minutes of the third quarter, capped off by a thunderous dunk by Boysel, igniting the Wauseon bench and Indian faithful in the stands. At the end of three quarters of play, Wauseon had jumped out to a 43-36 lead, and were eight minutes away from a trip to the district championship game.
The Bulldogs were not going to go out easy though, and would make sure the Tribe would have to earn the victory. Darrington looked to get his team back in the contest, scoring six points four minutes in to the contest, and narrowing the Indian lead to only three, 48-45 with 4:30 left in the contest. Wauseon’s offense again found their groove after a slow start to the quarter, scoring seven straight points, book ended by another three point shot by Robinson, giving the Tribe their biggest lead of the night at ten. Scott’s Bogan also picked up his fifth foul and was forced to sit for the remained of the game. With 1:50 seconds left, Wauseon held a 55-45 lead, and it seemed as if the Indian’s were poised to simply cruise to a victory, but the Bulldogs had other plans. Scott forced the Wauseon to commit a couple of turnovers, and after holding a ten point lead, suddenly with a minute left, it was a four point contest 57-53. Scott set up their offense, but the Indian defense made it difficult to get a good look at the basket. “One of the big possessions for us was when we were up four and they had the ball with about 40 seconds left” said Coach Burt “They couldn’t get a shot off. Finally at about 20 seconds they got a shot off, and we were able to get a defensive rebound. If they get a score in that situation, and they are down two with 30 seconds left, it would have put us on our heels even more. Our guys did a great job recognizing that was a huge defensive possession for us”. The Indian’s were able to weather the Bulldog storm. Scott was still down four with twelve seconds left. The Bulldogs hit a shot from the post with two seconds left, but it was to no avail, as the Indians held on to claim a 57-55 win.
Castle was proud of the way his team played. “They’re a really good team. We have struggled this year against teams that liked to get up and down the court, but tonight I think we proved to a lot of people, and even to ourselves, that we can hang with some tough teams in a division” said Castle.
Boysel set the pace on the offensive end for the Indians, scoring 16 points. Corry Byers followed with 11, Castle contributed ten, Robinson scored nine, Newlove put up seven, and Johnson rounded out the scoring for the Tribe with four.
SCORING BY QUARTER:
Wauseon: 16, 16, 11, 14 for 57
Scott: 18, 13, 5, 19 for 55.
–Story by Mitchell Peebles
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