By: Nate Calvin
The final score of this game would make you think that this was another comfortable win for the undefeated Wauseon Indians. But that was not the case as the homestanding Blackbirds trimmed a 20-point lead for the Indians down to nine in the fourth quarter before Wauseon regained their footing to leave the Birdcage with a 59-44 win, improving their record to 21-0 on the season.
The Indians were able to get off to a fast start as they hit six of their first eight shots from the field, including two triples by Brooks Gype to take a 16-11 lead after the first quarter. The momentum continued for the Indians as they scored the first six points of the second quarter to build their lead to 22-11 and forcing Pettisville head coach Brian Leppelmeier to call a timeout at the 6:27 mark of the quarter. The Blackbirds were able to mount a small run of their own with the help of three pointers by Detric Yoder and Justin Rupp, outscoring Wauseon 11-8 over the remainder of the quarter to make it a 30-22 lead for the Indians at halftime.
An 8-2 start in the third by Wauseon stretched their lead to 38-24 and also Yoder, who was Pettisville’s leading scorer in the first half with 15 points, picked up his third foul during that span. Graeme Jacoby of Pettisville was called for his fourth foul later in the quarter and Wauseon seemed to be in control as they led 44-26 entering the fourth quarter after outscoring the Blackbirds 14-4 in the third.
Wauseon pushed the lead to twenty early in the fourth before Pettisville began their run. Jacoby was able to establish himself inside despite playing with four fouls and Wauseon went cold shooting the ball as the Blackbirds put together an 8-0 run to close the gap to 48-39 with around three minutes to go. From that point on, the Indians showed why they have won 41 regular season games in a row going on an 11-0 run of their own with the defense of Trent Armstrong being the key as he picked up three steals down the stretch, the last resulting in a three-point play as the Indians built the lead back to twenty points at 59-39 on their way to the win.
For the night despite the rough final quarter, the Indians shot 23-46 from the field for 50% as all five starters reached double figures led by Brooks Gype with 14, Austin Rotroff with 12, Trent Armstrong with 11, Owen Newlove had 10, and Levi Seiler also added 10 points. Detric Yoder led the Pettisville offense with 17 points, with 15 of those coming in the first half, and Graeme Jacoby added 12 with eight of those in the fourth quarter when the Blackbirds made their run.
Wauseon will conclude their regular season this Friday at Patrick Henry as look to wrap up an outright NWOAL title while Pettisville (17-3) finishes the season with two BBC games as they travel Monday to face Hilltop in a makeup game and then Friday they host North Central to end the regular season. (Photo by David Bliss)