The Wauseon Indians exploded early, then held off Toledo Woodward for a Division II District title with a 57-45 win at the Stroh Center on the campus of Bowling Green State University.
The Indians (24-1) had not felt the feeling of a district final win since 1994 and Woodward was appearing in their first final since 1972.
With the score tied at 6-6 midway through the first quarter, the Indians went on the assault as they went on a 14-0 run to open a 20-6 lead just seconds into the second quarter. Woodward’s long dry spell ended at the 7:56 mark of the second period with a layup from Demorrous Bankston making the score 22-8. The Indians got buckets from Brooks Gype, Trent Armstrong and Owen Newlove to double Woodward’s output with a 28-14 lead as the second quarter unfolded. Woodward’s Charles Robinson’s dunk ended the first half of play with the Indians holding on to a comfortable 32-19 lead.
Woodward proved to be the attackers in the first minutes of the second half as they fought their way back into the contest. With Wauseon up 36-24, Woodward went on a small 7-0 run closing the gap to 38-31 with a Robinson layup. Gype got a layup for the Indians before Robinson closed the Wauseon lead to 38-33 with :58 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Indians’ Carter Bzovi was good on two free throws to end the quarter’s scoring with Wauseon leading 40-33. “Every game is different,” Wauseon coach Chad Burt said. “They jumped right on us, and we were in a ball game. But that’s OK. This time of the year, it’s a good test for our guys to battle through that.” In the final eight minutes Woodward never got closer than nine point. While Woodward scored five points, the Indians tallied eight for a 48-35 advantage with under five minutes remaining. With the great support of their team, the Wauseon fans began to smell blood erupting into applauses down the stretch. Bzovi, Gype and Rotroff with Newlove and Britsch thrown in for good measure, led Wauseon to the buzzer and a district title. Rotroff led the champs with a double-double as Woodward had no answer for Wauseon’s inside game. The 6-9 junior accumulated 19 points and 10 rebounds. Gype and Bzovi finished in double figures as well with 14 and 10 points respectively.
Bill Bray may be reached at email@example.com