Redskins' D' Spoils Riders' Home Finale

St. Marys’ Austin Wilker (3) drives to the basket for a layup in the third quarter of a Western Buckeye League boys basketball game against Wapakoneta on Friday at Memorial High School.
Sports Editor

For most of the season, the St. Marys Roughriders have been able to rely on their much-improved defense, but Wapakoneta’s defensive effort overshadowed the home team by stopping the Riders’ most athletic player and limiting all but one scorer to single digits in a 52-46 Redskins’ victory in Friday’s regular season finale at Memorial High School.

The Redskins limited the Roughriders to five points in the first 7:11 of the fourth quarter while Wapakoneta’s offense jumped out to a 48-39 lead on an 15-5 advantage.

As has been the story all season for the Roughriders, St. Marys was outscored 19-12 in the fourth quarter, adding to its season-long deficit of 347-298 in the final stanza of games this year. But Friday, the Roughriders began to slip earlier, beginning in the opening seconds of the season half.

The Roughriders led 24-17 at the half after shooting 55 percent from the floor in the second quarter, but the Redskins opened the first six possessions of the third quarter by scoring seven of the game’s next 10 points to close the deficit to 27-24 with 5:38 remaining.

The Roughriders, however, were able to hold off the Redskins as Austin Wilker scored eight of the Riders’ 10 third-quarter points.

But the Redskins took the lead for the first time since the opening minutes of Friday’s contest with a drive-in bucket from Jace Copeland, followed by a bucket from Gege Schenk to push the lead to 38-34 with 6:13 left in regulation.

Wapakoneta scored seven of the game’s next eight points on a free throw from Schenk and six points from Adam Scott for a 45-36 lead with 2:56 remaining.

St. Marys pulled the game to within four, down 50-46 on a trey from Colin Clements, four points from Wilker and a bucket from Drew Jacobs, but the Roughriders missed their final two shots to end the game.

St. Marys jumped out to a 12-6 lead after the first quarter, outscoring the Redskins 7-1 after initially opening the game down just 5-4 as St. Marys’ Braeden Dunlap accounted for all of the Roughriders’ early points.

The junior, however, was shut out the rest of the night, finishing with one of his lowest point totals of the season.

The Roughriders pushed their lead — their biggest of the night — to 22-11 on a 3-pointer from Ethan Mielke, but Wapakoneta ended the first half with momentum by scoring six points in its final three possessions to close within five, 22-17 before Mielke’s putback at the buzzer to make it 24-17 at the half.

For the full story, see Saturday's print edition of The Evening Leader.