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Wapakoneta foils Wauseon's inbounds attempts down stretch

BOWLING GREEN - Some extra studying paid off for Wapakoneta down the stretch yesterday against Wauseon in a Division II boys basketball district championship.

Holding on to a one-point lead with less than 15 seconds remaining, Wapakoneta kept Wauseon from scoring off an inbounds play on three consecutive occasions. The last attempt ended with David Schnell intercepting a pass near the basket that secured a 62-59 victory for the Redskins before a raucous crowd at Anderson Arena.

The Redskins claimed their district title in 60 years.

B.J. Reed paced the Redskins with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Brandon Steinke produced 12 points, Randy Schmerge added 11 and Schnell 10.

"I read that [last play] and chased it, but I didn't know they were going to throw the pass," said Schnell, who stepped in front of the pass intended for Wauseon's Ray Martinez.

Schnell, who said he recognized the play from their preparation for the game, was fouled and sank two free throws to give the Redskins (19-5) a three-point lead with 6.3 seconds to play.

"It's something you always dream about," Schnell said.

Martinez hustled down court and launched a desperation 24-footer that bounced off the rim just before time expired.

"I knew there were only six seconds left so I was trying to get the best shot I could," said Martinez, who finished with nine points.

Scott Minnig, Wapakoneta's first-year coach, watched his team respond well down the stretch in a game that included 13 ties and 12 lead changes. He expected a close contest with the Indians (17-7), a team he thought mirrored his squad.

"It was a game of streaks," Minnig said. "It was a game of runs. We maintained our composure through it all."

Chris Villalovos scored 19 points to lead Wauseon, which led 59-56 after he sank a pair of free throws with 59.9 seconds remaining. Kevin Elson, who made 4 of 5 3-pointers, added 18 points for the Indians, who shot 55 percent (22 for 40) from the field.

However, the Indians were outrebounded by the Redskins 32-21, which included a 16-4 disparity on the offensive glass. Wauseon was also guilty of 16 turnovers compared with just eight for Wapakoneta.

"I thought we executed well, but so did they," Wauseon coach Ken Burgei said. "They just got to the offensive boards. They're very athletic and we missed some check-outs. Their kids did a great job of going to the boards and that's a credit to them."

Wapakoneta came through with the go-ahead basket when Josh Brown took it upon himself to make something happen with time running out and the Redskins trailing by a point. Brown penetrated along the baseline and fed Reed on a bounce pass for a wide-open layup to give the Redskins a 60-59 lead with 18 seconds remaining.

"I just dumped it off to B.J., just like I normally do," Brown said.

That led to three unsuccessful tries by Wauseon at making something happen off an inbounds play. The Indians' first attempt ended with them calling a timeout to avoid a five-second call in front of their own bench. Their second inbounds play ended with the ball getting deflected out of bounds underneath their basket with 10.3 seconds left. The third try led to Schnell's game-saving play.

"We had prepared and our kids did an excellent job at crunch time," Minnig said.

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